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A beef taco
Photograph: Jess Hand

Hype dish: Sonora Taquería’s succulent, spicy, beefy barbacoa taco

Co-founders Sam Napier and Michelle Salazar talk us through their mouth-watering street-food dish

Chiara Wilkinson
Written by
Chiara Wilkinson

Anyone who’s eaten one of Sonora Taquería’s barbacoa tacos will know that napkins are essential. ‘It’s very messy, and [the juice] runs down your arm as you pick it up,’ says co-founder Sam Napier. The takeaway taco specialist in Netil Market is named after the northern state of Sonora in Mexico, where co-founder Michelle Salazar de la Rocha was brought up. ‘I grew up eating barbacoa tacos,’ she says. ‘And they’re the first thing we eat when we go back home.’ The pair explain what goes into theirs.

The tortilla

‘We make flour tortillas, which are typical of north Mexico. They have a different texture to corn tacos: thin and flaky, like a roti. And they’re stronger, so you can load them up.’

The cheese

‘We throw grated cheddar and mozzarella on to the griddle before the tortilla. The cheese goes crispy on one side and melted on the other. It brings [the taste] to another level.’

The beef

‘We slow-cook chuck steak for about ten hours, until it falls apart, in a rich sauce made with dehydrated chillies, spices, onion and garlic. It’s strong, tangy and juicy.’

The secret ingredient

‘The traditional way of cooking the beef is to throw lager in for hydration. We use Pacifico, which makes [the meat] rich and flavourful.’

The extras

‘The onion, lime and cilantro provide freshness. The red salsa gives an extra punch. Sometimes the chillies we get are a bit aggressive and we’re like: “I’m really sorry.”’

Netil Market. £3, or £3.50 with cheese crust.

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