Ground Beef in Mexican Restaurant Foods

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Barbarainnc
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2009/09/23 19:12:38 (permalink)

Ground Beef in Mexican Restaurant Foods

I wonder why it is so mushy. I'm not talking about the shredded meat, but the ground beef. Is it ground too fine? Cooked with water? I think I'll make my own tacos and enchiladas at home.  :) :)
#1

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    1bbqboy
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    Re:Ground Beef in Mexican Restaurant Foods 2009/09/23 19:19:41 (permalink)
    where is Laurinburg?

    #2
    NYPIzzaNut
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    Re:Ground Beef in Mexican Restaurant Foods 2009/09/23 19:22:38 (permalink)
    Are you talking about Taco Bell?
    #3
    Barbarainnc
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    Re:Ground Beef in Mexican Restaurant Foods 2009/09/23 19:31:37 (permalink)
    Laurinburg is 2hrs from Raleigh, 2hrs from Charlotte, 2hours from Wilmington. 2hours from Greensboro.  7miles from the SC border. 
     
    I'm not talking about Taco Bell, other Mexican Restaurants.  I can take TB, but I'd rather make my own.   A restaurant opened last weekend back home. The Big sign outside said "Homemade Tortillas", but they were store bought. I have a tortilla press and can make my own. :) :) :)
    post edited by Barbarainnc - 2009/09/23 19:36:28
    #4
    NYPIzzaNut
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    Re:Ground Beef in Mexican Restaurant Foods 2009/09/23 19:34:22 (permalink)
    I usually like lengua (beef tongue) as my meat of choice at real Mexican restaurants.  I usually save the ground beef for hamburgers and chili.
    #5
    Foodosaurus
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    Re:Ground Beef in Mexican Restaurant Foods 2009/09/23 20:20:37 (permalink)
    NYPIzzaNut

    I usually like lengua (beef tongue) as my meat of choice at real Mexican restaurants.  I usually save the ground beef for hamburgers and chili.


    I agree.   I had never had tongue before trying it at my local taqueria, but now I get it every time.  The only beef option other than that and ground beef is the Carne Asada, and the Lenua is much more tender.
    #6
    Twinwillow
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    Re:Ground Beef in Mexican Restaurant Foods 2009/09/23 20:51:58 (permalink)
    Living in Dallas with it's myriad of authentic Mexico City style taquerias, I get to eat this wonderful food quite often. 
    Most of the tacos served in these taquerias cost anywhere from $1.00 to $1.50 each! All the pork and beef products are cooked in house and, I've never, ever had "ground" beef in any dish.
    Beef "barbacoa", beef "bisteak", pork "al pastor" and "pork carnitas" are usually all chopped (in small chunks) or shredded when ordered.
    #7
    kland01s
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    Re:Ground Beef in Mexican Restaurant Foods 2009/09/24 12:46:46 (permalink)
    I have seen ground beef tacos on a menu listed as taco hamburgesa but this was in a place that also serves dynamite al pastor, lengua, asada, carnitas and chicharon tacos. I think the ground beef option was added for the North American taste because they also serve their tacos Mexican style (cilantro and onion) or American style (cheese and lettuce)
    #8
    WarToad
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    Re:Ground Beef in Mexican Restaurant Foods 2009/09/24 14:08:10 (permalink)
    I don't think I've ever had ground beef in a family run mexican restraunt.  Only the chains.  And in my many ventures to baja, ground beef in restraunt settings must be rare because I haveen't run into it much there either.  Most mexican places run by Mexicans stick to whole cuts/chunks and shred them.
    #9
    dexmat
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    Re:Ground Beef in Mexican Restaurant Foods 2009/09/24 14:09:23 (permalink)
    South of the border ground beef would be known as picadillo; further south you would also encounter the term carne mollido.  Ground beef tacos and enchiladas are more characteristic of Tex-Mex than interior Mexican dishes but as most Tex-Mex dishes developed out of a cuisine shared on both sides of the border you might be more likely to encounter picadillo in Nuevo Leon, etc. than further in the interior, I really don't know. 

    I would think the main reason it's mushy when served sometimes is because of over cooking and different Tex-Mex restaurants would have different standards.  Or maybe some people like it that way.  Some people make chili out of hamburger grind meat and cook it to a mush, some people like chunks, some like coarsely ground meat.

    I like Mexican better than Tex-Mex and you definitely encounter more shredded meat preparations in many well known dishes but chopped or diced is also a common presentation - suadero, al pastor, cesina, lengua, tripas.

    Mexican cooks came up with many very ingenious cooking utensils; maybe they never got around to inventing a grinder until relatively late
    #10
    Niagara
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    Re:Ground Beef in Mexican Restaurant Foods 2009/09/29 16:32:15 (permalink)
    the more ground beef in the food, the more gringo the food.
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    Russ Jackson
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    Re:Ground Beef in Mexican Restaurant Foods 2009/09/29 16:52:43 (permalink)
    If the menu has 50 combination plates run away. If the lunch special is called Speedy Gonzales run away. If the server has 8 plates on 1 arm with a huge glove run away. If the Margarita is as Big as Your Head run away. This is not a Mexican Restaurant it is an American Version that uses reheated frozen ground beef and other crap. The entire method and Restaurant is more like a kit. The staff wont even eat the crap. True Tex-Mex ground beef tacos and burritos are a wonderful thing. I think they steam it hot from a frozen state. Plus it is common for the beef to be cold in the middle. If they serve Menudo on the weekend you are in the right place...Russ
    post edited by Russ Jackson - 2009/09/29 16:54:17
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    DawnT
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    Re:Ground Beef in Mexican Restaurant Foods 2009/09/29 17:16:53 (permalink)
    Look up the word panade or panada in spanish, you'll get your answer about the fine textured ground meat.
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    NYPIzzaNut
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    Re:Ground Beef in Mexican Restaurant Foods 2009/09/29 17:24:14 (permalink)
    Russ Jackson

    If the menu has 50 combination plates run away. If the lunch special is called Speedy Gonzales run away. If the server has 8 plates on 1 arm with a huge glove run away. If the Margarita is as Big as Your Head run away. This is not a Mexican Restaurant it is an American Version that uses reheated frozen ground beef and other crap. The entire method and Restaurant is more like a kit. The staff wont even eat the crap. True Tex-Mex ground beef tacos and burritos are a wonderful thing. I think they steam it hot from a frozen state. Plus it is common for the beef to be cold in the middle. If they serve Menudo on the weekend you are in the right place...Russ


    Like this joint:
    http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/32/363261/restaurant/Cincinnati/Taqueria-Mercado-Fairfield

    #14
    NYPIzzaNut
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    Re:Ground Beef in Mexican Restaurant Foods 2009/09/29 17:25:05 (permalink)
    One of my favorite restaurants in SW Ohio!
    #15
    jeepguy
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    Re:Ground Beef in Mexican Restaurant Foods 2009/09/30 03:04:56 (permalink)
     The place near me adds a little Masa (corn flour) to his ground beef to thicken it. Maybe this is what you mean.
    #16
    Russ Jackson
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    Re:Ground Beef in Mexican Restaurant Foods 2009/09/30 07:01:59 (permalink)
    NYPIzzaNut

    Russ Jackson

    If the menu has 50 combination plates run away. If the lunch special is called Speedy Gonzales run away. If the server has 8 plates on 1 arm with a huge glove run away. If the Margarita is as Big as Your Head run away. This is not a Mexican Restaurant it is an American Version that uses reheated frozen ground beef and other crap. The entire method and Restaurant is more like a kit. The staff wont even eat the crap. True Tex-Mex ground beef tacos and burritos are a wonderful thing. I think they steam it hot from a frozen state. Plus it is common for the beef to be cold in the middle. If they serve Menudo on the weekend you are in the right place...Russ


    Like this joint:
    http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/32/363261/restaurant/Cincinnati/Taqueria-Mercado-Fairfield


    They serve the best Margarita in the city also...Russ
    #17
    Niagara
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    Re:Ground Beef in Mexican Restaurant Foods 2009/09/30 12:59:15 (permalink)
    I saw an ad on TV that Carlos O'Kelly's has a barbacoa special.
    Hmmm.
    I just can't imagine the clientele at Carlos O'Kelly's actually eating barbacoa, so I wonder if :

    1) it's just ground beef and they're calling it barbacoa or

    2) it's barbacoa and the staff yells "Surprise!" and tells them what they just ate when they're done.
    #18
    Twinwillow
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    Re:Ground Beef in Mexican Restaurant Foods 2009/09/30 13:20:09 (permalink)
    Niagara

    the more ground beef in the food, the more gringo the food.
     




    #19
    NYPIzzaNut
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    Re:Ground Beef in Mexican Restaurant Foods 2009/10/06 13:32:59 (permalink)
    Russ Jackson

    NYPIzzaNut

    Russ Jackson

    If the menu has 50 combination plates run away. If the lunch special is called Speedy Gonzales run away. If the server has 8 plates on 1 arm with a huge glove run away. If the Margarita is as Big as Your Head run away. This is not a Mexican Restaurant it is an American Version that uses reheated frozen ground beef and other crap. The entire method and Restaurant is more like a kit. The staff wont even eat the crap. True Tex-Mex ground beef tacos and burritos are a wonderful thing. I think they steam it hot from a frozen state. Plus it is common for the beef to be cold in the middle. If they serve Menudo on the weekend you are in the right place...Russ


    Like this joint:
    http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/32/363261/restaurant/Cincinnati/Taqueria-Mercado-Fairfield


    They serve the best Margarita in the city also...Russ


    Kind of makes me regret having given up hard liquor!
    #20
    Fieldthistle
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    Re:Ground Beef in Mexican Restaurant Foods 2009/10/08 11:39:01 (permalink)
    Hello All,
    The first Mexican or Hispanic ( whatever is correct now)
    food I ate had ground beef.  So that is my joy and choice.
    But lately the place I Love,  El Charro's, uses beef tips.
    I eat burritos and chimiichangas, and prefer ground beef,
    when making it at home, but a professional cook or chef
    will satisfy my appetite regardless of my bias.
    Take Care,
    Fieldthistle

    #21
    beckysuea
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    Re:Ground Beef in Mexican Restaurant Foods 2009/11/09 14:48:44 (permalink)
    I am from CA and I have had shredded beef in my tacos enough to expect it.
     
    I went to Fishers, Indiana which is a suburb of Indianapolis and I don't think they have ever heard of shredded beef tacos.   These are the sit down Mexican restaurants.   My family and I have gone to about four restaurants and all of them had ground beef tacos.
     
    I was surprised as I have not seen any of the independent hamburger places like The Hat where a person can get a good pastrami or beef dip.
    #22
    WarToad
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    Re:Ground Beef in Mexican Restaurant Foods 2009/11/09 21:42:30 (permalink)
    Back from a week in Baja Mexico.  Never saw any ground beef at any taqueria, cantina, or street cart vendor.  Was all whole steak, sliced steak, shredded beef, chopped or minced beef.  I take that back.  There was a couple McDonalds I passed by.  And a local Hamburgesa joint I saw.

    And those Pacifico's were going down GooooooOOOOOooood!
    #23
    trolasater
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    Re:Ground Beef in Mexican Restaurant Foods 2009/11/09 22:26:58 (permalink)
    I used to be kitchen manager in the late 1970s at the first non-chain Tex-Mex restuarant in Raleigh, Charlie Goodnight's. We prepared our ground beef by mixing it with water until it got sloppy and putting it on to simmer (20 lbs. at the time) in a stockpot until no pink was left. The water and almost all of the grease was then poured off into a 55 gallon drum out back for recycling by a renderer. The gray, very finely divided beef was then seasoned with garlic salt, chili powder and Texas Pete brand hot sauce. This became taco,enchilada and burrito filling. One item that we didn't make was tamales. The "boiled" beef reminded me of the filling in Austex canned tamales, almost a paste. This was the only way to remove the otherwise excessive amounts of grease. I do this a home on a smaller scale when I make tacos.
    #24
    bwave
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    Re:Ground Beef in Mexican Restaurant Foods 2009/11/10 00:23:18 (permalink)
    Never seen ground beef in a mexican restaurant around here. 
    #25
    lone nut
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    Re:Ground Beef in Mexican Restaurant Foods 2009/12/10 00:53:18 (permalink)
    Well, there will be those who look down their noses at GB in "Mexican" food. In Dallas, TX, GB was it from the '60s on. Now, the place I like, Ojeda's, uses as VERY mushy, very wet GB, in shells too delicate to pick up. Yet there is zero grease. A chef friend suggests they may be adding a little finely chopped potato to maintain the wetness, with no grease. If you can pick the thing up, the usual technique is to place a few of the delicate chips under your chin to catch the filling which always drips out of the taco. I've never seen anyone complain about the spices, etc, in this preparation.
    Here in Los Angeles the Damned, what I do is steam the beef, which allows the grease to drip into the water below. Then, I go ahead and use a packaged Taco Seasoning Mix (my girlfriend does not like things too spicy) with water, in a sauce pan, letting the whole thing boil down until it's not TOO wet. I add more stuff to my half (roasted serrano peppers, black pepper, maybe some cumin, and some garlic). The only place I like finely chopped iceberg lettuce is here, in tacos. I'll add sharp cheddar, and a good, hot, thin, runny (NOT chunky) salsa.
    No shredded anything for me.
    #26
    EatingTheRoad
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    Re:Ground Beef in Mexican Restaurant Foods 2009/12/10 09:28:53 (permalink)
    Foodbme
    trolasater
    I used to be kitchen manager in the late 1970s at the first non-chain Tex-Mex restaurant in Raleigh, Charlie Goodnight's. We prepared our ground beef by mixing it with water until it got sloppy and putting it on to simmer (20 lbs. at the time) in a stockpot until no pink was left. The water and almost all of the grease was then poured off into a 55 gallon drum out back for recycling by a renderer. The gray, very finely divided beef was then seasoned with garlic salt, chili powder and Texas Pete brand hot sauce. This became taco,enchilada and burrito filling. One item that we didn't make was tamales. The "boiled" beef reminded me of the filling in Austex canned tamales, almost a paste. This was the only way to remove the otherwise excessive amounts of grease. I do this a home on a smaller scale when I make tacos.


    The process you describe is very similar to the process used to make Detroit Style Coney sauce: 

    HoHo's Original Greek Coney Sauce

    1 pound Ground beef
    3/4
    cup lard
    1 medium Onion(s), diced
    1/3 cup Chili powder
    2 teaspoons Paprika
    1 teaspoon Black pepper, coarsely ground
    1 teaspoon Garlic powder
    1 teaspoon Cumin powder
    1 teaspoon Allspice
    1 teaspoon Basil, dried
    1 teaspoon Salt
    1 TBSP Celery Seed
    1/2 teaspoon Oregano, dried

    PREPARATION:
    To get the right consistency, break up the meat in a bowl & cover the meat with water & Ice and soak in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Drain water & remove Ice & then take a fork and break up any remaining chunks.

    Line a colander with 1 layer of Cheese Cloth and drain the meat. You can make a packet with the Cheese cloth and squeeze to remove excess water. The meat in the cheese cloth makes it easy to transport to the pan. Use a large sauté pan with a lid or a chicken fryer with a lid, Brown beef, onion and shortening.

    At this point, Lay sheets of paper towel on the mixture to absorb any excess lard if you don't like your sauce greasy. Discard the towel (Duh!) Add remaining ingredients and stir.

    Cover & Simmer for 1 ½ hours. Stirring occasionally. Remove lid and cook for another 15 to 30 minutes. You may have to add some water if it's too thick for your taste. Put mixture in a bowl & refrigerate. This allows the excess lard to firm up and can be scraped off if you desire. Package in sealed containers or Zip Freezer bags.



    #27
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