Ground Beef and Pickle Tacos

Ground Beef and Pickle Tacos
Eva Kolenko

One of the California restaurants we really miss is Malo. The East Side of L.A. hasn't been the same since they shut their doors. The were known for their vibrant vibe, 2-for-1 margarita happy hour, and extensive taco menu. But the star of the place was always the ground beef and pickle taco. It was like the secret love child of a hamburger and a taco. Not that either of us knows anything about having secret love children, but if we did, we'd name it Malo because we really do miss that place. We hope our loving homage to this unexpected combo makes you as happy as it makes us. ~Jesse & Julie

Subscribe today for full access to this recipe and hundreds more!

You can now find Salt + Spine on Substack, where our latest episodes and recipes live.
Get bonus content, exclusive recipes, and subscriber-only posts today for less than a cup of coffee a month.



  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil‚Äć
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound 80/20 or 85/15 ground beef (see Note)
  • ¬ľ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¬Ĺ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¬ľ cup crushed canned tomatoes
  • 1 (4-ounce) can diced Hatch green chiles
  • ‚Öď cup diced dill pickles, plus more for topping
  • ‚Öď cup pickle juice


  • 8 hard taco shells
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Sour cream


  1. Make the beef and pickle: Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add ¬ĺ cup of the diced onion and the garlic and saut√© until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the ground beef, cinnamon, paprika, cumin, chile powder, oregano, salt, and pepper and cook until the beef is no longer pink, about 8 minutes.
  2. Add the tomatoes, chiles, pickles, and pickle juice. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the juices thicken and the flavors have melded, 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Assemble the tacos: Spoon the ground beef mixture into taco shells and sprinkle with shredded cheese, shredded lettuce, the remaining ¬ľ cup diced onion, and some more diced pickle. Top with the sour cream and serve 2 tacos per person.

Reprinted from FOOD BETWEEN FRIENDS by Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Julie Tanous. Copyright © 2021 by Julie & Jesse Cook, LLC. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.

Photographs copyright © 2021 by Eva Kolenko.

^ TOP ^