Prep 24 hrs
Cook 15 mins
My reverse-engineered recipe for Jack in the Box Beef Tacos.
- 1 lb ground beef
- 3 cups cold water
- 1 cup ground texturized soy protein (grind in food processor)
- 2 tablespoons defatted soy grits (or soy flour)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 4 teaspoons dried onion flakes
- 1 tablespoon plain chili powder
- 1 tablespoon masa corn flour
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon Accent seasoning
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 3⁄4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1⁄2 teaspoon sugar
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 dash ground black pepper
- 1 dash cayenne pepper
- 1 dash citric acid (natural flavor enhancer)
TACO SHELL (PER SERVING)
- 1 stone-ground corn tortilla
- pure canola oil
REMAINING TACO FILLING (PER SERVING)
- 1 teaspoon taco sauce (Jack in the Box Taco Sauce (Copycat))
- 1⁄2 slice American cheese, divided diagonally
- 2 tablespoons shredded iceberg lettuce
- PLEASE NOTE: THESE ARE MAKE-AHEAD TACOS. YOU MUST FILL THEN FREEZE TACOS BEFORE FRYING FOR AUTHENTIC RESULTS. PREPARE MY "COPYCAT JACK IN THE BOX TACO SAUCE" RECIPE (RECIPE #423994) BEFORE ASSEMBLING DEEP-FRIED TACOS.
- POUR 3 cups cold water into a medium bowl; ADD the remaining SEASONING MIX ingredients (1 cup texturized soy protein, 2 tablespoons defatted soy grits (or soy flour), 2 tablespoons tomato paste, 4 teaspoons dried onion flakes, 1 tablespoon plain chili powder, 1 tablespoon masa corn flour, 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon Accent seasoning, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 3/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 dash ground black pepper, 1 dash cayenne pepper, 1 dash citric acid); WHISK mixture well until dry ingredients are thoroughly dissolved; SET aside.
- BROWN the ground TACO BEEF in a skillet over medium-high heat while stirring without overcooking (drain ground beef if necessary); POUR the blended SEASONING MIX into the 1 lb browned TACO BEEF in skillet; RAISE heat to high and BOIL mixture for one minute, stirring; REDUCE heat to medium and COOK mixture, stirring occasionally, until very little liquid remains and ground beef is moist yet not soggy.
- COVER beef mixture and reduce heat to low; SIMMER for 5-7 minutes to steam and tenderize meat, and for flavors to infuse fully (ADD more water to refresh consistency if needed); TRANSFER filling to a food processor and process until fairly fine in texture: RETURN to skillet on lowest heat to keep warm.
- DIVIDE enough needed American cheese slices diagonally; SHRED enough needed iceberg lettuce; HEAT 1/4 teaspoon vegetable oil in a skillet over low heat; TURN corn tortillas one at a time in a skillet on both sides until moistened and pliable (this helps tortillas from tearing); STACK prepared tortillas between paper towels to blot.
- SPOON about 1 tablespoon of warm beef filling mixture into each tortilla; FOLD tortilla in half so bottom is curled; PRESS bottom filled half carefully without tearing tortilla using a taco press or makeshift mold ); LEAVE taco tops open by about 1 inch; CAREFULLY arrange filled, formed tacos into Ziploc bags without crowding or touching; ARRANGE sealed tacos in a resealable plastic container, to protect them from breakage; FREEZE overnight or until ready to deep-fry.
- SLOWLY preheat deep-fryer with manufacturer's recommended amount of oil to 365°F .
- FRY tacos one at a time for 55 - 65 seconds at 365 °F while supporting each taco with a taco press or tongs; PLACE cooked tacos on absorbent paper to drain slightly (I recommend one person frying and one person assembling for better efficiency and fresh, hot tacos!).
- TO ASSEMBLE TACOS: OPEN each fried taco carefully; POUR 1 teaspoon prepared Jack in the Box Copycat Taco Sauce (Recipe #423994); PLACE one cut American cheese triangle into one side; GARNISH with 2 tablespoons shredded iceberg lettuce.
- ENJOY your Jack in the Box Tacos and say, "EAT YOUR HEART OUT, JACK!".
Amazing!!!!! I've gone over to the Jack in the Box site for all the ingredient list and compared side by side to this recipe, and you nailed it!!! This really does taste like the original or the closest thing to it. Those that purport to be copycat tacos do not have the vegetable protein and soy grits included. I made this with regular grits since it's hard to find soy grits and it came out just as good. Also many add beans as already pointed out by another reviewer, but I suspect beans are added to make the beef texture smoother without adding vegetable protein - so in an effect it is taking the place of vegetable protein which beans are since vegetable protein is normally made with soy beans. Great taste too - thank you so much for posting this. I've always liked Jack in the Box tacos - never understood it, but now I do.
Finally found the Textured Soy Protein at a health food store!! These are GREAT! I did hve a bit of a problem with my tortilla shells cracking after putting in the filling. I have a certain brand I buy in the NW Florida area after much testing and making my own)but I heat them in a hot skillet on both sides and put warm, not hot filling in them. Lay on cookie sheet, then fill another and lay halfway on top of the first, kind of sealing the top. Have done a lot of test tacos, all were good, but now have it down pat. I do put my mix in a blender also to give it the Jack-in-the-Box texture. You also must make the sauce or hoard up on the real stuff when you go home and refrigerate.
Thank you for all your help Majic Spice
PS Do you have a kick --- BBQ Rib recipe?
This is an excellent recipe.
I have been in search of a good copycat Jack In The Box recipe for years and the most widely cast and common versions call for beans, which is an immediate tip-off that the authors did not do their homework. That is not the case with "Magic Spice". Clearly there was a lot of considerate research and hard trial and error that led to this great recipe.
I used Red Mill dehydrated Textured Vegetable Protein, which left the recipe with a very slight odd taste. Next time I will probably try something different like Gimme Lean Textured Soy, or something like that.
I also found the texture to be a little chunky relative to the almost paste-like mixture experienced with Jack In The Box Tacos, so I did use a blender to turn the mixture into more of a paste.
Highly recommended, I will make again and again!
Thank you Magic Spice.