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How to Make Shredded Beef Tacos Using Flank Steak

Ms. Venegas experiments with Mexican foods under the watchful critiques of her husband. The recipes need to pass a "when I was a kid" test.

Shredded Beef Taco Recipe

This was a favorite entree my husband's mother would make for a big family meal. Every time I make these shredded flank steak tacos, my husband says, "This is good." Not very descriptive, but if there is a compliment, that's "good."

Rice and beans are always included. Add shredded cheese, your favorite salsa, and browned tortillas for big flavors like those you'd find in any Mexican restaurant. For a family of two, there's plenty of leftovers.

Try Grandma Cuca's flank steak shredded beef tacos at home one evening. They are delicious.

Brown and caramelize the flank steak for big flavor.

Brown and caramelize the flank steak for big flavor.


For the beef:

  • flank steak, the popular flat iron steak, or flap steak
  • oil for browning
  • onions
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon chile powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Any favorite mix of spices or Mexican seasoning, or use Cuca's method: Rub the meat with 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger, sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper, and add teriyaki sauce and beef bouillon cube to the cooking pan.

For the tacos:

  • Corn or flour tortillas (medium-sized)
  • Beans, rice, cheese, salsa, and anything else you'd like to include

How to Make the Shredded Beef

  1. Start with one flank steak. This one is half of the standard flank steak you'll see at the meat counter (it usually weighs over 2 pounds and comes packaged).
  2. Cut the steak into 2-inch strips across the grain.
  3. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pan with a tight cover. Get the meat as brown as you can without letting it burn. Cover the frying pan to get the moisture leaching and lots of browning. Caramelizing the flank steak adds flavor.
  4. After browning, add about 1/2 cup water, sliced onions, and garlic cloves. Stir it to disperse the brown sauce and scrape loose the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. You may add your spices now.
  5. Cover the pan and turn the heat down to simmer for 40 minutes. Do not let the meat dry out during this process. Add a little water if needed to keep the bottom of the pan slightly moist.
  6. Test the beef after 40 minutes to see if it is tender to your liking. Simmer longer if it is not.
  7. Pull the strips of steak from the pan and shred them using two forks on a cutting board.
  8. Return the shredded meat to the pan and mix it into the onion and garlic, crushing the vegetables as you stir.
  9. Add salt, pepper, and other spices if needed. The spices could be something different each time for variety.
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How to Prepare the Tacos

Brown the tortillas in a toaster or a pan and fill them with beef, beans, rice, cheese, and salsa.

Serve more beans and rice as side dishes.

Serving suggestions:

  • If you use large tortillas, you can make shredded beef burritos.
  • If there are leftovers, roll the beef in corn tortillas and fry them until they're crisp in oil for taquitos. Serve with guacamole.
  • Serve these with cerveza (beer) and twist of lime.

Mexican Style Shredded Beef

Brown your tortillas in a pan before stuffing them.

Brown your tortillas in a pan before stuffing them.

Quick and Easy

Making this meal is easy because there is no need for a cookbook or recipe. The routine is easy and everyone can eat when they want. Just heat the plate in the microwave when assembled.

Shredded Beef Tacos

Shredded Beef Tacos

© 2009 Sherry Venegas

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