The Best Tacos in Town
Six awesome taco recipes for your menu
Tacos—the ultimate casual food with limitless potential. They’ve got more swagger than sandwiches and more street cred than burgers, but they still play within your customers’ safe zone. And from the back of house perspective, tacos answer a few operational needs beautifully. “With today’s demand for fun global builds and ‘mash-ups,’ tacos are a great place to both cross utilize ingredients and also use up leftover inventory in creative ways,” says Barry Miles, senior corporate chef for Kraft Foodservice. “They help with food cost because you can use up ingredients costed out for other dishes—they’re already paid for.” Tacos also deliver ease of execution. “Most of the prep is mise en place, and then it’s just quick assembly,” says Chef Miles.
There’s no better home for the modern mash-up than tucked into a taco. Just ask Roy Choi of Kogi BBQ, a food truck empire in Los Angeles, who blew up the culinary world with his brilliant taco genius. As evidence, look at his Short Rib Taco, which sports caramelized Korean barbecue short rib, a salsa roja made with Mexican and Korean chilies, cilantro-onion relish and chili-soy slaw—all atop crisply griddled corn tortillas. He started a taco revolution, one where bold flavor combinations dictate the build, where authenticity of experience dials up the perceived value. With that mandate, the chefs at the Kraft Culinary Centre proudly present six taco recipes designed to bring in more customers.
58% of consumers agree to some extent that they enjoy dishes featuring a fusion of flavors from more than one type of cuisine.
—Technomic U.S. Flavor Consumer Trend Report, 2013
six ultimate taco recipes
Chorizo and Egg Breakfast Tacos
The opportunity in the breakfast daypart continues to soar. The NPD Group forecasts even more growth, predicting a 7% increase over the next nine years.* Innovation here is key, and this recipe delivers. For a signature sauce, our chefs combine Philadelphia Cream Cheese, Kraft Ranch Dressing and TAPATÍO Hot Sauce. A garnish of chicharrón adds perfect porky crunch.
*“A Look into the Future of Foodservice,” NPD Group, 2014
Peruvian Seafood Tacos
In its February 2014 trends report, Datassential calls out Peruvian as an emerging cuisine ripe for exploration. Quinoa, corn, empanadas and marinated fish offer a few delicious entry points here. “We love Peru’s aji chile with its fruity, full-bodied profile,” says Chef Miles. In this better-for-you recipe, the Kraft chefs introduce aji chile paste and garlic to Kraft Lime Cilantro Vinaigrette. “It adds dimension, but also helps us build an authentic flavor story.”
Roasted Brussels & Grilled Veggie Tacos
Vegetarian options help kill the veto vote, but flavor has to come first. Our chefs grill adobo-dusted zucchini, portobello and yellow squash for deep, developed flavors. Roasted Brussels sprouts bring the wow factor while jicama and avocado deliver fresh, crisp notes. The dipping sauce sees a come-back-for-more blend of Philadelphia Cream Cheese, Kraft Ranch Dressing and TAPATÍO Hot Sauce.
BBQ Adobo Pork Tacos
These tacos are hearty, boasting smoky, spicy flavors of barbecue. Our chefs do a quick plus-one, adding chipotle in adobo to Open Pit Original Restaurant Recipe Barbecue Sauce. For textural interest, they garnish with crunchy onion straws.
Grilled Sirloin Tacos with BBQ Kimchee
Here, our chefs illustrate the balance of introducing a global trend through accent rather than replication. They blend Korean kimchee—the fabulous fermented vegetable that’s finding a place on American menus—with Open Pit Original Restaurant Recipe Barbecue Sauce. The result? “You get barbecue that boasts a good balance of vinegar, sweetness and spice, plus that deeper tone of umami from the kimchee,” says Chef Miles.
Grilled Red Snapper Tacos with Bistro-Chipotle Spread
The fish taco answers a few menu needs—smart choice, meatless option and clean flavors. But should you go with grilled or fried fish in a taco? According to research done by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute in partnership with Datassential, more than 60% of consumers prefer grilled. This recipe starts with a blend of Grey Poupon Bistro Sauce with green onion and chipotle for a smoky, tangy flavor. Tomatillo, avocado and cilantro firmly plant the recipe in Baja beach territory.
The Next Big Taco Trend?
One of the most exciting aspects of the taco trend is the deep well of both tradition and innovation you can pull from. We’ve just started to tap the authentic builds found in wonderful flavor pockets throughout Central and South America. And then there’s the mash-up—the taco with bravado that graces today’s food scene. Three “new” tacos on the block that we think show menu potential:
- What’s in it
- Where we found it
Mexican street food that sees meat and fillings layered between two tortillas, grilled, then finished with Oaxaca cheese.
Blue Moon Mulita—melted cheese, grilled chicken and grilled onion between two toasted corn tortillas, topped with Salsa Azul and sesame seeds
Born in Texas, deep-fried corn masa tortillas that are crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.
Texas Baja with fried or grilled tilapia and ranch-chipotle slaw
Regional American Fusion
Jumping off the global mash-ups trend, some are staying closer to home for inspiration, pulling in regional ingredients from delicious hotspots like New Orleans, Key West or the Pacific Northwest.
Molida Lamb Taco with creole aïoli, bleu cheese and sweet potato hay