Mel’s Diner

Sharp Knives, Raw Meat and Fire


A few weeks ago, the Birthday Crew did the monthly lunch at work and in January it was Mexican!  The “main” dish was the crowd favorite tacos.  When we did this a few years ago and we were a lot smaller, I made up five pounds of taco filling and we ran out.  So, this time I picked up two 10 pound tubes of industrial hamburger at a local restaurant food service place with a store front.  I plunked a half-hotel pan down over two burners and got to cooking.  I was able to cook about four pounds of hamburger at a time without it poaching in the “juice”. 

Now, as I said, this was industrial hamburger, so I cooked the living Hell out of it.  I didn’t think I could really screw it up by “overcooking” this stuff and besides, it was going to be mixed with all that taco seasoning.  To get it the right size for tacos – finely ground – I found a potato masher worked well.  So, there I was, mashing hamburger in a hotel pan.  I never thought I would ever be doing something like that.  Every pan got dumped into my 8 quart pressure cooker and another four pounds went in.  On another burner, I dumped in 18 packets (they came in 3 packs) of taco seasoning and around 15 cups of water, I believe.  Bring slowly to a simmer and into the pressure cooker.  At this point, I realize I have a problem – this ain’t going to hold it all.  So, down to the cellar and bring up the turkey roaster.  Now I have something that will hold it all.  When it was all in the roaster, I made room in one of the freezers and put the foil covered roaster bottom in to cool it as quickly as I could.  Industrial cooking – it’s fun every once in a while.

So, we had Spanish rice, tacos, Chile con queso and salsa – lots of salsa.  I bought some gallons of Pace and fearing it wouldn’t be enough, I made my own.  A #10 can of diced tomatoes, a whole bunch of cilantro, 3 or 4 onions, 5 cans of chilies, a cup or two of diced jalapenos, red wine vinegar, olive oil, lime juice and salt.


February 4, 2008 - Posted by | Random Blather

1 Comment »

  1. Your work sounds like fun! I’ve never worked at a place that did stuff like that. You are a very resourceful cook Mike.

    Comment by Sara | February 5, 2008 | Reply

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