Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Is Taco John's actually better than Taco Bell?

I've never been a fan of Taco Bell. To me the food was gimmicky and lacked flavor and substance. Yesterday, though, my near hatred of Taco Bell was vindicated when a lawsuit surfaced stating that their "beef" contained a mere 36% beef and was packaged as "Taco Meat Filler". Even more disturbing was the fact that, after watching a news story about the subject, a food item classified as being 100% beef only needs to contain a mere 40% beef.

The rest of the bulk is made of wheat and soy fillers, binders and extenders which I'm nearly certain contains far less nutritional value that even the fattiest ground beef would.

This report, WCCO's Good Question, did little more to calm me:


Yesterday, as I sat in the local Taco John's drive-thru waiting for what I assumed were superior tacos, I watched a fairly steady stream of cars roll through the Taco Bell drive-thru across the street. Either these people really love shitty food or had heard nothing about the food that's making them fatter (for a low price to boot) not really being food. Whatever the case, I went on with my day not really thinking about what I had eaten until later. Then I tweeted my thoughts and the two almost immediate responses were troubling. They, one of them being Jason DeRusha, both agreed that the Taco John's product was likely the same.

Later still I did some lazy sleuthing on TacoJohns.com and within their allergy information, all of the items containing ground beef had the categories of soy and wheat allergies checked. To me this signifies that the Taco John's beef also contains soy and wheat fillers along the lines of the Taco Bell "beef". A quick search of off-the-shelf Ortega taco seasoning mix reveals no soy or wheat ingredients in the flavoring which, to me, rules that out as a possibility.

So, at a dead end for now, I'll open the question to better sleuths with more time. What percentage of fillers and actual beef is contained in Taco John's taco meat? I'd be surprised if I'd ever receive a straight answer but given the not-so-shocking news about Taco Bell, I am interested in knowing that the supposedly better choice is, in fact, better.

12 comments:

Pam bolton said...

Hi I look through the so called beef in taco johns food and I dont like what I see. It has little bits of weird stuff. I take it all out and put the lettuce back in and end up eating a lettuce taco. I will not eat the meat at taco johns. never!!

Anonymous said...

I have worked for both companys. taco bells meat is a mystery to empolyees. However they did win there lawsuit.
Taco johns cooks there meat right in house and seasons it there as well. I highly recomend taco johns for freshness anyday.

Anonymous said...

I can't say I've worked for Taco Bell, but I can say that I currently work at Taco John's. I can say that we cook our meat in house, right out of plain beef tubes and then season it with a rather small package. It's a very pure meat, in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

I will be the third anonymous person to say that I have worked at Taco John's and their meat is indeed real ground beef. Are you familiar with allergen information? Soy is in everything, they need to cover their tails so that they don't get sued.

Anonymous said...

I worked at taco johns and have personally taken the ground beef from the fridge, cooked it like you would at home only in a much larger quality, we added the seasoning and water. After working their, I still prefer taco johns over taco bell.

Anonymous said...

The little "weird" stuff is most likley from the seasoning, it has dried onions and stuff. The meat is no different from what you buy and use at home.

Anonymous said...

Taco Johns is better than taco bell nuff said.

Anonymous said...

Taco Johns over TBell, hands down! A tad more expensive, but sooooo worth it! Better quality, bigger menu, they serve breakfast opening @ 6am along with the rest of their menu. WiFi, the one I go to has a TV mounted in the corner of dining room. Wishing Taco Johns were wider known like TBell. Not nearly enough of them!

Anonymous said...

I to work at taco johns and have been for a little over a year now we have 100% real ground beef which we mix with onions, we cut in the store and then cook at a large quantity up to 3 times a day so the meat you eat there is less then 3 hours old no matter the time. We drain our meet after it is cooked through out so its not greasy and unhealthy. We then put a traditional seasoning with some soy in it and with some water then marinate it for 30 minutes in our kettle (we use 1lb of seasoning per 20lbs of meat) which is 95% real ground beef. As fresh as a fast food restaurant can get I would truly think.

AndreaInVA said...

I worked for 7-8 years off and on(mostly on, just not during school year in college). The seasoning pkg contained TVP, basically soy substitute for ground beef. It's very small compared to the amount of beef, even allowing for expansion. There's nothing inherently wrong with soy protein. It mixes well wirh the ground beef making it much easier to work with when you're making mass quantities of tacos! We also shredded our own lettuce and cheese and fried taco shells fresh several times a day. I've relocated to the east coast for over 30 yrs and MISS taco John's so much. Wish they'd expand to the east.:-)

Anonymous said...

I, as well, have worked for TJ's for 2 years and they use 100 percent beef. You don't feel sick after eating Taco John's, plus made in house salsas.

Anonymous said...

Just ate there in Iowa and had many chunks that looked a whole lot like textured vegetable protein or pure gluten, very chewy, and interspersed with meat. This is not 100% beef! Just take a look and be aware, and you will have your answers.