Summer Taco Fiesta

August 15, 2017

The hot weather in Calgary so far this summer has been a treat. Those broiling days have many comparing the season to a stay in the tropics. It’s the perfect time to throw your own summer party!

This season at Co-op it’s all about the summer fiesta, so what better way to celebrate than with spicy food?

Create a backyard taco fiesta with a taco bar

yt6 Tacos are the perfect backyard party food. Whether you like crispy shells or more traditional soft corn wraps, beef, or chicken, tacos are infinitely customizable, making them a great option for familes, kids parties or having friends over for a bite.

Just follow our five easy steps to create a backyard taco bar with a variety of wraps, meats, fillings and toppings.

Set up a Taco Bar for a summer fiesta

taco toppingsStep 1: Assemble the toppings
Chop a variety of toppings like fresh lettuce, tomatoes, and peppers and set them into different bowls. If you’re feeling creative, don’t forget things like black or green olives, sour cream, or sautéed onions.

Step 2: Get cheesy
Grate some cheeses; cheddar and marble work well and are easy to find but for an even more authentic taco, look for Queso Fresco which is Mexican fresh cheese. You can often find it in the deli department. This cheese has a light taste and crumbles well and adds a nice creamy flavour and different texture to the tacos.

Step 3: Develop a saucy attitude
Set out a variety of sauces. Look in the Mexican aisle for sauces like Cholua, Tapatio, or even Frank’s Red Hot alongside traditional Mexican taco sauce or different salsas.  

Step 4: Warm tortillas and shells
Wrap hard taco shells and authentic soft corn tortillas separately in a double layer of foil and place them on the BBQ over indirect heat, or on the warming rack. Ensure they don’t get too hot. 

If you want that authentic Mexican experience, be sure to look for Las Tortillas brand corn tortillas at Co-op. Found near the bakery, these are hand made in Calgary and as fresh as fresh gets. Read our profile on the local owners behind Las Tortillas here.

taco meatStep 5: Grill some meat
Keep the kitchen from getting too hot and fire up the BBQ to grill some taco meat outdoors. 

To create a traditional carne asada style taco, buy skirt or flank steak, or if those aren’t available just pick up your favourite grilling cut. 

Season the meat with Mexican spices or a sachet of taco seasoning if you wish, and sear it to your preferred doneness. Do the same with some boneless chicken cuts like breasts or thighs.

When ready, let the meat rest a few minutes then slice the beef thinly and pull apart the chicken into bite sized pieces.

If you’ve got a pan for your grill you can pre-slice your meat and sear it in the pan also.  If you’re going this route, that also lets you choose ground beef or ground chicken if you prefer.

Step 6: Dig in
When the meat is ready, pass out plates and let your family or guests build their own tacos. 

A taco bar satisfies nearly any appetite since you can include a variety of meats, and even let vegetarians make veggie and cheese tacos too. Tacos grilled over a fire and served in the warm summer air are the perfect dinner that will help you take advantage of the weather. 

What’s your must-have taco topping?  What’s the most unusual taco filler you’ve ever tried? Tell us about it in comments.

- Erin 

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