At least one of us here at Hair of the Dog has a long history with Taco Bell.
What started as occasional treats as a kid turned into a full-fledged seven-layer burritos obsession by age 20. Fourth meal was a way of life—$1.99 can go a long way on a 2am shoestring budget, even when the craving is chemically induced.
But after far too many cheap meat hangovers, this intrepid reporter left Taco Bell behind. This plan to completely eschew the fast food chain for its slow food cousins worked just fine until the launch of the ultimate stoner fantasy: tacos made with Doritos-laced shells. You may know them as limited-edition Doritos Locos Tacos (TM), but this reporter refers to them as kryptonite. Spicy, MSG and cheese-powder-laden fried taco shell surrounding “beef” and shredded Mexican blend cheese? It’s almost impossible to ignore the craving.
To prevent succumbing to its siren song, I’ve decided to make Doritos Locos myself.
I tackled the easy part first. I located the same cow that provided the cream for the DIAY brownies, led her to an artisanal bearded butcher, and slaughtered her in the most humane manner possible. I broke down the carcass myself using a hand-forged blade made by some more bearded dudes in Crown Heights. I reserved the short-rib meat to grind for my tacos and sold the rest of the cow to my locavore paleo friends through a meat CSA.
I brought the short rib home and ground it by hand. Please, if you are making this at home, do not use one of those shitty electronic meat grinders or (GOD FORBID) a food processor. Meat this good needs to be slowly cranked by hand through a wide-grain grinder. It should take a long time. I put this meat in the fridge to chill out while I made the rest of the taco.
OH WAIT before I killed the cow, I got some more milk from its udders.
I poured this raw milk into a ceramic jug and set it outside on my back porch to culture for a day. Once chunky, I added some rennet and cooked over super-low heat it until solid curds formed. Then I cut the curds using my hand-forged cheese knife (also from Crown Heights). I cooked the curds some more, and then I drained, pressed, and salted them. Into a cheese mold they went to age for a couple of weeks.
After the cheese turned into cheese, I hand shredded the block using another hand-forged knife. Cheese graters are for wannabe cooks. Next!
Luckily my friend grows heirloom iceburg lettuce in her community garden plot up the street. I walked over to her house and plucked the most unique head in the bunch. I shredded this beautiful specimen with the same knife I used for the cheese.
Okay, easy stuff over.
The first step in making a Doritos shell is to make the tortilla. To make the tortilla, I traveled to Mexico to harvest my own hominy. I had to negotiate with a few border patrol men on my way back to California, but managed to get home with all but the trunk of my car intact.
Next, I treated the hominy with lye. Any good craft store worth its weight in soap making supplies will carry lye. After a trip in a scalding basic solution, the hominy was ready to be ground into masa. Again, I used a hand grinder because using electricity is worse than driving a Hummer.
I mixed this masa with some water until it felt like play-doh and then rolled it into tortilla shapes. I dipped these rounds into a vat of hot oil.
OH WAIT I also made the oil myself from the leftover rice bran I had sitting around after polishing my own white sushi rice. You can also make your own fry oil by pressing olives and running their juice through a centrifuge to extract the oil from the water.
I couldn’t figure out how to make the tortillas fry into hard-taco shape, so let’s just call these Doritos Locos Tostadas. Then we won’t have a problem with trademark.
Finally, the good stuff:
To make the Doritos powder, this taco’s star ingredient, I headed to my neighborhood Asian supermarket. I bought a jar of MSG.
Next, I went to a health food store and bought a jar of nutritional yeast, a jar of organic cayenne powder, and a jar of organic paprika.
Finally, I got on my computer and ordered a big ass one-pound bag of organic cheese powder from King Arthur Flour.
You can’t make these things yourself. Don’t try.
Once my cheese shipment came in, I mixed all of these powders together in a big bowl and then dipped my hot tostadas into the mix.
I fried my short rib meat with extra salt, cayenne, and MSG. I could’ve added hot sauce here, but I ran out of time to make it and didn’t want to use store-bought. I poured the hot, fatty meat onto the Doritos shell and topped it with cheese and lettuce.
Totally worth it. I’ll never go back to Taco Bell again.