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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.

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

What would you include with your shredded beef tacos?

peachy from Home Sweet Home on January 21, 2015:

can i add mayonnaise on the tacos before i add in the meat? voted up

KayeSI on May 13, 2012:

Sounds like a great dinner. Shredded beef tacos are my favorite too. I add

Shredded lettuce or cabbage as well. Tasty and it's healthy for

My baby boomer metabolism ;) Thanks for a fun visit.

LampsPest on January 26, 2012:

Now you done made me hungry! Well I guess I can start my diet tomorrow ... again

anonymous on October 04, 2011:

Just made these with sirloin (what I had in the house!) rather than the flank steak, sliced rather than shredded, and they still turned out wonderfully! Thanks for sharing your techniques! A delicious recipe!

cheech1981 on September 21, 2011:

those look awesome. i'd accompany them with fried green plantain chips and guacamole. :)

CCGAL on September 05, 2011:

We love home made pico de gallo, and of course we love to have sour cream and guacamole with our tacos no matter what meat is inside them. I have done other forms of shredded beef for tacos, but I'm thinking I'll give your recipe a try - sounds so delicious!

bcarter on June 25, 2011:

I definitely think I'm going to have to try this sometime. The hubby and I are always running out of ideas for meals around the house.

SmBizGuru LM on October 27, 2010:

What about green or red bell peppers? Add just a little sweetness...or what about savory mushrooms; not very Mexican but I like mushrooms!

Kylyssa Shay from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on July 28, 2010:

Yum! I will have to give this a try. I like my shredded beef tacos with lots of fresh cilantro.

Rhonda Albom from New Zealand on October 10, 2009:

My daughter is reading over my shoulder and said "Oh my gosh, that looks soooo good. Can we make that? Please, Please, Please?" So it looks like I need to get to the shops for some meat! thanks for this. We are looking forward to our Mexican fiesta!

Sherry Venegas (author) from La Verne, CA on August 05, 2009:

[in reply to kab] Hi Kab,

Yes, you are correct. A good tomato salsa would to be tops.

Kerri Bee from Upstate, NY on August 03, 2009:

They look great, but I think I'd shove some tomato in there somewhere - that's just how I roll.

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