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Five Types Of Tacos To Try On National Taco Day

By Danielle Dorsey

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Small, simple, yet endlessly satisfying, tacos only contain a few ingredients but somehow that only adds to their reputation. Each element has to be prepared just so. Ideally, the tortillas are handmade and fresh, the meat sliced from a vertical broiler, stewed, or chopped and seasoned on a grill, with a buffet of fresh and pickled vegetables and sauces waiting to be to layered onto your taco to your liking. 

While the specific origins of the taco are unknown, we know that they are native to Mexico, which has long relied on corn as a major crop. The taco tradition continues to thrive today, with styles of preparation and ingredients varying throughout the country. 

Here are five different types of tacos to try on National Taco Day:

Tacos Al Pastor

Loosely translating to “shepherd-style” pork, the meat in tacos al pastor is marinated in a flavorful seasoning blend and slow-cooked on a vertical rotisserie (called a trompo) using an open flame. The meat is sliced right off the trompo onto the tortilla and garnished with pineapple.

Tacos de Saudero 

Specific to Mexico City, tacos de saudero describe meat that has been stewed in lard for several hours before being fried, leaving it slightly crispy and caramelized. 

Guisado Tacos 

Guisado tacos are also stewed but typically eaten for breakfast or lunch. They’re thought of as comfort food by locals and traditionally prepared in clay pots called cazuelas that keep them fresh. 


Tacos de Canasta

The canasta, or basket, taco is typically sold as a street food from basket-toting vendors on bicycles or stands. They’re drizzled in oil and steamed in wicker baskets lined with parchment paper for about two hours prior to consumption. This gives them a slightly soggy texture that is similar to a pierogi. Popular fillings include potatoes, refried beans, adobo (pork marinated in a guajillo chile sauce), and chicharrón.

Barbacoa Tacos

While the name refers to lamb, these tacos are also made with beef, goat meat, or mutton. The entire animal is steam cooked in an underground oven pit until it is fork-tender. The meat is wrapped or covered in agave leaves and left to cook for up to ten hours. 

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