How Do Mexican Restaurants Get Their Ground Beef So Fine?

Have you ever wondered how Mexican restaurants like Taco Bell or Chipotle achieve that ultra fine, almost paste-like consistency with their ground beef? The texture is smooth and uniform, never chunky or clumped. So what’s their secret to getting ground beef so perfectly fine?

While some restaurants may use special equipment, the technique itself is actually quite simple and can easily be replicated at home. Read on to learn the methods Mexican restaurants use to get incredibly fine ground beef.

Start with the Right Cut

The starting point for finely ground beef is using the right cut of meat. Chuck beef is ideal because it has marbling that keeps the texture moist but also allows the meat to crumble into tiny pieces.

Most restaurants use beef chuck shoulder clods trimmed of fat and sinew. Selecting a good quality chuck roast from your grocery store will give similar results.

Grind It Yourself

Restaurants grind their own beef from large cuts rather than using pre-ground beef. This allows them to control the texture.

You can do the same by purchasing beef chunks and using a meat grinder at home. Grind the meat using the finest die possible. Some models even have a paste die to grind meat into an ultra fine mince.

If you don’t have a meat grinder, ask your local butcher to freshly grind beef twice for you. processed beef never gets as fine as meat ground fresh.

Cook Low and Slow

Here’s where restaurants really achieve that fine, velvety texture in their ground beef:

  • Brown the beef over medium heat, breaking it up thoroughly as it cooks.

  • Add enough water to just cover the meat and simmer over low heat for 1-2 hours.

  • Stir frequently, continuing to break up any clumps.

Cooking the beef low and slow in liquid keeps the meat moist. This prevents the proteins from binding together into chunks. Slow cooking also allows fat to render out while keeping the texture uniform.

Strain Out Fat

After simmering for 1-2 hours, the ground beef will be tender, moist, and incredibly fine.

Restaurants will then drain the meat in a colander, pressing out any excess fat. This leaves just the ultra fine ground beef.

Now the meat is ready to be seasoned and portioned out for tacos, burritos, nachos, and more.

Add Starch for Insurance

Some restaurants take an extra step to guarantee a smooth, fine texture.

After cooking and draining the beef, they mix in a small amount of masa harina (corn flour). This adds a little thickness while binding any remaining fat or juices to keep the consistency smooth.

About 1 tablespoon per pound of cooked ground beef is sufficient.

Tools for Finely Ground Beef

You don’t need any fancy equipment to grind beef super fine at home. Here are the basic tools:

  • Meat grinder – Grind fresh beef twice using the finest die.

  • Deep pot – Choose a heavy bottomed pot to simmer the meat.

  • Wooden spoon – Break up any clumps while simmering.

  • Colander – Drain cooked beef to remove fat.

  • Masher – Optional for pressing out fat if not using a colander.

With basic kitchen tools and the right technique, you can easily replicate restaurants’ finely ground beef.

Tips for Ultra Fine Ground Beef

  • Simmer for 1-2 hours for fall-apart tender ground beef.

  • Stir and break up meat frequently as it cooks.

  • Add corn flour after cooking if needed to bind fat and juices.

  • Portion cooked beef into freezer bags for quick weeknight meals.

  • Cook fresh each time for best results. Reheated beef may clump slightly.

  • Add sauce or seasoning after cooking to avoid breaking up the fine texture.

Frequently Asked Questions

What cut of beef works best for fine texture?

Chuck roast or shoulder clod are ideal cuts to use. Always choose good quality beef with decent marbling.

Is pre-ground beef ever as fine as freshly ground?

Pre-ground beef from the grocery store will never get quite as fine as meat freshly ground at home.

What liquid is best to cook the beef in?

Water works well for its neutral flavor. Some recipes call for beef broth. Tomatoes or sauce can make the texture chunky.

How long should you simmer the beef?

A good rule of thumb is 1-2 hours for incredibly tender, fine beef. Stir and break up meat frequently.

Can you make fine ground beef in an Instant Pot?

Yes, pressure cooking can help break down beef into a smooth texture. Cook on high pressure for 30-40 minutes.

Enjoy Restaurant-Quality Ground Beef at Home

With a few simple tricks, you can easily achieve fine, smooth ground beef like your favorite Mexican restaurant. Low, slow cooking while breaking up the meat is key. Start with fresh chuck roast, grind it twice, and simmer in water for 1-2 hours. Drain well and portion for tacos, burritos, nachos, and more!

Tip to get Fine Ground Beef instead of Chunky


How do you get ground beef really fine?

I would recommend adding some chicken broth or water right when you add the meat and use a potato masher and then just cook out the liquid. If you sear the meat as you normally would I don’t think you’ll be able to get a really fine consistency. This, exactly.

Why is Mexican restaurant ground beef so fine?

“No browned or fried ground beef here. This is cooked in water. YES, in water. Resulting in that nicely steamed, soft texture you get in most Mexican restaurants.”

How to get finely ground beef for tacos?

Boiling ground beef is the best way to cook it so that it comes out in small, fine crumbles. Trust me, this is the secret to all those amazing tacos and pasta sauces at your favorite restaurant!

How does Taco Bell get their beef so fine?

Taco Bell meat has a small amount of corn masa stirred in while cooking. Give it an extra grind through a meat grinder mixed with some lard, then cook it low and slow for several hours in a Crock Pot with seasoning.

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