Oh yes, it's taco night, oh what a night.

a little bit of taco night

And The Taco Rule is in full effect.


Do you not know The Taco Rule? You should. We often invoke it around these parts, even when no tacos are involved. The Taco Rule says that when tacos are eaten for dinner, you have to keep eating until all the taco meat is gone. Brian is the originator of the rule, which seems sensible enough, so we follow it.

Usually, the rule applies to the ground beef/Old El Paso variety of taco meat – which is full of delicious nostalgia – but tonight we applied it to some cumin, lime and garlic marinated skirt steak with avocado and fresh pico de gallo.

Like you need a rule to convince you to keep eating that.

Above: jalapeƱos growing in my garden, which I picked tonight for the pico, making me feel decidedly Suzy Homemaker-esque.


Above: Looks like dog puke.

It’s not dog puke, I swear. It’s skirt steak in the cumin-lime-garlic paste I threw together to flavor the meat. I would tell you more about it, but that’s pretty much all that’s in it, so it would be useless padding. Because you know how I’m a stickler for staying on-topic.

Okay, there’s some salt in it too. Which was kind of a wild card, because I ran out of kosher salt and had to use regular table salt. I’m so used to measuring kosher salt with my fingers that I no longer have any concept of table salt, which is saltier than kosher, so there was a strong chance that I could have accidentally salt-preserved my beef.

Look, now you’ve made me ramble.

love applespre-picopre-picopico!

While the beef sat in its potentially desiccating salt bath, I chopped the veggies for the pico. Above, photos of pico in-process with wildly varying levels of white balance despite being taken in the same location with the same camera on the same settings.

Damn fluctuating natural light. Thou art so lovely, but so fickle.

Fresh pico stays in my fridge pretty much all summer. If I manage not to scarf it all down with a bag of tortilla chips, it’s great with almost any grilled meat. Unfortunately, I rarely manage to avoid housing that shit.


Above is an avocado. Did you think I could make it through an entire post without using the macro lens? Foolish grasshopper.


Brian got home too late to grill – yes, there is such a thing, although those who know Brian may doubt it – so I seared off the meat in a smoking hot cast iron skillet. A few minutes on each side created a nice crust while keeping the inside perfectly medium rare. I let it rest for a few minutes before slicing carefully across the grain.

This might have been a tight-ass meal except that I stopped at Citarella, the fancy-pants grocery store, to pick up the food. And Citarella, of course, only had prime skirt steak, so these actually ended up being the most expensive tacos I’ve ever had.

taco night

I piled meat and veg into a warm tortilla and got started applying The Rule.

For a taco, this is pretty refreshing. The bite of the onion, heat of the fresh chile, the acid of the tomatoes and the brightness of the lime keep things light. Aside from all the chopping for the pico, it’s quick to throw together; perfect for a warm summer night, especially since you’re only in front of the stove for a few minutes.

As was required, we saw The Taco Rule through to its inevitable conclusion.

Cumin and Lime Crusted Skirt Steak
1 lb. skirt steak
3 limes
1 tbsp. olive oil
5 cloves of garlic
1 tsp. chile powder
4 tbsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. veg oil

Cut the steak into 4-inch lengths. Put the meat in a shallow dish.

Juice the limes. Put the garlic through a press (or grate with a microplane) into the lime juice; whisk in the chile powder, cumin, olive oil and salt.

Pour the lime mixture over the steak and toss to coat. Let the steak sit in the marinade at room temperature for 1 hour.

Heat a heavy skillet/cast iron pan over high heat; add the veg oil. When the oil is just smoking, add the steak. Cook for 3-5 minutes on each side; more time if you like things more well done, less if you like it rare.

Remove the meat from the pan and let rest for at least 5 minutes. Slice across the grain into thin slices.

14 thoughts on “Oh yes, it's taco night, oh what a night.

  1. This is fast food, in my house. And we, too, are stringent adherents to the Taco Rule; I just never knew it had a name before.

    Have you made Rick Bayless’s Chicken Salad Tacos (from Mexico: One Plate at a Time)? My normally chicken-phobic husband even scarfs them down. AND they are quick and cheap–and they use up all the leftover bits of cilantro, chicken, avocado, veg that you may have had from a previous meal.

  2. “prime” skirt steak? is there such a thing? i thought that skirt steak was way down on the totem pole of meats, so far that prime wasn’t even within the lexicon of adjectives for that cut.

    it does look lovely though.

  3. My Taco Rule is that no cheese will ever be put out on the table as a topping for tacos. Lime wedges? Yes. Radish slices? Check. Diced onion and cilantro? You bet. But no cheese. It doesn’t go on tacos.

  4. We don’t call it The Taco Rule, we call it Feeding My Son. Despite the avocade, that taco look awesome.

  5. Sweet Mary, mother of God, those look amazing. I’m going to make them right after I return from my honeymoon, thus cementing my marriage :)

  6. Wow! I think I’ve been craving tacos. I just didn’t know it until I read your post. I will be having tacos this week, and I will follow the taco rule. My pico will look like a hot mess next to yours though. I do not have the patience for making sure my chopped tomatoes, chiles, and onion are all uniform in size and shape.

  7. YES YES! The same dog puke covered cow slab sits in my refrig waiting to be grilled tonight. I feel like a fool for striving for ‘leftovers’ for all these years. May the taco rule rein long in all your houses! Viva el taco!

  8. If I follow the taco rule, there will be no leftovers the next day, which means I have to cook again. When I make tacos I must show restraint.

    Of course if I were eating these, I’d say, “screw restraint” even if it meant no more tacos to look forward to the next day.

  9. lizz, i haven’t but i will now. i love the bayless.

    bad dog, whatever you say!

    naomi, that’s what i thought, too – a contradiction in terms. but apparently not, and i must say that it was exceptionally tender steak.

    cynic, it’s much more civilized to call it the taco rule.

    geeking, to be fair, cheese does go on old el paso-style tacos, if they even have the right to be called tacos. but otherwise i totally agree with you.

    larikatz, heh.

    karen, well played. and have a great honeymoon!

    tanis, the picturesque pico was a happy accident, i assure you. i like my tomatoes chopped pretty small, but otherwise i jsut chop away.

    jd, excellent! i wish we’d been able to do these on the grill. maybe this weekend. vive le taco!

    rachel, the taco rule abides. you don’t get to choose whether or not to follow it, it just is.

    burkie, seriously.

  10. Michelle, do you know about Bayless’s Twitter challenge? I’ll bet you’d kick my ass! Go to rickbayless.com. Every Monday he tweets a 140-character recipe; make it and photograph it by Saturday. He picks 10 winners/week to send an autographed copy of his new cookbook. Second week ended today; 2 more to go.

  11. I’d just finished eating when I began reading this posting, and then I got ravenous. The pretty damned artful food photography didn’t hurt. I’m thinking of becoming a carnivore again.

    Thanks for the kind words about my blog.

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