Tacos, tacos, tacos. There's no denying that tacos hold a special place when it comes to food. While we've previously shared some more elaborate taco recipes, which undoubtedly satisfy the taste buds, there are occasions when nothing beats the classic American taco. This straightforward ground venison dish is a go-to in countless homes. It can be prepared with lean ground meat, whether it's wild game or domestic, and comes complete with a homemade seasoning mix. It's the ideal choice for a hassle-free weeknight dinner!
How to make homemade taco seasoning:
If you're aiming to enhance your taco experience effortlessly, crafting your own seasoning blend presents an excellent opportunity! Preparing homemade taco seasoning requires minimal effort but offers substantial rewards. The ability to tailor the spice blend to your preferences is a significant advantage, plus it doesn't contain any additional fillers such as starches or flour. Combine chili powder, cumin, onion flakes, garlic powder (or fresh garlic added before cooking), oregano, paprika, salt, pepper, and cayenne. You can easily whip up multiple batches and store them in glass jars, just like you would with other spices. This way, your seasoning is always at the ready when taco night rolls around!
How to keep wild game tacos moist:
Wild game often has a reputation for becoming dry during cooking, but there's a solution! Because wild game is typically quite lean, it requires a different approach compared to ground beef or pork. By following a few straightforward steps, you can bid farewell to dry tacos forever.
Begin by incorporating the seasonings into the meat before cooking, akin to preparing sausage. This technique allows the meat to absorb the flavors, eliminating the need to mix the seasonings into the meat while it's cooking. This way, you can let it cook without constantly stirring, reducing the risk of losing moisture.
Opt for cooking the meat in animal fat, such as pork lard. This not only enhances the mouthfeel of the meat but also imparts a bit more flavor.
To introduce moisture towards the end of cooking, consider adding ingredients like tomato paste and wild game or beef stock. Allow them to simmer into the meat, creating a delectable sauce that not only enhances flavor but also infuses much-needed moisture into the meat.
- 1 lb ground wild game (red meat: venison, pronghorn, elk, moose, etc.)
- 1 tablespoon lard (only needed if your meat does not have added fat)
- 1 ½ tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon dried onion flakes
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder (or 1 teaspoon fresh minced garlic)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste
- ¾ cup stock (beef or wild game)
- 8 tortillas (soft shell taco size or crispy taco shells)
- ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 3 tablespoon yellow onion, finely diced
- ½ cup sour cream
- ½ cup salsa
- ½ cup diced tomatoes
- 1 cup shredded iceberg lettuce
- ¼ cup sliced black olives
In a small bowl, blend together chili powder, cumin, onion flakes, garlic powder, oregano, paprika, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Next, incorporate this spice mixture into the ground meat using your hands.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, then add lard to the pan. Allow it to melt and swirl it around to coat the pan evenly.
Now, introduce the seasoned meat to the pan, spreading it out into a thin layer. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until the bottom side becomes browned and crisp. Flip the meat and continue cooking for an additional 3-5 minutes.
To break up the meat, use either a wooden spoon or a ChopStir tool. Add tomato paste and broth to the mixture and stir until they are well combined. Bring it to a simmer and let the liquid reduce for an extra 2-3 minutes, or until the liquid is no longer runny. The mixture should consist mostly of meat with a slightly thickened sauce to maintain moisture.
Divide the meat among tortillas, then top with your preferred toppings. Enjoy!
Suggested toppings per taco: 1 tablespoon shredded cheese, 1 teaspoon diced onion, 1 tablespoon sour cream, 1 tablespoon salsa, 1 tablespoon diced tomatoes, 2 tablespoon shredded lettuce, and ½ tablespoon sliced black olives.
What to serve with wild game tacos:
Tacos hold a special place as a favorite meal because they offer a well-rounded dining experience without the need for additional side dishes. For the classic ground tacos, you can use traditional toppings like cheddar cheese, shredded iceberg lettuce, diced tomatoes, finely chopped onions, sliced olives, salsa, and sour cream. If you're in the mood for something more elaborate, consider adding a touch of sliced avocado or guacamole. If you find it hard to resist accompanying sides, options like refried beans or a cabbage slaw make fantastic complements to these tacos. And if you prefer your sides in liquid form, a margarita would be an excellent choice. Whether you choose to savor them on their own or with a side, these tacos are sure to become a delightful addition to your weeknight meal repertoire!