Mexican Street Food -- Beef on a Stick (or Not)

Ever watch those cooking shows where they travel the world and sample the local cuisine?  It seems like no matter where they go-- be it Asia, Africa, or South America-- there's always some street vendor cooking up tasty looking meat on some sort of stick, grilled on a flat top or over an open flame.  Sometimes it's chunks, but more often it's ground and liberally seasoned, so that they can make use of the tougher cuts of meat and scraps.

Here's my version, inspired by the streets of Mexico.  Quick, easy and tasty, this is great on it's own or wrapped in fresh tortillas.  I threw into it what I happened to have on hand, but this is a very flexible recipe and you can easily make it your own.  Don't have an ingredient or want to use something else-- no problem.  As long as there's meat and generous seasoning, it should be great, though I will say I think the sour cream is a must since it keeps the meat tender and moist.


1.5 lbs ground beef (I used 85%)
1/2  cup sour cream
1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
generous pinch of oregeno
1/4 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp cumin
Dash of cayenne
1 minced clove of garlic
the juice of 1/2 a lemon
salt and pepper (according to your tastes, but on the liberal side)

a few tbs. oil for cooking in if using a pan (optional)


1) If you are planning on grilling these and using bamboo skewers, then soak the skewers in water for at least 20 min.  However, the skewers are not absolutely necessary, and if you decide to cook these in a pan, the skewers will only get in the way.  To skewer or not-- the choice is yours.

2)  In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients until incorporated (except for the oil used in the pan).  Taking a small handful of meat, roll it into the size of a small sausage (about 3-4 in. long and an inch wide).  Continue until all the meat has been rolled into lengths.  If using the skewers, squeeze the meat around the skewer.

3)  If you are planning on cooking these in a pan, heat the oil in a nonstick pan over med. high to high heat.  If cooking on a grill, preheat to med-high.  Cook the meat lengths on one side, and then once browned, turn and brown the other side.  Make sure the meat is thoroughly cooked before removing from the heat.

4) Serve either in a tortilla or on its own, with a side of fresh salsa, guacamole, and queso. [The picture here includes a mango salsa I made after roasting some anaheim peppers and a bit of fresh guacamole.]


This can easily be made with any type of meat, and you could also add some fresh cilantro or mint to give it a fresh taste.  Also, the spices can easily be changed to a different flavor profile and region (cumin, garlic and mint for Middle Eastern; curry, ginger, garlic, turmeric and garam masala for Indian, etc.)

Quick and very easy!  Hope you enjoy.


  1. This looks and sounds awesome! I like the street tacos. Yum!

  2. Thanks Lisa!! Very easy to throw together when time is tight. Mmm... street tacos...

  3. Yum. Street tacos are great. Or little restaurants squeezed between buildings with the dirt floors and worn glass Pepsi bottles. Ahhh... yummy.

    It looks very pleasing, Calista. I'll have to give it a whirl.

  4. Let me know how it turns out! I'd love to get to Mexico. One of these days. : )

  5. I know my son is going to love these! Great recipe :)

  6. Yay, Jemi! It's always so hard to get kids to eat new things. I hope he enjoys them. : )

  7. Oh this looks yummy! Definitely going to try it. Street food is a wonderful thing.

  8. Just to let you know, I made these last night and they were delicious and so easy. We didn't leave a crumb. Thank you. I'll make these again.


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