An Illustrated Guide to San Antonio’s Hottest Taco Styles

Plentiful in San Antonio, tacos come in many varieties, from Michoacan-style carnitas tacos to her hometown’s famous tacos to barbacoa tacos that pair perfectly with a big red soda. It helps to wrap just about anything in a tortilla, cover it with sauce, and call it a taco.

There is a taco available to everyone in this city, with a diverse landscape of sources, including food trucks, traditional taco shops, cake shops, Tex-Mex restaurants, and more. Here’s a quick overview of San Antonio’s taco offerings and some of the best places to find them.

Breakfast taco

what do you know: Breakfast tacos are San Antonio’s pride and joy, which is why you’ll find them on nearly every morning menu. A breakfast dish wrapped in tortillas, tacos consist of any combination of beans, eggs, chorizo, potatoes, bacon, and cheese, among tons of other fillings. Other breakfast tacos include carne guisada, heavy gravy beef taco, and barbacoa, which are served exclusively on weekends.

where can I find him: Taco Patties House (2422 South Hackberryand the original donut shop3307 Fredericksburg Road) are two boisterous tacarias in the morning for good reason. But again, these are some of the most popular tacos in town, and most places serve it up well.

Carnitas

what do you know: Originating from Michoacan, a state in western Mexico, carnitas is essentially minced pork, either on the shoulder or butt, that has been braised and slow-cooked in fat until tender. Juicy pieces are placed on corn tortillas, sprinkled with onions and cilantro, and a taco is born. Salsa verde is one of the favorite local dishes of carnitas tacos, as is sauerkraut.

where can I find him: carnitas longa (1107 Roosevelt StreetCarnitas Don Raul2202 Broadway) both garnered national attention for their carnitas recipes.

Watercolor for a puffed taco with tomato and lettuce.

puffy taco

what do you know: The exact origin of the puffed taco turns out to be depending on who you ask, but San Antonio is where the fried tortilla crust took off thanks to the Lopez brothers, who all founded restaurants that have been in business for decades. What makes puffy tacos so special is that corn tortillas swell when fried in oil to an airy treat before filling them with meat, lettuce, tomatoes, and shredded cheese. It has become such an iconic staple in San Antonio culture that it’s become a born commodity and even a popular sports mascot.

where can I find him: Henry’s Puffy Taco (6030 Bandera Road) and Ray’s Drive-Inn (822 SW 19 . Street). This list. Nowhere else offers their best attempts at what two Lopez brothers have already mastered.

Barbacoa

what do you know: A better duo name than Barbacoa and Big Red Soda tacos. In San Antonio, you can’t, especially on a Sunday morning when a hangover cure is necessary.

Traditionally, barbacoa is made by burying a cow’s head underground in a pit lined with hot coals or rocks until the cheek meat is cooked to perfection, while today in Texas, more modern methods of steaming are usually used to get the meat tender and tender.

where can I find him: Some of the city’s most famous barbacoa tacos can be found at Tommy’s Restaurant, which, fortunately for eaters, has multiple locations throughout the city.

Watercolor of beef trombo with pineapple on top.

Taco Al Pastor

what do you know: Taco al-qas is a derivative of shawarma, which was brought to Mexico by Lebanese immigrants in the early 20th century. Tacos consist of sliced ​​pork from a rotating spit, also known as trombo, which is often served as mini tacos—small corn tortillas laid flat on a plate and served with onions, cilantro, and lime.

where can I find him: Tacos al pastor is a popular dish for taco trucks like Tacos y Burritos Metro Basilica 2 (11070 Shenfield Road), but you can also find them at taco restaurants, such as Taquitos West Avenue (2818 West Avenue), which serves the famous pastor from Thursday to Sunday.

Karen Asada

what do you know: Another favorite option for mini tacos, carne asada is a beef steak, usually on the side or skirt, which is marinated with ingredients like lime, cilantro, and chile powder. The steak is then grilled and sliced ​​to serve in tacos topped with grilled onions, cilantro, and of course some hot sauce.

where can I find him: One of the most popular taco options, you can find carne asada everywhere – but for Good Carne Asada, check out the Taqueria Datapoint (1702 West Gramercy Placeand Tacos El Regio (2726 North St. Mary’s Street).

Watercolor painting of Taco Beria on a red and white checkered serving tray.

Beria

what do you know: Birria has gained a lot of popularity in San Antonio in the past couple of years, with more restaurants popping up around the concept. The dish, made with beef or goat, hails from the Mexican state of Jalisco, where it was originally served as a soup, but in San Antonio, anything can be turned into a taco with the right tortilla.

where can I find him: El Remedio food cart (2924 Culebra Road) excels at birria taco offerings, while some of the smaller Jalisco-oriented tacos tend to have a more traditional version of the soup.

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