Johnny Hernandez is a San Antonio chef who is renowned for his mastery of authentic, regional Mexican food. His passion began as a young child in his father’s restaurant and has evolved to include his own restaurant concepts – La Gloria, El Machito, and The Frutería – all inspired by his love for his Mexican roots and culture.
Johnny gives us some tips on putting together an effortless, but festive Taquiza just in time for the last days of Summer entertaining.
What is a Taquiza?
A Taquiza is a traditional get-together with family and friends that is celebrated throughout Mexico. Everything needed to assemble tacos is served buffet-style, and guests can prepare their own. The buffet includes different types of tortillas – great tortillas are an essential item, be it corn or flour – beans, meats, cheeses, salsas and salads. It is a great way to pass-on our traditions and share Mexico’s well-known hospitality.
What are some tips for putting together the perfect Taquiza?
- Decide on a menu, besides tacos, a Taquiza also includes beverages and desserts. Enjoy the last days of the season. Use the grill to make a variety of meats, chicken, seafood or vegetables.
- Never stress out, a Taquiza is all about enjoying time with your guests. Prepare as much as you can beforehand. Ensure that everyone has a good time, including you.
- Have a variety of sauces on-hand. Besides using TABASCO® in my recipes, I always keep different types of TABASCO® around so that guests can add their favorites to their own individual dish.
- Drinks are an important part of a Taquiza. Keep the party going by making it easy for guests to grab a beverage by serving drinks in pitchers and having cans and bottles easily accessible. Keep it authentic by offering Mexican sodas, aguas frescas, beers, or a tequila-based cocktail. Have plenty of ice and all the necessary items readily available.
- Make dessert easy with an assortment of the seasonally-fresh fruits that are available, such as melons, apricots, peaches, and berries.
- Since the table is the focal point of the party, show your creativity with bright, fun table decorations. A Taquiza is the perfect time to be imaginative with your décor. Above all, keep it simple.
The Parrillada Mixta recipe I created below is a great addition to any Taquiza gathering and ideal for grilling.
Parrillada Mixta with Garlic and Sweet Chipotle Marinades Created by Chef Johnny Hernandez
For Garlic Chipotle Marinated Steak:
2 (1 lb.) flank steaks
14 garlic cloves, peeled
1 medium white onion, quartered
1 1/2 cups light Mexican beer
3/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp coarse black pepper
4 tbsp TABASCO® Chipotle Pepper Sauce
1 tsp salt
For Sweet Chipotle Marinated Chicken & Shrimp
2 lbs. extra large shrimp, peeled, deveined and tails on 4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
8 garlic cloves, peeled
1 red bell pepper, de-seeded and stemmed
1 small white onion
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp smoked paprika
8 tbsp olive oil
8 tbsp agave syrup
4 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 1/4 cups orange juice
1 1/4 cups cold water
4 tbsp TABASCO® Chipotle Pepper Sauce
Salt to taste
For Garlic Chipotle Marinade:
Puree all ingredients in a blender except TABASCO® Chipotle Sauce. Transfer puree to a large mixing bowl; add TABASCO Chipotle Sauce and salt as desired. Marinating times depend on the cut of beef selected. For fajitas or skirt steak, marinate for a minimum of 6 hours.
For Sweet Chipotle Marinade:
Puree all ingredients in a blender and divide marinade over chicken and shrimp in separate sealed plastic bags. Allow mixture to marinate shrimp for 8 hours and boneless chicken breasts for 24 hours.
Remove steak, shrimp and chicken from marinade and set aside. Heat grill to medium high heat. Brush off excess marinade and grill the chicken first, then steak and shrimp.
*Cooking times will vary depending on the cut of meat selected and desired doneness.
Place steak, shrimp and chicken on large platter and serve with traditional side items such as fresh guacamole, pico de gallo, grilled onions, fresh limes and fresh corn tortillas.
Makes 6-8 Servings.