Essential T: Real Deal Carne Asada Chorreadas at La Carreta

Traditional Mazatlan, Sinaloa-style carne asada Arrives—and it’s going to change everything

The taqueros themselves are often the component that separates spectacular tacos from forgettable ones; consummate professionals who make the recipes come to life and deliver each dish with a little attitude. The only real pros we’ve seen doing carne asada in L.A. are from Baja California—via Izúcar de Matamoros, Puebla—at places like the Tire Shop Taqueria and Los Poblanos. Tijuana and Mexicali-style carne asada is great, but the best stuff comes from states not available in L.A.’s current options. That is, until a carne asada veteran rolled into town about a month ago.

Jose Morales started his taco apprenticeship while still a young man in Mazatlan, Sinaloa, where you can find serious carne asada and taco stands serving local specialties like vampiros (taco with melted cheese on a hard comal-toasted tortilla), quesadillas, and chorreadas (like a vampiro but with a slick of pork lard). He’s catered around L.A. for the last decade, setting up here and there until landing at the current location of Tacos La Carreta (the cart), where he works alongside his son, Jose Morales Jr.

And what a sight for sore eyes this cart is, with its hood, smokestack, and essential mesquite grill. It’s the traditional carreta you see all over Sonora, Sinaloa, and other northern states where asaderos are masters of the trade. In addition to the best carne asada vampiros (yes, real vampiros are back) and meat filled quesadillas in town, Tacos La Carreta also specializes in chorreadas. They are typical in Mazatlan and Morales makes a sauce in house using unrefined pork lard that’s spooned over the cheese melting on the toasted tortilla.

This extra dose of venom on Sinaloa’s vampiro will send savory chills of steak and greasy, molten cheese balanced by salsa and cool vegetables served on a flat top charred tortilla. Our local Sinaloan taco vendors have never been at this level; this is carne asada as we’ve never it before here in L.A., and we’ll never be the same again.

Tacos La Carreta, 413 N. Wilmington Ave., Compton, Sundays only from 3:30pm to 9:30 p.m.