This is what Taco Bell beef would taste like if it was really good!
I have been in search of a really good taco meat creation process for a while now, and it has been somewhat frustrating. As those who know me will attest, I'd rather cook from scratch than use a lot of store bought items, so a packaged mix was out. Most of the recipes I've seen either result in dried out meat, runny meat, or some wacko balance of flavors, so I had to come up with something of my own. At least I know what's in it (and can pronounce all the ingredients!). This is not your standard spice mix, but it adds up to one flavorful and moist change from the standard blah mix. I also like those new store-bought taco shells that are flat on the bottom. Not only will they stand up for filling, you can get more goodies in them! Now go and bite some tacos!
1 lb ground beef - 80/20 or leaner
2 Tablespoon all purpose flour
2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons dried onions
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 t beef bullion powder
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons corn starch
1 dash cayenne – for flavor, not heat (optional)
1/2 cup water
Mix the raw ground beef with all ingredients except water. I have found the easy way to do this is in a quart size plastic zip bag – add the meat and spices, and squish it around until it is uniformly distributed. Keeps the hands clean.
In a skillet over medium to medium-high heat, brown the beef mixture along with 1/4 cup water. The key here is to break up all of the ground beef as it cooks so that there are no chunks. You want it reduced to a fine and even texture. You can see below that there is still some liquid to dispel.
As the mixture cooks, add the remaining water occasionally until all incorporated. Keep stirring and cook the meat until the proper consistency is reached - soft, juicy and velvety. You may have to evaporate some of the water, but don't drain it or you'll lose flavor.
Ideally, the texture should be very moist but not quite like a Sloppy Joe mix. This way it won’t be dry, won’t be over cooked and will stay in your tacos. All you need do is add some lettuce, tomatoes and cheese, and voila - TASTY!