15 Delicious Types of Taco Meat You Can Try

types of taco meat

To call taco a simple street food is a huge understatement, and it wouldn’t do justice to this delicious Mexican dish. If you swing by a taqueria, you’ll see tacos are made of a tortilla, filling, some salsa, and some garnishes on the side. But don’t let the plain ingredients deceive you — there is so much more to a taco than meets the eye.

This popular dish is an example of street food done right. So, if you believe that there are only a few taco flavors, think again. We’ve prepared a list of 15 delicious types of taco meat you can try.

15 Different Types of Taco Meat

When it comes to taco fillings, it’s a real pity to stick to the basics. You’ll want to indulge yourself in the variety of taco flavors before deciding on your favorite. So, here are some of the most famous types of tacos you should try.

1. Al Pastor

Al Pastor

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If you were to translate it, tacos al pastor loosely means shepherd-style pork. This delicious filling is made by marinating pork in a blend of chilies and spices and then slowly cooking the meat over an open flame.

2. Barbacoa


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Barbacoa is a style of slowly cooking meat over an open flame or in a hole in the ground. Taquerias usually use beef heads or beef cheeks for this recipe as the prepared meat is very tender and flavorsome.

3. Birria


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Birria is a spicy meat stew people usually serve at weddings. This special occasion dish can often come served in tacos, and it contains goat meat marinated in guajillo chili-based broth. Being very spicy, some people use it to sweat out a hangover.

4. Buche


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In Spanish, buche is the word used for the stomach of a pig. In order to make this taco filling, the meat is stewed for hours in various spices, which leaves it tasting tender and chewy.

5. Cabeza


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Cabeza is meat that comes from the head of a cow. Cow head contains a lot of fat, so it is full of flavor, and it doesn’t need a lot of seasoning. Some taquerias braze it to make it tender, while others might choose to vapor or steam it to get the best results.

6. Campechanos


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Tacos campechanos are often a combination of leftover meats, which gives them a new and interesting flavor. Most often, they are a mix of carne asada, longaniza, or chorizo, giving these tacos a spicy and crunchy texture.

7. Carne Asada

Carne Asada

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Carne asada is a flap steak from the short loin part of a cow. Before grilling it over charcoal, the meat is marinated in a mixture of citrus juices, cumin, and other spices. This steak is usually very thin, so it is very easy to chop it into pieces and put it in a tortilla after grilling it.

8. Carnitas


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Tacos de carnitas, or little meats, are made from pork shoulder that is slowly simmered in its own fat. After cooking it for several hours, the meat is so tender that it falls apart and melts in your mouth.

9. Cecina


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Cecina can be either beef or pork meat, sliced expertly and dried in the air, sun, or smoke. For a taco filling, you coat it in chili pepper and then roll and fold it into a tortilla. They are usually meat slices that do not need further chopping.

10. Chicharron


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Chicharones are pork rinds or deep-fried pork skins. To use these rinds for taco filling, you need to simmer them in salsa verde to get a soft instead of crispy texture. To get the most of this unusual flavor, chefs usually add acidic toppings, such as onions, cilantro, and lime.

11. Chorizo


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Chorizo is a fermented and cured sausage that is usually a blend of minced pork meat. It is quite spicy because it contains chilly peppers, and it can be bright red or green. To cook it for a taco filling, you first need to remove the meat from its casing.

12. Lengua


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Lengua is a beef tongue that can be a bit chewy for many taco lovers. However, if prepared right, it can be very soft and tasty meat. To get that buttery taste, it needs several hours of slow cooking.

13. Pollo


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Pollo means chicken in Spanish, and this meat usually sits in a marinade before grilling and cutting it into chunks. It might be a very simple flavor when you compare it to other meats, yet, it’s always a safe option.

14. Sesos


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Sesos is a custard-like filling made of braised or grilled cow brains. Maybe not the most attractive cut, but its silky smooth texture makes it a mouth-watering dish.

15. Tripas


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Another part of the cow, this time cow intestines, is another quite unusual, yet very appetizing taco filling. Tripas need a lot of preparation, so you can savor the taste fully. They require cleaning, boiling, and a lot of cooking to make them soft and tasty.

Finally, all these unusual fillings might sound a bit too adventurous, but they are worth trying if you consider yourself a taco lover.

Gretchen Walker
Gretchen is a homemaker by day and writer by night. She takes a keen interest in life as it unfolds around her and spends her free time observing people go about their everyday affairs.