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As some of the first to do discada commercially, Anthony Pratto and Xose Velasco have made it their mission to help introduce more people to this unique style of tacos.
Outside of Northern Mexico where Velasco’s father is from, discada is virtually unheard of. The cooking method originated with vaqueros who had to adapt to cook with the one tool they had lying around: tractor plows. They’d remove the thick metal discs from these plows and heat them up over a campfire, cooking a mixture of meats and vegetables in them.
Though discada recipes vary wildly from family to family, there are a few of the basic principles of crafting this rich and savory dish:
The cooking vessel itself matters more than the ingredients: Discada’s unique flavor comes primarily from how it’s cooked. Traditionally, discada is cooked in a “disco” around 20-24 inches wide, made from thick steel. The disco is centered and suspended over an open flame or campfire. This allows the middle of the disco to remain hot and perfect for cooking while creating a cooler place along the edges to keep food warm without overcooking it.
It’s all about the variety: Discada’s rich flavor and unique texture comes from combining a variety of types and cuts of meat into one dish. Traditional meats include beef (especially flank cut), bacon, ham and chorizo. The meats are seasoned and marinated according to the taquero’s preference, usually including salt, pepper, lime juice and garlic. Vegetables like onion, bell peppers, jalapenos and tomatoes are also used to add more color and flavor.
Patience is key: From cutting the ingredients to marinating the meats, preparing a discada can take hours. And that’s before you even start cooking. Each ingredient is added one at a time, allowing it to cook and simmer in its own juices for maximum flavor.
One Mexican tradition deserves another
For an extra authentic touch, pair discada with a traditional Mexican sipping tequila, like Camarena Añejo.