Tacos Tlaquepaque Style are very popular in the city of Monterrey, in the northern state of Nuevo Leon. These tacos are made using yellow corn tortillas filled with stewed beef, made using the cow’s head (barbacoa de cabeza), and then covered with a brownish salsa made of tomatillos and peppers. In case you’re wondering, the sauce is not that spicy. I personally think that whoever invented these tacos was probably craving enchiladas, for having covered the tacos with the salsa. It’s a great combination, once you try one, you can stop eating them. They are absolutely delicious! For this recipe, we are using beef tongue.
Let me tell you about the name of these tacos: “Tlaquepaque”. There is a town in the state of Jalisco named “Tlaquepaque”. Tlaquepaque, located close to Guadalajara, is famous for its blown glass and pottery, and the town receives thousands of national and international tourists every month that are eager to shop the distinct art wares they have to offer. But guess what! They don’t have these tacos called “Tacos Tlaquepaque”! I found that out the hard way: While living in Monterrey, NL, we decided to visit Guadalajara, and since Tlaquepaque is just a short drive away, we visited Tlaquepaque, and I asked several of the locals where I could find Tlaquepaque style tacos, and no one knew what I was talking about. There I was, describing the tacos covered with the salsa, and only receiving funny looks in return. These tacos don’t exist in Tlaquepaque. So, why are they called Tacos Tlaquepaque? It’s still a mystery, and all I know is that they are very popular in the north of Mexico.
- Remove meat from package and rinse well, pat dry with paper towels. Place in your crockpot or a large stockpot. Cover with water. Add the onion, garlic, bay leaves, marjoram, and thyme. Cook for eight hours in your crock pot on the low setting. If you prefer to cook using the stove top method, cook for about 2 ½ to 3 hours until the meat is tender and can be easily shredded. Once the meat is cooked, shred and set aside 6 cups of meat to make the tacos. Refrigerate the leftover meat for other uses, see note above. (Please check the ingredients list below)
- For the sauce: Remove the husk from the tomatillos and rinse. Place in a medium-size saucepan, and cover with water. Slightly roast guajillos and arbol peppers in a skillet over medium heat. Roast them separately, since arbol peppers roast faster and tend to burn quickly. The roasting time is done in a matter of seconds. Place the roasted peppers in the saucepan with the tomatillos and the garlic. Cook over a medium-high heat for about 15 minutes until tomatillos are cooked and peppers are soft.
- Place tomatillos, peppers, and garlic in your blender with ½ cup of the cooking water. Process until you have a smooth sauce. Pour in a bowl, and stir in one teaspoon of instant coffee. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- To make the tacos, heat half of the vegetable oil in a large frying pan. Quickly warm up the tortillas on both sides. Cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. Add the rest of the vegetable oil as needed to warm the tortillas. This step will help to prevent the tortillas from breaking.
- To assemble the tacos, fill each tortilla with some of the already shredded meat, fold, and place on a plate. If using small tortillas, make 4 tacos per person or 3 tacos when using standard size tortillas. Cover the tacos with the sauce using a ladle. Garnish with cilantro and onion, and serve with lime wedges. Enjoy!