Serious Eats

Which Chain Makes the Best Ground Beef Taco?

[Photographs: Farley Elliott]

It's been a fish taco kind of summer so far, and last week we took a look at the offerings from some of the biggest national taco chains. This week, it's all about the beef.

No more fancy stuff; our tacos are keeping it simple. Save your steak burritos for another day. Leave your carnitas at home. We're talking ground beef tacos, the absolute baseline for Mexican fast food eats. Heck, a few chains that don't otherwise mess with the Mex at all (ahem, Jack in the Box) at least have ground beef tacos on their board. What gives?

Frankly, it's easy and satisfying. Brown up some unknown-quality beef, toss on a handful of questionably-Mexican seasonings and scoop the results into some sort of tortilla, hard-shelled or otherwise. It's just like Mom used to make, when Mom was in a hurry and grabbed the store-bought taco kit off the shelf. Most of these chains don't even make the cut as gringo-style tacos. So who makes the best fast food ground beef taco? To answer that, we've got to define some parameters first.

The Criteria

The Chains We Tried

Recommended

Wouldn't Kick This Taco Out of Bed

Not Recommended

About the author: Farley Elliott is a writer and comedian living in Los Angeles. He blogs about burgers at Beef and Bun and covers the LA comedy scene for LAist.com.

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