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Crispy Beef Tacos

These tacos are inspired by the beef machaca tacos from The Talpa Restaurant and Bar in Los Angeles, CA.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 5 hr (plus marinating time)
  • Active: 2 hr
  • Yield: 10 tacos
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1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce 

Juice of 2 limes

1 teaspoon ancho chile powder

1 teaspoon guajillo chile powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin 

1 teaspoon garlic powder 

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano 

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

2 1/2 pound chuck roast, cut into 4-ounce portions 


3 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 1/2 cups water

One 14-ounce can diced tomatoes

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon dried oregano 

1 teaspoon Mexican hot sauce, such as Tapatio or Cholula 

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 


Ten 6-inch flour tortillas, warmed

Vegetable oil, for frying

Shredded Cheddar, for serving 

Shredded iceberg lettuce, for serving 

Wedged tomatoes, for serving


  1. For the marinade: Whisk the oil, Worcestershire sauce, lime juice, chile powders, cumin, garlic powder, oregano, pepper, salt and thyme together in a large bowl. Add the beef, making sure every piece is evenly coated. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. For the machaca: Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Drain the beef, pat it dry and then sear in batches until browned on all sides. Remove to a plate. Add the water, tomatoes, cumin, oregano, hot sauce and some salt and pepper to the pot and bring to a boil, scraping the browned bits off the bottom of the pan.
  3. Return the beef to the pan and reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer until the meat is fork tender, about 2 hours. 
  4. Remove from the heat and pull out the meat, shredding it with forks. Return the meat to the pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat, uncovered. Reduce the liquid until very thick, almost dry, about 1 hour. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. For the tacos: Take a warm tortilla and fill with 3 tablespoons of the machaca beef. Fold the tortilla over and close with two toothpicks along the sides. Continue with the remaining tortillas. 
  6. Fill a large heavy-bottomed saucepan with enough oil to fill the pan about a third of the way. Heat over medium heat until a deep-frying thermometer inserted in the oil reaches 350 degrees F. (If you don't have a thermometer, a cube of bread will brown in about 3 minutes.) 
  7. Fry the tacos in batches until golden brown and the shell is hard, about 3 minutes on each side. Set aside on a tray lined with parchment paper. Remove the toothpicks and fill each taco with cheese, lettuce and tomato.