50 States, 50 Tacos

In search of America's tastiest tacos, Food Network Magazine discovered that chefs will stuff anything into a tortilla: mac and cheese, hearts of palm, octopus. The magazine's taco team tried hundreds of tacos to come up with this list of the best in every state (and D.C. too!). Wherever you are, these picks are worth the trip.

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Kowaliga Restaurant: Alexander City, Alabama

This classic Southern taco is the best reason to visit Kowaliga. Another: Hank Williams penned "Kaw-Liga" about a wooden Indian that once held court here. $5; 295 Kowaliga Marina Rd.; kowaligarestaurant.com

Baja Taco: Cordova, Alaska

The salmon here is as fresh as you can get — it's caught nearby and served on a tortilla smothered with salsa, chipotle mayo and shredded cabbage. $5.25; 1 Harbor Loop Rd.; bajatacoak.com

El Guero Canelo: Tucson, Arizona

Hot dogs are the specialty of the house here, but the carne asada tacos are the reason lunch lines wrap around the restaurant. You get to top them yourself with veggies, avocado crema and three kinds of salsa. $2; multiple locations; elguerocanelo.com

Local Lime: Little Rock, Arkansas

These little winners are proof that a tiny taco can be big on flavor. They're packed with a mix of chorizo, caramelized pineapple and Jack cheese — and each one is gone in two bites. $10.50 for three; 17815 Chenal Pkwy.; locallimetaco.com

Kogi BBQ: Los Angeles, California

Mention "Korean tacos" in Los Angeles and locals will lead you here: Chef Roy Choi's caramelized short rib taco topped with chili-soy slaw started a citywide Korean taco trend in 2008. $2.29; multiple locations; kogibbq.com

Pinche Tacos: Denver, Colorado

Visitors drive from several towns away to dig into this pork belly taco: a thick slice braised in orange juice and vinegar, served with candied garlic and a side of dipping jus. $3.50; two locations; tacostequilawhiskey.com

Agave Grill: Hartford, Connecticut

You can order these blue corn tortillas with all sorts of fillings, but barbecue pork is the most loved. Fans say the tacos are as close to Mexican street food as you can find in Connecticut. $11 for two; 100 Allyn St.; agavect.com

Oyamel Cocina Mexicana: D.C.

Oyamel's team went south of the border for inspiration and came back with the key to tasty pork tacos: a 24-hour lime-and-orange-juice marinade. $4; 401 7th St. N.W.; oyamel.com

El Dorado Restaurant: Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Mahi mahi is called dorado in Spanish, and that's the filling of the most-popular taco here: The fish is beer-battered and topped with a mayo sauce and cabbage. $3.75; 18766 John J. Williams Hwy.; eldoradorehoboth.com

Huahua's Taqueria: Miami Beach, Florida

Even past midnight, crowds form at this hot spot for the fried chicken taco with jalapeno cornbread croutons. $3.99; 1211 Lincoln Rd.; huahuastaco.com

Bad Dog Taqueria: Atlanta, Georgia

Get here early! Chefs make only about 75 of these off-the-menu tacos daily. They're strange but great: tomato-corn tortillas stuffed with four-cheese pasta. $9; 1579 N. Decatur Rd.; baddogtaco.com

Surf N Turf Tacos: Honolulu, Hawaii

You wouldn't think to put sushi fillings inside a taco, but it's a smart move: Tempura shrimp and spicy tuna are even better topped with pico de gallo in a corn shell. $5; two locations; surfnturftacos.com

Crooked Fence Barrelhouse: Garden City, Idaho

This unusual taco is a hit with Idaho's Irish population. Chefs serve traditional corned beef in a not-so-traditional way: beer-braised, on a corn tortilla. $9 for two; 5181 Glenwood St.; cfbarrelhouse.com

Birrieria Zaragoza: Chicago, Illinois

The menu proves just how much regulars love birria, slow-roasted, mole-marinated goat: It's one of the few things sold here. Place an order and you'll get a side of tortillas to build your own tacos. $10.50; 4852 S. Pulaski Rd.; 773-523-3700

La Chinita Poblana: Indianapolis, Indiana

All of the dishes at this fusion taqueria are Asian-inspired, and this one is the tastiest: curry-and-citrus skirt steak topped with avocado crema and fresh herbs. $3; 927 E. Westfield Blvd.; lachinitapoblana.com

Tasty Tacos: Statewide, Iowa

The Tasty Tacos chain has been around for 53 years, and this deep-fried beef taco — created by the owner's grandmother — has been a Hawkeye State favorite for decades. $2.95; tastytacos.com

Taco Republic: Kansas City, Kansas

You won't have trouble finding Taco Republic — it's in a former gas station. The popular veggie taco is an Argentinian specialty: fried hearts of palm with a mayo-ketchup sauce and avocado. $2.95; 500 County Line Rd.; eattacorepublic.com

Holy Mole Taco Truck: Louisville, Kentucky

These aren't your everyday seafood tacos: Fried soft shell crab and kimchi are served in two steamed corn tortillas and drizzled with chipotle mayo. $5; Twitter for location: @HolyMoleTruck

Pho Bistreaux: New Orleans, Louisiana

This NOLA restaurant is known for its quirky multiculti mash-ups. The banh mi taco has all the fixings of a Vietnamese sandwich, but in a lighter (equally tasty) package. $5.50 for two; 1200 S. Carrollton Ave.; phobistreaux.biz

Zapoteca Restaurante y Tequileria: Portland, Maine

Lobster gets extra-special treatment here: It's steamed in beer, sauteed in duck fat and served in its shell next to corn tortillas. $12; 505 Fore St.; zapotecarestaurant.com

Tortilleria Sinaloa: Baltimore, Maryland

This spot is known for its homemade tortillas — the staff cranks out thousands daily. Regulars love them even more when they're stuffed with Old Bay-seasoned tilapia. $5; 1716 Eastern Ave.; tortilleria-sinaloa.com

The Painted Burro: Somerville, Massachusetts

You don't have to pick a side in the hard-versus-soft tortilla debate: This short rib taco, stuffed with three cheeses and roasted poblano, has both. $8; 219 Elm St.; thepaintedburro.com

Dos Hermanos Market: Ypsilanti, Michigan

The rotisserie chicken taco is a perennial bestseller at this authentic Mexican market, but you'll need to plan your visit: It's available only on weekends. $1.60; 412 W. Michigan Ave.; 734-487-8839

World Street Kitchen: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Even meat lovers have ordered seconds of this hearty veggie taco with pepita salsa. It's the brainchild of a former Iron Chef contestant. $6 for two; 2743 Lyndale Ave. S.; eatwsk.com

Babalu Tacos & Tapas: Jackson, Mississippi

Locals named the menu here "Most Innovative" in the weekly paper. A case in point: this pork belly taco with citrus-chipotle barbecue sauce and peanut slaw. $8.50 for three; 622 Duling Ave.; babalums.com

Port Fonda: Kansas City, Missouri

When Chef Patrick Ryan tried to get rid of his oyster tempura taco with jalapeno crema, regulars petitioned for its return. But you can get it only from March to September. $7 for two; 4141 Pennsylvania Ave.; portfondakc.com

Pescado Blanco: Whitefish, Montana

Chefs here call their food "Mountain Mexican," and this taco is a good example: crema-drizzled elk chorizo with arugula, mushrooms and caramelized onions. $12.50 for two; 235 First St.; pescadoblanco.com

La Choza Restaurant: Omaha, Nebraska

Many traditional pork tacos are topped with pineapple, but the fruit gets extra play at this Salvadoran joint: The pork is marinated in pineapple pieces, then put on the rotisserie to caramelize the juices. $1.75; 5133 S. 25th St.; 402-733-9554

China Poblano: Las Vegas, Nevada

Renowned Spanish Chef José Andrés has created an unusual, irresistible combo: lychee and duck tongue in a corn tortilla. $5.50; The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas; 3708 S. Las Vegas Blvd.; cosmopolitanlasvegas.com

Mixteca Taqueria y Cantina: Durham, New Hampshire

This garlic-and-chili- marinated tri-tip taco gets an extra-special topping: wild mushrooms foraged from the woods nearby. $9 for three; 10 Jenkins Ct.; mixtecataqueria.com

The Taco Truck: Multiple Locations, New Jersey

This taco quickly went from a special to a menu staple: Locals love the extra-tender short rib braised in a garlic-chile sauce and served in two corn tortillas. $5 for two; thetacotruck.com

Earl's Family Restaurant: Gallup, New Mexico

Navajo fry bread is a statewide favorite, and it tastes even better in taco form. Here, the puffed disks are piled with classic toppings: ground beef, beans and cheese. $13; 1400 E. Historic Hwy. 66; 505-863-4201

Tacos El Bronco: Brooklyn, New York

Brooklyn's Sunset Park is full of great Mexican food, but locals gravitate here for flawless pork tacos served with roasted onion bulbs. The recipe comes from the owner's brother in Mexico. $1.50; 4324 4th Ave.; tacoselbronco.com

Cantina 1511: Charlotte, North Carolina

A three-step process makes the duck filling in this taco super tender: The meat is cured, slow-cooked and then lightly grilled. It's drizzled with a tangy avocado-tomatillo sauce. $4.25; two locations; cantina15eleven.com

Mezzaluna: Fargo, North Dakota

Fans of this fish taco know it's what's on top that counts: a deliciously sweet-and-spicy chili aioli. The fresh flour tortillas, made by hand at a nearby market, are a bonus. $10 for two; 309 Roberts St.; dinemezzaluna.com

The Coop Food Truck: Columbus, Ohio

This sounds like a Turkey Day special, but lucky for us, the taco — turkey, duck and chicken meat stewed in a guajillo sauce and served with pickled red cabbage — is sold spring through fall. $7 for two; coopontherun.com

Elote Cafe & Catering: Tulsa, Oklahoma

This puffy tortilla gets only a quick dip in the fryer, so it's crisp on the outside and softer on the inside — perfect for holding a hearty mix of beef or chicken, sweet potatoes and caramelized onions. $8.79 for two; 514 S. Boston 

Uno Mas Taquiza: Portland, Oregon

Ask staffers to name a favorite dish and most of them will say this chile-and-lime-seasoned octopus taco. It's a specialty of the chef's seaside hometown of Acapulco. $3.75; 2337 N.E. Glisan St.; unomastaquiza.com

Fugo Food Truck: Providence, Rhode Island

The owners of this food truck are Dominican and Laotian, and their beloved taco was inspired by both backgrounds: perfectly crisp fried tofu and slaw in a corn shell. $6 for two; Twitter for location: @FugoFoodTruck

Cha Cha's Mexican Grill: Charleston, South Carolina

Pork lovers, rejoice! This flour tortilla comes with pig meat in three great forms: pork belly, braised pork and crumbled bacon. It also includes a scoop of black beans. $3.75; 1409 Folly Rd.; chachasmexicangrill.com

Cheyenne Crossing Store: Lead, South Dakota

For more than 30 years, regulars have had trouble finishing this loaded fry-bread taco by themselves. Luckily, it comes in a smaller "snack size." $7–$11; 21417 US Hwy. 14A; 605-584-3510

Mas Tacos Por Favor: Nashville, Tennessee

This joint took its popular fried fish taco and made it vegetarian-friendly — with fried avocado in place of fish, topped with cabbage, red onion and a spiced yogurt sauce. $3; 732 Mcferrin Ave.; eatmastacos.com

Good 2 Go Taco: Dallas, Texas

The name of this taco stands for Southern comfort, and is it ever! The oversize breakfast taco is stuffed with sausage, egg, biscuit crumbles and a peppery white gravy. $3.50; 1146 Peavy Rd.; good2gotaco.com

Taqueria 27: Two Locations, Utah

Chef Todd Gardiner put a new spin on veggie tacos with this combo. It's like a super-delicious salad (beets, pears and gorgonzola) on a tortilla. $6 for two; taqueria27.com

The Mad Taco: Three Locations, Vermont

You can watch chefs in the open kitchen smoke jalapenos and onions for this sweet potato-and-black bean taco. They also make more than a dozen hot sauces for the top. $8 for two; themadtaco.com

Fuego Cocina y Tequileria: Arlington, Virginia

The recipe for this slow-cooked brisket taco, topped with jalapeno and onions, comes straight from Mexico. The chef's sister serves it at her Mexico City taqueria. $7 for two; 2800 Clarendon Blvd.;fuegova.com

Tacos Chukis: Seattle, Washington

The owner recently expanded his space, but it's still packed with customers clamoring for this favorite: rotisserie pork topped with pineapple, onions, cilantro and guacamole. $1.90; 219 Broadway E.; 206-328-4447

Black Sheep Burrito & Brews: Two Locations, West Virginia

It's not hard to find a trout taco in West Virginia —  it's the state fish — but here the trout is smoked and topped with a bourbon-bacon marmalade. $4.25; blacksheepwv.com

Cempazuchi: Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Fried fish is a favorite dish in Milwaukee, and here it gets a Latin twist: It's breaded in blue cornmeal and served in a corn tortilla with lime slaw and chipotle mayo. $11 for three; 1205 E. Brady St.; cempazuchi.com

Rendezvous Bistro: Jackson Hole, Wyoming

The chef took a trip to Baja and came back with the idea for this winner: tongue covered in onion, cabbage, watermelon radish and pickled jalapeño on a tortilla. $9 for two; 380 S. Broadway; rendezvousbistro.net