Mando Rayo and Jarod Neece spent a decade studying in the field.
They interviewed hundreds of people.
They drove more than 7,000 miles to visit 10 major Texas cities.
And they ate more than 500 tacos.
Now, these two self-described “taco journalists” have teamed up with The University of Texas Press to publish a 450-page opus that’s basically the bible of Texas tacos.
“Our goal was just to eat tacos and spread the taco gospel,” Rayo says. “Ten years later, we have this book.”
Whether you can’t imagine a day without tacos or you’re just learning your way around the trailers, trucks and taqueros that make tacos happen, The Tacos of Texas is the indispensable guidebook, cookbook and testimonio.
“For us, it’s about going deeper than what you see and what you put in your mouth,” Rayo says. “It’s about people and the history and their culture and their stories.”
The book starts with the basics — tortillas, fillings and salsas — and covers how to make, order and eat tacos.
Readers then take a tour around Texas to discover the traditions, recipes, stories and personalities behind puffy tacos in San Antonio, trompo tacos in Dallas, breakfast tacos in Austin, carnitas tacos in El Paso, fish tacos in Corpus Christi, barbacoa in the Rio Grande Valley and more.
“It’s just part of growing up in Texas,” Neece says. “If you have a mouth, you’re probably putting tacos in it.”
In the book, Rayo and Neece hear from both well-known and everyday folks who talk about their local taco history and culture while sharing recipes and recommendations.
For each of the 10 taco cities and regions highlighted in the book, the authors describe what makes the tacos distinctive, name their top five places to eat and listen to the locals tell their taco stories.
“I was born with a tortilla in my hand,” Rayo says. “Growing up in Texas, it’s what you eat.”
Planning your next vacation? See why ‘The Tacos of Texas’ is the ultimate taco road trip.