Tacos, tacos, tacos. It's no secret that tacos are my absolute favorite food. I've shared a few other "fancy" taco recipes here and while they are delicious, sometimes the classic is what you're craving. And by classic, I mean the standard American ground meat taco. This recipe can be made with any lean ground meat (wild game or domestic) includes a seasoning blend recipe and is the perfect weeknight meal!
How to make homemade taco seasoning:
If you're looking for an easy way to up your taco game, making your own seasoning blend is a great way to do it! It takes a small amount of effort to make homemade taco seasoning and the reward is so worth it. You can customize the spice mixture how you like it and there's no added fillers like starches or flour. My blend consists of chili powder, cumin, onion flakes, garlic powder (or fresh garlic added before cooking), oregano, paprika, salt, pepper, and cayenne. You can mix up a couple batches worth and store it like you would store any other spices like in these glass jars. Then it's ready to go whenever you're ready to make tacos!
How to keep wild game tacos moist:
Wild game is notorious for getting dried out but it doesn't have to be! Since wild game is generally pretty lean, you have to treat it differently than ground beef or pork. If you follow a few simple steps, you'll never have to eat dry tacos again!
- Mix the seasonings into the meat before cooking as if you're making a sausage. This helps the meat absorb the flavors and makes it so you don't have to incorporate the seasonings into the meat while it cooks. Instead, you can let it do it's thing without risking losing moisture from all the stirring.
- Cook the meat in animal fat like pork lard. This gives the meat a better mouthfeel and a little more flavor.
- Add in some moisture at the end of cooking. I like to use tomato paste and wild game or beef stock and let it simmer into the meat and create a sauce. It makes a delicious sauce and adds great moisture to the meat!
What to serve with wild game tacos:
Tacos are my favorite food because they have everything you need for a balanced meal and you don't really need sides! For classic ground tacos, I like to use classic toppings like cheddar cheese, shredded iceberg lettuce, diced tomatoes, diced onion, sliced olives, salsa, and sour cream. If you're feeling fancy, add in a little sliced avocado or guacamole. If you really can't live without a side, refried beans or a cabbage slaw would go great with these tacos. Or if you like to drink your sides, a margarita would be perfect. Whether you serve them on their own or with a side, you'll definitely want to work these into your weeknight menus!
Other taco recipes to try:
Classic Ground Wild Game Tacos Recipe
- 1 lb ground wild game (red meat: venison, pronghorn, elk, moose, etc.)
- 1 tbsp lard (only needed if your meat does not have added fat)
- 1 ½ tbsp chili powder
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tbsp dried onion flakes
- ½ tsp garlic powder (or 1 tsp fresh minced garlic)
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp paprika
- ¾ tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- ¾ cup stock (beef or wild game)
- 8 tortillas (soft shell taco size or crispy taco shells)
- ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 3 tbsp yellow onion, finely diced
- ½ cup sour cream
- ½ cup salsa
- ½ cup diced tomatoes
- 1 cup shredded iceberg lettuce
- ¼ cup sliced black olives
- Combine chili powder, cumin, onion flakes, garlic powder, oregano, paprika, salt, pepper, and cayenne in a small bowl. Add to ground meat and incorporate spices into meat, using your hands.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add lard to pan, let it melt, and swirl to coat the pan.
- Add seasoned meat to pan and spread meat out into a thin layer. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until bottom side is browned and crisp. Flip and cook an additional 3-5 minutes.
- Break up meat with a wooden spoon or ChopStir tool. Add in tomato paste and broth. Stir until well combined. Bring to a simmer and let liquid reduce for an additional 2-3 minutes or until liquid is no longer soupy. The mixture should be mostly meat with a little extra thickened sauce to keep it moist.
- Divide meat among tortillas. Top with desired toppings. Enjoy!
- Suggested toppings per taco: 1 tbsp shredded cheese, 1 tsp diced onion, 1 tbsp sour cream, 1 tbsp salsa, 1 tbsp diced tomatoes, 2 tbsp shredded lettuce, and ½ tbsp sliced black olives.