By Kipp Rixx
Urban legend states that Taco Tuesday was originated, and trademarked, by Taco John’s in 1982; the legend also states that in 1989, another restaurant used the trademarked name and was sued by Taco John’s, and Taco John’s received so much bad press that the trademark is no longer enforced.
My introduction to Taco Tuesday came from my friend Robert Vance, deputy chief (ret.), El Paso Fire Department. Shift change was at noon, so a group of firefighters going off duty on Tuesdays would all gather at the Hacienda Restaurant to swap stories, drink a brew, and chow down on fresh-made tacos that were 50 cents each.
It’s hard to go anyplace nowadays and not see and ad at some sort of Mexican food restaurant offering Taco Tuesdays. It’s usually a win/win situation: The customers get quality meals and the restaurant/bar draws in extra customers on typically the slowest day of the week in food establishments. In this new series, each month I will offer you an easy-to-prepare recipe. And, hopefully, you can establish a Taco Tuesday at your station.
“Anytime one can gather three or more people around a table at the end of the day with a plate full of fresh tacos, it can’t be a bad day”! Taco Tuesday my friend.
A smart man
These tacos are easy to prepare, and the meat can be cooked well in advance and will hold in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or will freeze for 4-6 months. By slow cooking the pork in the red chile sauce, it develops a unique flavor and becomes very tender. I have also used chicken thighs for this same recipe for those who don’t like pork.
1 pound boneless country style pork ribs
2 cups red enchilada sauce
1 cup chicken stock
4 tablespoons red chile powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon salt
1 sweet onion rough chopped
12 corn tortillas or premade taco shells
1 tomato fine diced
1 cup grated cheese
2 large avocados
This portion of the preparation can be done well in advance and will keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 days or freeze for several months.
1. Season pork ribs with salt and pepper to taste.
2. Add 2 tablespoons of oil to a frying pan and heat on medium high.
3. Dice pork ribs into two-inch chunks and add to the pan, browning on all sides.
4. Add the onion and continue to cook until onion is softened.
5. Lower the heat and add the enchilada sauce and the stock.
6. Allow pork to simmer for 10 minutes covered.
7. Stir in the chile powder and cumin, cover, and continue to cook for 20-30 minutes or until the pork flakes apart easily. Turn off the heat and allow pork to rest in the sauce.
8. In another small fry pan, add enough oil to make up 1-2 inches in depth, heat over medium-high to high heat.
9. Fry the tortillas, folding in half until as crispy as you like them; personally I like a soft fried tortilla.
10. Lightly sprinkle each shell with seasoned salt as you pull them from the oil. (If desired, you can use those packages of prepared taco shells.)
11. Fine dice the tomato; slice the avocado, fine dicing some to make a relish to place inside the taco. Use the remaining sliced avocado as garnish.
Eat and Enjoy!
Firefighter and Fire House chef Kipp Rix has been in the fire service for 21 years working as both a volunteer with San Juan County, NM, and a career firefighter with Farmington Fire, NM. Kipp’s journey into the world of cooking started at an early age inspired by Graham Kerr (the Galloping Gourmet) and Julia Child. Currently Kipp’s style of cooking specializes in outdoor grilling and smoked meats with a flair for southwest flavors. Kipp has published two Fire House cookbooks, “Fire House Favorites” and “14 Days on Rt. 66,” available through his Web site (fhpllc.net). In 2012, Kipp’s chili “Animas River Red” was awarded the title of “Best Fire Fighter Chili” in the state of New Mexico, having taken first place at the Hook N Ladder Chili Cook Off sponsored by the Ruidoso Fire Department. Kipp is also an adjunct instructor with San Juan College in the fire science department and conducts specialized fire training. In 2011, Kipp became a contributing writer for Fire Engineering and Fire Life, writing a monthly cooking article, and in 2012 launched his premier episode of the Fire House Cuisine Cooking Show on the Fire Life Web site. In 2015, Kipp became a contributing writer with Inspire Health Magazine, where he shares his Fire House-inspired recipes “Healthy Food with an Attitude.”