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TaCones Made with Aspen Ridge Natural Angus Beef Tenderloin: Kick-Off to Red Rocks Concert Season!

beef food & wine mexican mezcal mixology montana rae recipe May 03, 2022

Spring is in the air and Red Rocks concert season is upon us! This amazing natural amphitheater is only about 20 minutes away from my house in Denver and it’s one of the best places to enjoy live music and take in the natural beauty of Colorado.

My friends and I love making a Red Rocks show an all-day affair, complete with the tailgate. It’s common to see the parking lots full of people creating makeshift kitchens out of the backs of their cars and that’s exactly what we’re doing today! With a little careful preparation and planning, I was able to get most of the work done ahead of time at home so when we got up to the lot I was able to kick back and enjoy myself with my friends.

The Menu

I wanted something versatile that could be assembled on-site with minimal equipment and maximum deliciousness. My friends and I love tacos (who doesn’t, right?) so I decided to go for something close to a taco but even easier to enjoy without a dining table or even plates. The Beef Tenderloin TaCone is born! This is a taco folded into a cone-shaped tortilla for easy handling and grilled to piping hot perfection using a mini George Foreman grill. Just describing it tends to turn heads so be prepared to share!

This recipe is all about the beef. I started with a visit to my local Safeway store where I selected one of my all-time favorite cuts: the tenderloin from Aspen Ridge Natural Angus Beef. Aspen Ridge’s beef products are USDA Choice graded, Certified Humane®, and have no added hormones or antibiotics. Aspen Ridge is transparent about the way its beef is raised and it makes a huge difference in the flavor and quality of every cut. The tenderloin is a leaner cut of beef but packs a ton of flavor and is so tender that the TaCones just melt in your mouth. You can find Aspen Ridge at Safeway and Albertsons throughout Denver and the Rocky Mountain Region.

To take the Mexican-inspired flavors to the next level, I created a marinade for the beef using Mezcal and some other richly flavored ingredients. I cooked the beef using a classic restaurant-style preparation with a stovetop cast iron sear and then finished it in the oven. I prepared a variety of other awesome toppings like crumbled queso fresco, easy pickled red onions, colorful fajita veggies, chopped fresh cilantro and jalapeños, and crowd favorites like sour cream and a couple of different hot sauces. I fixed everything ahead of time at home and packed it into my favorite glass lock storage containers. By the time we made it up to Red Rocks, all I needed to do was assemble the TaCones and serve!

For beverages, I always like to have an array of options so there’s something for everyone. I already had an amazing Espadin Mezcal from a boutique producer, Rey Campero, going into the marinade so I used that again to create a pre-batched Paloma with fresh-squeezed grapefruit and lime juice, sliced jalapeño, and a little simple syrup (agave nectar works too!). This is a spectacular cocktail that travels well. Just pour it over ice and top with a little soda water when you’re ready!

For wine, I wanted to bring a few different bottles since I know we have some different palates in the group. The forecast is clear and sunny, so refreshing whites are in order and I also have at least one friend who always prefers red wines. I picked out a lineup from Disruption Wine Company out of Washington State. The wines come from single vineyard fruit sources and cost less than $20.00 a bottle! The artwork on each label is a replica of a different mural that can be found around the city of Seattle. The murals were created by a non-profit called Urban Artworks which offers diversion programs for at-risk youth groups. Red Rocks really is all about the art so I thought these were a perfect fit! For whites, I chose their partially oaked Chardonnay for its flavors of pineapple and citrus and the slightly sweet Riesling. I love an off-dry white wine like this to pair with spicy cuisine because the sweetness helps balance the heat. So yum! The red is a blend of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon. The rich, dark fruit flavors are amazing with the beef tenderloin.

You’ll find all the details of how I brought this amazing menu together with tips and tricks in the video above.  I’ve also broken down all of the ingredients and preparation steps for each component below, as well as a day-of packing list so you’re sure to have all the essentials!

Grocery List

*Recipes + Cocktail quantities for four people

  • 1 pound Aspen Ridge Natural Angus Beef Tenderloin – available at Safeway stores
  • 1 package queso fresco
  • 1 red onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 jalapeño pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 4 limes
  • 2 grapefruits
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 package flour tortillas
  • vinegar, salt, and sugar for pickled red onions
  • 7 oz can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 12 oz. Mezcal *I used Rey Campero Espadin (4 oz for beef marinade, 8 oz for Paloma)
  • simple syrup or agave nectar
  • soda water
  • ice

Pickled Red Onion

Ingredients

  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup vinegar (I recommend white or apple cider)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • add slices of jalapeño, black peppercorns, garlic cloves, or any other spices you like

Preparation

  • Thinly slice the onion using a sharp knife or a mandolin and place it into a glass container with jalapeño, garlic, peppercorns, and anything else you want to add
  • Combine the vinegar, water, salt, and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer
  • Pour the hot mixture over the onions and let sit on the counter until cool, then move to the refrigerator
  • The pickles will be ready after about an hour

Beef Tenderloin in Mezcal Marinade

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Aspen Ridge Natural Angus Beef Tenderloin
  • ½ 7 oz can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, smashed *I used my cocktail muddler!
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • juice from one lime
  • ½ cup Mezcal
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp each cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper

Preparation

  • Combine all ingredients in a plastic bag or container and place in the refrigerator for 1 to 6 hours, redistributing occasionally
  • Preheat the oven to 415°F
  • When the oven is preheated, place cast iron skillet on stove over high heat
  • Add butter and cook each side of the beef tenderloin for 2 minutes
  • Move the skillet to the oven and cook another 5-7 minutes until the internal temperature reads 145°F on your meat thermometer
  • Remove the skillet from the oven and transfer the steaks to a plate to rest for 7-9 minutes, then slice thinly against the grain 

Fajita Veggie Blend

Ingredients

  • ½ tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • ½ red onion, sliced
  • ¼ jalapeño pepper, sliced
  • salt, pepper, and other seasonings to taste

Preparation

  • Heat the cooking oil in a pan over medium heat, add the veggies and seasoning and cook to your liking

Aspen Ridge Natural Angus Beef TaCones

Ingredients

  • Mezcal marinaded Aspen Ridge Natural Angus Beef Tenderloin, sliced
  • flour tortillas
  • queso fresco, crumbled
  • fajita veggies, prepped
  • pickled red onion
  • cilantro, chopped
  • fresh  jalapeño pepper, sliced
  • fresh avocado, wait to slice until you’re ready to serve
  • hot sauce, fresh lime, and any other toppings you like

Preparation

  • Layer all ingredients in a flour tortilla and fold into TaCone shape
  • Place inside George Foreman or on camping grill for 3-4 minutes or until grill marks turn golden brown and ingredients are heated through
  • Carefully slide the TaCone onto a piece of aluminum foil and wrap the bottom half to prevent dripping and keep it warm
  • Serve immediately

Spicy Mezcal Paloma

Ingredients:

  • 2 grapefruits, juiced
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • ¼ jalapeño pepper, sliced
  • 8 oz Mezcal
  • 2 oz simple syrup or agave nectar
  • 8 oz soda water
  • ice

Preparation

  • Combine the citrus juice, simple or agave, jalapeño, and Mezcal in a thermos
  • When ready to serve, pour over ice and top with soda water

Suggested Day-Of Packing List

I hope you try this menu out! If you do, I'd love to hear about it so please drop a comment below, and don't forget to tag us @thewineship if you share your creation on Instagram.

Cheers to a wonderful summer ahead! - Montana Rae and The Wine Ship Cru

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