Get ready, these Surf and Turf Smashburger Tacos are tortillas loaded with grilled beef, spicy shrimp, and zesty toppings for an incredible bite. This quick recipe is fun to prepare and customizable with loads of various toppings for the crowd.
This surf and turf taco recipe takes the viral Smashburger Tacos to another level.
Succulent grilled shrimp joins the perfectly crusted beef with a creamy, tangy, spicy chipotle mayo tying it all together. These will instantly transform any taco night into an event!
If you haven’t caught on yet, these are grilled smashburger tacos! You can prepare these over a griddle or cast-iron skillet, but these tacos capitalize on the wood-fired flavor.
Why This Recipe Works
- Simple Process – The ground beef for these surf and turf burgers is smashed directly onto the tortilla allowing it to grill up quickly while still giving you that crave-worthy crust. The shrimp are quickly tossed in oil and seasoning and only take minutes to grill. This is a fun taco recipe that comes together quickly making it perfect for any night of the week. Any day ending in Y is always a good day for tacos.
- Textures – This hits all of the exciting texture notes. Tender yet snappy shrimp, crispy bites of ground beef, creamy sauce, and the irresistible crunch of cabbage.
- Minimal Ingredients – Ground chuck and shrimp are the stars of these tacos with just a handful of supporting players. You can easily pick up everything needed for these tacos at your local grocery store without breaking the bank.
Ideas for Toppings
Have fun customizing your tacos with anything you’d like. We love shredded cabbage, pickled jalapenos, and chipotle crema, but don’t let that stop your imagination. Here are some other favorites:
- Fire-roasted Santa Maria Salsa
- Pickle De Gallo Salsa
- Creamy Jalapeno Carrot Slaw
- Roasted Hatch Chile Jam
- Creamy Southwestern Coleslaw
How to Grill Surf and Turf Smashburger Tacos
- Fire up the grill. Prepare your grill for two-zone cooking. If using a charcoal grill, bank your charcoal in an even layer to one side leaving a cooler side. If using a gas grill only light some of your burners leaving a cool side. You don’t need high heat for these tacos as both the beef and shrimp cook quickly and you don’t want to burn the tortillas.
- Portion out the ground beef and prepare your tacos. Form the ground beef into golf ball size or about two ounces. Use wax paper or parchment paper and press the round into the tortilla until the ground beef reaches the edges of the tortillas. Keep in mind the ground beef will shrink slightly as it cooks.
Season the ground beef generously. One side gets exposed, so don’t be afraid to season the beef well. We’re using the Smoked Chipotle Mezcal in the photos, but feel free to use any seasoning you’d like that tastes delicious with beef and shrimp. It’s hard to beat the Signature Sweet & Smoky Rub or Smoky Southwest Dry Rub!
- Prepare the shrimp skewers. Make sure the shrimp are peeled and deveined, removing the tails as well. Pat them dry and then add them to a bowl along with the oil and enough seasoning to coat. Toss them until they’re evenly seasoned. If using wood skewers make sure to soak them in water for 30 minutes prior. Skewer your shrimp.
- Grill the smash burger tacos. Place two of the tacos beef side down over direct heat. Allow the first side to grill for 2-3 minutes, making sure to keep an eye on them as they cook quickly. Flip them over and move them to the indirect side (no hot coals). The ambient heat will continue cooking the meat and warm the tortilla. Continue with the remaining tacos.
Watch the burgers as they’re grilling. You can always move them over to the cooler side of the grill if they seem like they’re searing too quickly. This is a sign that the coals may be too hot!
- Grill the shrimp next. Make sure that your grates are clean before adding your shrimp. This will prevent them from sticking. Place the shrimp skewers over the direct heat.
Allow the first side to cook for about two minutes before flipping. Let the second side cook for another 2-3 minutes or until they’re 120°F. They will be pink, opaque, and lightly charred. Remove from the heat.
- Build your tacos. Top each grilled smashburger taco with some shrimp. Add the shredded cabbage, drizzle on the chipotle mayo, and add pickled jalapenos if desired. Pop open a cold cerveza and enjoy!
- Save the colossal shrimp for your Spicy Grilled Shrimp in Adobo. There’s no need for extremely large shrimp for this recipe. Large or medium shrimp skewer easily and are the perfect size for topping a surf and turf burger without having to chop them up. You want smaller bites.
- Because both the tacos and shrimp cook so quickly and you don’t want to burn the tortillas, you don’t need high heat for the coals. Keep the coals around medium heat.
- To prevent your shrimp from sticking make sure you clean your grates before adding the shrimp to the grill.
- There is nothing worse than an overcooked rubbery shrimp. The internal temperature you want is 120°F but there are also signs to look for when grilling them. You will see the sides begin to go from translucent to slightly opaque and the first side should easily release from the grill. When you flip them over they will turn a pinkish or orange colored hue and be completely opaque once done. Even on a skewer, they will curve into a C shape. If they start looking like an O they’re overcooked.
- Have fun customizing your tacos with all of your favorite textures, but keep in mind you want texture. Something creamy and something crunchy is always a fun addition.
Need more shrimp recipes? Try one of our favorites such as Grilled Mexican Shrimp Cocktail, Margarita Grilled Shrimp, Spicy Grilled Shrimp in Adobo, or another surf and turf, with Cajun Steak and Shrimp Etouffee!
- 1 pound ground beef, 80/20
- 8 small flour tortillas
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil
- 1 pound large shrimp, deveined and peeled
- 2 tablespoons Smoky Southwest Dry Rub
- 1 cup chopped cabbage
- Smoked Pickled jalapenos
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon chopped chipotles in adobo
- Juice of 1 lime
- Salt to taste
- Fire up the grill. Light the coals and set up the grill for 2-zone cooking, placing the hot coals on one side only. Spread the coals evenly when ready and allow the grill to preheat. Aim for medium heat, it should not be raging hot or the tortillas will burn.
- Mix the ingredients for the chipotle mayo, taste, and adjust.
- Portion the beef and prepare the tacos. Make sure the beef is about a golf-ball size, roughly 2 ounces. Using wax or parchment paper, press them into the tortillas. Push the beef to the edge of the tortillas and season the meat with the spices as needed.
- Prepare the shrimp skewers. Place the shrimp in a bowl, making sure they are cleaned and shelled. Pour in the oil and add enough spices to coat the shrimp. Mix them around to spread the seasoning, and add them to small skewers. If using wood skewers, make sure they soak in water prior to grilling.
- Grill the smashburger tacos. Place the tacos on the grill over the coals, 2 at a time. They cook pretty quickly, so watch them closely. Flip them to the cool side of the grill after about 2-3 minutes and allow them to rest. The ambient heat will continue to cook the backside without charring the tortillas. Repeat the process for the rest of the tacos.
- Grill the skewers next. Clean the grill grates and place the shrimp skewers on the grill. Cook for about 2 minutes per side, or until they are charred and about 120°F.
- Build the tacos. Place the shrimp on the tacos and fill it with your favorite toppings, such as chipotle mayo, chopped cabbage, and pickled jalapenos.
- Watch the burgers as they’re grilling. You can always move them over to the cooler side of the grill if they seem like they’re searing too quickly.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Category: Beef
- Method: Grilling
- Cuisine: Main Course, Lunch, Appetizer
Keywords: surf and turf smashburger tacos, surf and turf tacos, surf and turf burger, beef and shrimp, grilled smashburger tacos