Frank Mitchell

Making tacos from scratch

Tacos are friend friendly food, since they’re easy to make lots of, and everyone gets to doctor theirs up however they want. So if your best friend hates onions and tomatoes, he can skip those and just go for the meat and cheese variety. I like to do the tortillas and seasoning from scratch since those are the fun parts.


This tortilla recipe comes from Robert Rodriguez. It’s the one you can find on the Sin City DVD.



Mix the flour, salt, and baking powder. Cut in the butter. It should feel course when your done. You should be able to squeeze it together, have it hold its form briefly, and then fall apart. Mix in the water with your hands. You want a slightly sticky dough. Add more flour if it’s too wet. Add more water if it’s too dry.

Kneed the dough for a few minutes until the stickiness goes away. It should feel smooth and elastic. Divide it up into eight balls, arrange them on a backing sheet, and cover them with a damp towel. Ignore the dough for twenty minutes and go do something else, like making the taco meat.

Heat a cast iron skillet on medium heat. You want it just to the point you can smell it but not before it starts smoking. Roll out the balls of dough into thin circles. I usually make mine the same size as the bottom of my skillet. Toss a tortilla in the skillet. Wait a minute, let it bubble, then flip it over. It should have some brown spots on the bottom. If it doesn’t, your skillet’s not hot enough. Cook each tortilla for about a minute on each side. Stack them all on a plate and cover them with a damp towel so they don’t dry out.


Don’t substitute baking soda for the baking powder. If you do, your tortillas will come out all gritty.


This taco seasoning recipe is one I made up when evening when I couldn’t find any store bought seasoning in the cupboard. I ended up liking it more, possibly because it doesn’t have any salt.



Brown the ground beef in a cast iron skillet. Mix the cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, and red pepper in a small bowl. Dump it over the meat. Add the water, stir it all together, and let it simmer until most of the water’s cooked off.


Cumin is what gives taco seasoning its taco taste. Red pepper is what gives it color.

When it comes to cooking with cast iron there are two things to remember:

  1. Let your skillet get hot before you put anything any it. I leave mine on medium-low for ten minutes. It’ll make it so nothing sticks, not even eggs.
  2. Wash your skillet out with hot soapy water when you’re done. Then rub a little vegetable oil on the inside with a paper towel.