Do you have the courage to try these tripas tacos? Local spots that offer offal – Food

Las Trancas (Photos by Evan Rodriguez)

Giblets are the cuts of the people – or once were, anyway. Scraps, cheeks, sweetbreads, tongue, and more can now be found on high-end restaurant menus, but not so much tripas. The marriage of unique textures with a subtle, earthy richness makes tripas somewhat inaccessible to the casual eater, but sought after by blue-collar workers and foodies.

Often overlooked but delicate when treated with love and care, tripas are the small intestines of the cow, cut up, carefully washed, boiled with aromatics and spices, then cooked in a type of fat, like a confit. You’ll usually find them in soft but sturdy corn tortillas. The tripa taco is perfect in its versatility: excellent on a warm sunny fall day, a sweltering summer day, or a cold winter night.

The marriage of unique textures with a subtle, earthy richness makes tripas somewhat inaccessible to the casual eater, but sought after by blue-collar workers and foodies.

Tripas are sometimes served “soft”, basically just after boiling; flambéed on a flat top or in a disco (metal disc), coaxing crispy edges, adding just a touch of texture, or served medium-crisp; and extra crispy. Medium-crispy, my favorite method, is the hardest to pull off, nice crispy edges with some texture all over, caramelizing some of the fat, but with a creamy, almost firm interior. It’s truly transcendent when done correctly. Then there’s extra crispy, with perfectly crisp edges and exterior; when removed just before the tripa becomes hard and rubbery, it is decadent, high in fat, requiring a richer, richer salsa. I suggest a fiery arbol sauce if you like it hot, or for a nice contrast, a sweet tomatillo sauce works great.

Finding lesser-known cuts like tripa in decent taco form isn’t as easy as a quick Google search. It’s a tough cut, and taqueros are more equipped to slang it in their midst, from a truckload on polystyrene plates or swaddled in foil, eaten outside on a picnic table with a beer. , up at night. Most of the tripa tacos you’ll come across in Austin are served soft, flabby, almost waterlogged and greasy, usually not complementing the texture of the tortilla, and just plain not enjoyable. There are, however, certain operations that know how to deal with this unique ingredient.

The super taco

The super taco

El Super Taco lives in a taco shack converted into a literal car wash, in that a strange, corrugated, transparent plastic booth is where you order your food. The East Oltorf strip between I-35 and Pleasant Valley is home to at least half a dozen taco trucks and just about every one of them offers a tripe taco. This strip has yet to be touched by the high-end homogenization and mediocrity that Austin has become so obsessed with lately. Here, you’re in an enclave of mostly blue-collar immigrants, and for tripas, El Super Taco is your place. The tripas are served extra crispy, crunchy and rich, with the softer sections sometimes contrasting with the crispy ends. The sweet verde sauce goes very well with fresh onions, both in terms of texture and taste. On the other hand, the fiery arbol sauce dominates the tripa. The tortilla is the only thing really missing here. Generous portions at $3.50 per taco, cash only, open late every night, always call for exact times.


2005 E. Oltorf, 512/203-4932.

Las Trancas

Las Trancas, just east of I-35 on Cesar Chavez, regularly offers quality tripas, usually served soft, almost to medium-crispy, with a spicy arbol sauce. Maybe they don’t boil them that long, or maybe they boil them a little too long sometimes, because they can be a bit rubbery depending on the batch. But such is the nature of this cut, and I imagine it’s nearly impossible to achieve an even texture. This is where part of the charm lies. Las Trancas is one of the most consistent, delectable, and quality taco trucks out there, and it comes with a real, very rare bathroom.


1210 E. Cesar Chávez, 512/701-8287.

Tacos Las Amazones

Tacos Las Amazonas Estilo Jalisco

While the state of Jalisco, Mexico isn’t located in the arid northern part of the country that’s known for its tripas prepared and served in the style we’re interested in here, Tacos Las Amazonas Estilo Jalisco makes a great version of it. served soft, with some textured edges and loaded with grilled and sliced ​​onions. Las Amazonas’ salsa selection is one of the best in town – “Austin” (sweet tomatillo), “Roja” (arbol), “Verde” (jalapeño), “Morena” (pasilla or chipotle) ​​and habanero – all served in small twist bags. Jalapeño works well with their tripa: spicy, vibrant, but not overwhelming. The tacos come with fresh radishes and cucumbers, and their tortillas are legit. Portions are a little smaller and you’ll pay around $4 per taco, but it’s worth it. Open late, they have two locations, just south of Congress from each other. Always call for exact times.


4811 S. Congress Ave., 512/210-6855.

4619 S. Congress Avenue, 737/867-0078.

Quantos

Cuantos Tacos

Cuantos Tacos in the Arbor Food Park, just east of I-35 on East 12th Street, offers quite possibly the best version of tripas in town on “Tripa Tuesdays.” They offer four tacos for $9 in handmade, nixtamalized yellow corn tortillas with two salsas. The tacos are topped with chopped fresh cilantro and white onions along with fresh lime wedges. Fresh lime wedges are the crucial sour component of most tacos of this type. The pairing with the herbaceous fresh cilantro is a made in Mexico pairing, and the salsa roja goes best with the crispy preparation. Finally, tortillas are tasty and sturdy yet flexible enough to hold that tasty filling. All of these components come together to make the best tripa taco in town for my money. For as labor intensive as a well-processed batch of tripas, $2.25 a taco is a killer deal. Check their IG, @cuantostacos512 and/or their website for promotions and special hours.


1108 E. 12th, 512/903-3918.

About James Almanza

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