How to build the perfect taco

Whether it's a birria, steak, ground beef or fish taco recipe, this Chicago chef shared the basics.

Video Transcript

- Cinco de Mayo is almost here.

- Yeah, and to celebrate, Tall Boy Taco is offering up a taco bar kit and a margarita kit, as well, and we've got them here. You see them. It includes all the meat and toppings you need. It's a special offer just for May 4th and 5th.

- Executive Chef Kevin Marquardt joins us this morning. So Chef Kevin, nice to have you here.

CHEF KEVIN MARQUARDT: Yes, so we are here at Tall Boy Taco in Streeterville, and today we are talking about how to build the perfect taco. Now everything at Tall Boy Taco is really about fresh. So starting with our tortillas, in Chicago, we have a lot of great places that make great matsah. So we found a white matsah that we really like. We get it fresh ground every morning. It's seasoned, and then we hand press over 500 tortillas every single day.

Now if you're reheating tortillas at home, it's really important to warm them up really quickly on a skillet and then stack them up, wrap them in a warm towel. It helps steam them throughout, and then you can kind of bring back that freshness as if they were made that day again. So one of our biggest selling proteins is our skirt steak, carne asada. We like to marinate in a nice adobo marinade with some roasted dried chilies, citrus, to really help bring out the flavor of the meat.

- Chef, I'm putting some on right now.


- This is good. I'm trying to follow you. I'm following your lead.

CHEF KEVIN MARQUARDT: Perfect. So nice carne asada. And then we don't really want to complicate the flavor too much, so all of our tacos start with the simple topping of onion and cilantro. We like to use a fresh cut sweet onion, and then the fresh pops of cilantro just really add a lot of flavor to every bite.

- Stacy will never let me forget I once forgot cilantro live on TV. Forgot the name for that. It was bad.

- Yeah, you're like--

- I was like, and, uh, and this is, um, and this is-- she's like, cilantro.

- Cilantro, Mark!

- Hey, Chef Kevin, I have to give you extra bonus points for just doing the homemade tortillas thing. So you're talking about flour and corn? Did I get that right?

CHEF KEVIN MARQUARDT: Yes, so we make the corn in-house, and then from the same company that sell us the matzah, we buy their flour tortillas because we think they're amazing. So in our taco kits, you're going to get both corn and flour tortillas. And then I personally like to top off every taco with a little bit of everyone's favorite, which is guacamole.

- Oh yeah. Oh, yeah.

CHEF KEVIN MARQUARDT: Now in our taco kits, we built these so that you can create the perfect taco in your own home. So for Cinco de Mayo, we are offering our taco kits with our chimichurri chicken and our carne asada steak, and then you get a variety of everything else that we make in the restaurant to help build your perfect taco bar. We give guacamole, a little bit of roasted corn fundido, our roasted roja tomato salsa, also, and our roasted--

- Let me just say I've taste tested all of these because they're all right in front of me. They taste phenomenal. So Chef, thank you so much. We really appreciate your time this morning.


- All right, I'm going to dig in. We've got more on this on, how to order those kits, get everything you need for Cinco de Mayo, coming up right there online and we'll be right back after this break.