Shredded Garlic Beef Tacos With Pickled Onions

I am developing an obsession with tacos.

Shredded Garlic Beef Tacos

A few weekends ago my husband and I spent a VERY long afternoon at Mayfest, an art and sports fair, where I was preforming with my belly dance class.  Did I say it was a long day?  By the time I was finished I was hot, dusty, blistered, thirsty, and absolutely starving!  So, my husband and I stopped at a Fort Worth taco shop named Yucatan Taco Stand.  On the menu, which had me tempted to try one of everything, there was one dish that caught my particular attention.  It was the Garlic Shredded Beef Tacos.  Tender beef, loads of fresh toppings, warm corn tortillas … there was nothing about the description I did not like!

Shredded Garlic Beef Tacos

One bite was enough for me to  know I made the right call.  Two bites and I knew I was headed for trouble.  You see, I am a Dallas girl.  I work in Dallas, I play in Dallas.  I do not often make it out Fort Worth way.  So, as I contemplated the last savory bites of taco bliss I formulated a plan.  I would attempt to create her own delicious beef tacos at home using only her cooking know-how rather than make frequent trips to the far side of Fort Worth.

Shredded Garlic Beef Tacos

What I ended up with are tender, juicy, flavorful, and highly addictive tacos.  The beef, which I brown prior to putting in the slow cooker (and please, do not skip this step!), is really the star here, but to take it over the top I made some quick pickled onions.  The tang and slight sweetness from the onion really cuts the richness of the beef and gives the tacos a refreshing finish.  I used toppings like the ones from the taco stand, with the addition of some fresh sliced avocado, but you can use whatever you prefer.   This is a great party dish because people can create their own taco concoctions.  Served with an icy cold beer, there is nothing better!

Shredded Garlic Beef Tacos with Pickled Onions      Serves 6-8

For the onions:
1 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 chili pequin
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon whole mustard seeds
1 large red onion, peeled and sliced into 1/4″ slices

For the beef:
1 pound trimmed beef chuck roast
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
6 garlic cloves, crushed with the flat side of a knife
2 yellow onions, peeled and sliced into 1/2″ thick slices
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1 tablespoon oregano
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon dry chipotle powder
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
2 cups water

For the condiments:
16 yellow corn tortillas
Shredded iceberg lettuce
Shredded red cabbage
Fresh cilantro
Shredded queso quesadilla
Crumbled queso fresco
Lime wedges
Picked onions (from above)
Sliced avocado

Begin by preparing the onions 24 hours in advance.

In a large pot combine all the ingredients expect the onion and bring to a boil.  Add the onion and cook for one minute.  Turn off the heat allow to cool slightly before pouring into a clean jar.  Chill to room temperature then seal and refrigerate.

Next, prepare the beef.

Shredded Garlic Beef Tacos Shredded Garlic Beef Tacos

Season the meat generously with salt and pepper.  Heat a large skillet over high heat then add the oil.  When it just begins to smoke add the beef and brown well on all sides.

Shredded Garlic Beef Tacos

Place the beef with the remaining ingredients into the slow cooker.  Cook on low for 8 hours.

Shredded Garlic Beef Tacos

Carefully remove the meat form the slow cooker and shred with two forks.   Pour over a little of the cooking liquid and toss to coat.

Prepare your condiments on a platter while you warm your tortillas either in the microwave wrapped in a damp cloth, or wrapped int foil in the oven, until steamy.

Shredded Garlic Beef Tacos

Build your tacos as desired.

Shredded Garlic Beef Tacos

Prepare for taco bliss.

Shredded Garlic Beef Tacos

© 2010, Evil Shenanigans. All rights reserved.

Author: Kelly

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  • We never get sick of tacos. So many fun ways to enjoy them. These look so fresh!

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  • These tacos look glorious. Love all the flavors and textures you have going on here.

  • Oh. YUM. YUM. and also YUM.

  • Jennifer W

    Hey girl – these look great 🙂 Yet, I’m bummed you think that Yucatan Taco Stand is in the “far side of Fort Worth”. It’s actually only 2 miles south of downtown, right off of I-35 and Rosedale. And, there are lotsa good eateries there, most that I need to still try. (Yucatan is only .5 mile from my house).

    If you’re ever tempted to try another place, or hit up Yucatan again – let me know!

    In the meantime, I will definitely need to try your version. Slow cooker is all I need, eh? No grill/smoker? AWESOME.


  • these look delicious! my mouth is watering and now have to head to the closes taco cart! great photos!

  • Joy

    I have done something similar to with pork but not with beef yet. I like how you used garlic too.

  • Pickled onions?! That sounds really good with the tacos. Yum!!! I’ve been craving tacos lately, too.

  • This looks really delicious!

  • You need to call me the next time you make these. YUM. I made shredded beef tacos in lots of ways, but yours really look great.

  • Ooh… Love this! I can’t get enough of shredded beef tacos. I am definitely trying this recipe next time!

  • One word. Yum!

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  • Those look too incredible for words. I love Mexican food so anything made into a taco sounds great to me.

  • I have been looking forever for taco recipe. This is exactly what i needed. Well I might substitute beef for chicken but ingredients that vibrant I am sure I will love it. Yummy

  • Doreen

    I made this but forgot to put the onions in the crockpot with the beef and didn’t have chipotle power so I used new mexican red chile instead. My chuck roast had a big vein of fat running through it so my shredded beef was pretty oily – I should have cut the roast into pieces and got rid of that fat.

    I had left over beef – so this morning I heated some beef up in a pan then scrambled some eggs into the beef and cooked it – then added some fresh salsa and made breakfast tacos w/ pickled onions and avacado. The beef tasted much better this morning than it did last night.

    I plan to make this again …

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