The Sweet Addition To Give Taco Beef More Depth Of Flavor

In our humble opinion, a well-made taco is the key to a brighter day. With the combination of a perfectly crisp taco shell, all your favorite fillings, and the right amount of heat, what's not to love? Most importantly, meat that strikes a flawless balance between savory, smoky, and sweet tastes like heaven on earth. For taco beef that achieves that kind of depth, brown sugar is the answer.

The most flavorful kinds of meat have a mouth-watering quality that isn't produced by umami ingredients alone, but an additional rich and slightly sweet flavor — this is where brown sugar comes in. Thanks to molasses, it has a caramel-like flavor that enhances meat while making the final product a little richer. Brown sugar is the sweet ingredient to take your steak fajitas to the next level, and it'll do the same for taco beef, as well. Sugar tenderizes and caramelizes meat, giving it a rich brown color that matches the flavorful taste.

Not long after the ground beef hits the pan, the exterior takes on a slightly crisp coating while maintaining a juicy center. For this, using only a small amount of sugar is key; otherwise, it will burn. Less sugar also helps to strike the right balance of flavors. You don't want to completely overwhelm all the other spices, so only use ½ teaspoon of brown sugar mixed in with your other savory seasonings.

What flavors should brown sugar be paired with?

Brown sugar complements warming spices by adding a hint of sweetness and balance. With a shared depth and full-bodied flavor, adding a pinch of brown sugar to some smoky taco seasoning is sure to elevate it. It's made up of earthier spices like cumin, black pepper, and smoked paprika, so rich, toffee-flavored brown sugar won't taste too far off.

On the other hand, brown sugar can also be paired with brighter flavors to ground them. Apple cider vinegar shares a similar sweetness, with a punchy acidity that lifts up the taco meat overall. Since apple cider vinegar provides its own sweetness, 1 to 2 teaspoons of it will bring the right amount of zest without making the dish too saccharine. Limes are also a great pairing to brown sugar in tacos. The citrus isn't as sweet as lemons or oranges, so it's the perfect addition to a savory dish. It's also much more sour, but brown sugar tames it well. A pinch of brown sugar with a squeeze of lime at the end will make for extra delicious ground beef street tacos.