Run for the Border Taco Burger

What’s that you say? A Taco Bell Burger? Believe it or not, from the mid-1960’s to the mid-1970’s Taco Bell had their own take on a burger. The Bell Burger aka Bell Beefer was nothing more than their Taco meat between two buns with a kiss of Taco Sauce. It was a sloppy Joe of sorts with grated cheese on top. Originally the Bell Beefer did not include taco lettuce. However; if you knew what to ask for, shredded lettuce and diced tomatoes could be part of the deal.

I can remember as a teenager that Taco Bell was the place to hang out. The food was cheap, everything on the menu was about nineteen cents an item. Back then, we could fill our stomachs and our gas tanks with the change lying around the house.

We were the generation of teenagers after the malt shops, still struggling to define ourselves. Taco Bell was a radical change from the burger and milk shake crowd, so it fit right in with our identity of defiance against all established rules. The first Taco Bells offered a walk up order window, outdoor patio seating and a fire pit with an actual burning fire at night. It was a great place for those coming of age in the 1960’s to just hang.

1960s Taco Bell

Somewhere in the midst of all that, Taco Bell was struggling with the competition of fast growing chains like McDonald’s. In an effort to compete, the Bell Burger was born. During the time that Taco Bell actually sold their spin on a burger, I never ate one. We  went to Taco Bell for the cheap tacos. The only person in our group that routinely ordered a Beefer was my brother’s friend. The irony is he was the only Mexican in our little band of taco runners.  Maybe it’s me, and my twisted sense of humor, but I always thought it was funny that Tony ate burgers from Taco Bell. Now that I know what a real taco tastes like, can’t say as I blame him. But hey, what do you expect for nineteen cents?

Feeling rather nostalgic, I wanted Kiddo to have something that no longer exists. I am sure there are recipes for the “real” Bell Beefers. Mine is an adaptation of a Taco-Bell Meat recipe slapped between two buns. After all, that’s pretty much what the original was – just their meat on a bun.

Run for the Border Taco Burger
2 tablespoon dried onion flakes
3/4 cup water
2 lb ground beef
1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Taco Seasoning
Shredded Lettuce
8 oz Cheddar Cheese, Long Horn or Mild Cheddar
1 Tomato, sliced
Taco Bell Taco Sauce
6 Sesame Seed Buns

Mix dried onion with water in a small bowl and let stand for five minutes.

Combine ground beef, flour, chili powder, paprika, salt and taco seasoning. Mix well. Add onions and water. Mix again.

In a large cast iron skillet, cook beef mixture until browned, about 15 minutes. Stir often while cooking so no large chunks form; it should be more like a paste. Remove from heat and keep warm.

Taco Bell Burger (1)

While the meat is cooking, shred lettuce and set aside.

Using the smaller holes in a cheese grater, grate cheese and set aside.

Slice the tomato as you would for tacos. Set aside.

Taco Bell Burger (2)

Once the meat is cooked, begin building the burgers.

Brush the buns with taco sauce. Next, spoon taco meat on the bottom buns. Pile it on, shaping into a nice loose meat burger. Top as you would for a taco with some grated cheese, shredded lettuce and diced tomato. Top with top bun and enjoy.

Taco Bell Burger (3)



Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.

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