How to Cook Street Tacos

by Natasha Puryear

Tacos date back to the ancient Aztecs and are now an international symbol of Mexican cuisine. A typical taco order, from an American restaurant, consists of meat in a fried corn tortilla shell or wrapped in flour tortillas and topped with a variety of vegetables. Authentic street tacos, however, are very basic. Besides the extremely flavorful meat, a street taco only consists of a fresh corn tortilla, cilantro and a squeeze of lime. The choices of meat on a street taco are endless, but boneless chicken breasts and skirt steak are the simplest to prepare. On the streets of Mexico you will also find goat, fish, tripe and other more exotic meats.

Meat Preparation

Mix together a marinade of lime juice, cilantro, cumin and jalapenos or chili powder. The marinade is made to your personal taste. Create enough marinade so you can completely immerse your meat in it.

Put your choice of meat in a resealable plastic bag or large bowl with a lid. Pour the marinade over the meat to completely cover it, then seal.

Refrigerate the meat overnight in the marinade. The lime juice will tenderize the meat over time.

Cooking Meat

Start your grill and raise the heat to approximately 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Charcoal grills provide the best flavor for street tacos, but you can use a gas grill.

Place the meat directly on the grill surface. Flip the meat over with a pair of tongs after the bottom of the meat has browned.

Cook the meat until it reaches a temperature safe for consumption as determined by a meat thermometer. Beef must reach 145 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit, pork must reach 160 degrees Fahrenheit and chicken must reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Remove the meat from the grill and cut it into bite-sized pieces.

Taco Assembly

Place a cast iron skillet or griddle on the grill and place corn tortillas in it. Flip the tortilla over with tongs, allowing both sides to warm.

Put the warm tortilla on a plate and top with meat. Do not overfill the taco.

Top the meat with chopped, fresh cilantro and serve with a slice of lime. Squeeze the lime over the taco before eating.


  • For an even more authentic street taco, use two white corn tortillas overlapped and filled to make one large taco.

Photo Credits

  • rez-art/iStock/Getty Images