Cooking Guide

4 Best Beef For Tacos That Are Used In Most Mexican Restaurants

Have you ever wondered what cut of beef is most favored in authentic Mexican tacos?

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There are different beef cuts and each of them has its own flavor profile and texture.

So read on to find out what are the best cuts for beef tacos so that you know what to look for the next time in the grocery store.

How to choose beef for tacos?

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Tacos are a classic Mexican dish that can be served on any occasion, at any time of the day.

The key to having the best tacos not only lies in the corn tortillas but also in the filling that is often made from beef.

So how to choose the best beef for tacos? Here are our tips:

1. Buy fresh grass-fed beef

Fresh beef is great, but if you can buy fresh grass-fed beef, your dish can be elevated to a new level.

Grass-fed beef, as the name implies, is the meat produced by the cow that is fed with a natural diet, mainly made out of grass or other organic foods.

Fresh grass-fed beef has a firm texture but is still tender when cooked properly, juicy, but not watery.

2. Buy pre-ground beef if you prefer the convenience

The most common beef filling for tacos is ground beef.

You can easily have ground beef from a whole beef cut by using a sharp knife to finely chop it or using a meat grinder.

However, in case you don’t have time for making your own ground beef, there are plenty of packages of pre-ground beef on the market.

Since it is already ground, it is recommended to not wash it, but directly use it instead.

Therefore, when buying pre-ground beef, just buy from a reputable store and choose a package without any weird identification.

3. Buy a whole cut of beef to make pulled beef or cut it into strips which also work for tacos

Other options for the meat filling of the beef tacos are pulled beef and beef strips.

That means you can originally work with a good cut of meat and then pull it apart or cut it into strips per your desired thickness.

Just buy a whole cut of beef that looks bright, dry but a bit sticky when touched without any dark spot.

If it is quicker to cook ground beef, a whole cut of beef takes a longer time to be fully cooked.

Therefore, when using pulled beef or beef strips for your tacos, you should use a tender cut.

In case it is a tough cut, it should be that has already been slow-roasted until fork-tender.

Best beef for tacos

Are you wondering what exact cut of beef works best in your taco recipe? Check out our suggestions:

1. Flank steak

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Flank steak is a versatile cut that is favored in many recipes.

Flank steak is also inexpensive than other steak cuts, making it an ideal choice for many housewives.

This cut can be used to make ground beef or roasted to make pulled beef and served with corn tortillas in your taco recipe thanks to the moderately tender texture, not too lean or fatty.

2. Skirt steak

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Skirt steak is a good cut for quickly cooking at high temperatures.

When you grill skirt steak, the meat gets a nice char on its surface and stays juicy.

This affordable steak cut is perfect for an everyday dish, especially in Mexican cuisine, like tacos or even fajitas.

3. Ribeye steak

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Ribeye steak is the meat cut from the ribeye cut without the bones.

It is one of the most expensive cuts of beef but the ribeye steak is worth the price.

You can give it a nice sear until medium-rare so that the meat is just perfectly tender and juicy.

After that, serve your ribeye in strips wrapped in corn tortillas.

4. Sirloin steak

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Another cut of beef that works for tacos is sirloin steak.

It comes from the back end of the cow with a moderately tender texture, is flavorful, and is full of protein.

Sirloin steak is more affordable than the tenderloin but is good enough for a restaurant-quality beef taco.

A sirloin steak can be grilled and served as pulled beef or cut into strips to enjoy with other veggies in your tacos.

The bottom line

There is actually not a thing as the best cut for tacos, but there are some cuts of beef that work better than others in this Mexican delicacy.

For example, you can buy a flank steak, skirt steak, sirloin steak, or rib eye to make the best tacos.

The key is to purchase the fresh cut with some fat so that your dish will not only be tasty but also juicy.

Emily W.

Emily Wong is an Asian-American food writer the founder of With nearly 8 years of experience, she has a passion for making cooking accessible to everyone and sharing her personal experiences with food. Emily's vision for is to create a community of food lovers who are passionate about cooking, eating, and sharing their experiences with others. Read my story
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