Sliced thin, sesos may have the appearance of cauliflower, but vegetarian these are not. Sesos are brains, usually from a cow or goat, and they make a popular Mexican taco filling. Cooks and diners prize tacos de sesos for their soft, silky, almost custard-like texture, which provides a nice contrast to crunchy or fresh toppings such as onions, cilantro, and lime.
To make tacos de sesos, vendors boil the animal head to tenderize and release the flesh from around the face (this meat is often used to make the intensely-flavored tacos de cabeza). Once the face meat falls off the bone, a heavy and sharp knife cracks open the skull, granting access to the succulent interior. After seasoning the sesos, cooks braise or grill them, then serve the brains atop warm corn tortillas. Add in a dash of spicy salsa de chile manzano (manzano pepper salsa) and you have a mouthwatering balance of creamy, crunchy, and spicy.
And if you’re looking to expand your palate beyond the brain, options abound for tacos made with every part of the head, including the eyes, tongue, cheeks, and lips.
Need to Know
Although maligned during the era of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or “mad cow disease,” tacos de sesos are now safe to consume thanks to updated animal feeding practices.
Where to Try It
Tacos el Gordo269 H St, Chula Vista, California, 91910, United States
This California spot features plenty of authentic taco fillings, including beef tongue and brains.
Tacos al Vapor el Canelo6168 Whittier Blvd, East Los Angeles, California, 90022, United States
This taqueria offers tacos de cabeza, sesos, and lengua.