Not long ago, we had to make a quick trip to Fort Stockton to pick up a part for our truck at the Ford dealership. Food in Fort Stockton has been hit and miss for us and we weren’t thrilled at the prospect of eating there. We were considering heading back home, with hunger pangs driving us, when I whipped out my smartphone and plans quickly changed.
A friend on social media, specifically the Fort Davis Community Chat page, asked neighbors for recommendations for lunch in Fort Stockton. Several of my other friends, whose discerning palates I trust, recommended the same place… a place that was less than a mile from where we were at that moment, and open during the mystical time of closed eateries in the Trans-Pecos. It was 3 p.m. and we were excited to be able to try out something new. We were headed to Tacos OJ.
Except for one other couple who was just finishing up their meal, we were the only customers. There were signs on the walls that said you should expect a wait for your food, because everything is made to order.
Our waitress, Adriana, is also the front-end manager. And the table busser. And the cashier. She was so welcoming and helpful, and told us that it’s not unusual for her to be the only waitress for the dining room, which seats over 50 people, while handling To-Go orders, which now makes up a large portion of their business.
Complimentary chips and homemade salsa kept us occupied while we waited for our meals. Our food came quickly. It was so pretty, I almost didn’t want to ruin the taco perfection by digging in.
I ordered the Tacos OJ plate which was three carne asada tacos topped with cabbage, tomatoes, fresh cucumbers, cheese, cilantro and guacamole, served with rice and beans. My husband had the Tacos de Bistec – five steak tacos topped with tomato, cilantro, fresh cucumbers and guacamole. We were expecting his tacos to be smaller, “street taco” size, but they were normal taco size. It was a great plate.
By appearances, the only differences in our plates were that I had beans and rice and he had extra tacos, but they tasted different. Adriana explained the difference is in the way the beef is prepared. His was cooked with jalapenos and other secret ingredients, while mine was a milder version with a jalapeño on the side if I wanted a little more heat.
She also told us that the owner inspects every plate and if it doesn’t meet her approval, it doesn’t leave the kitchen. They have another location, Tacos OJ #2, in San Angelo.
Even now, my mouth waters just thinking about those tacos. Weekday lunch specials are from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. On Wednesdays, the special is the Tacos OJ plate for $8.50. I’d drive the hour and a half from Fort Davis just for that. I look forward to trying other items on the menu, but it’ll be hard to pass up my newest favorite taco plate.
If you’re in Fort Stockton and you need some good Mexican food while you’re there, check out Tacos OJ. Depending on how busy they are, it might take a while, so be patient. It will be worth the wait. And if the small parking lot is filled, there’s a bigger lot around the building that’s designated Tacos OJ parking.
Tacos OJ is located at 1303 N. Main in Fort Stockton. They are open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., closed on Sundays. Menus are online, and their phone number for To-Go orders is (432)336-3066.
Carne Asada for Tacos at Home
2 limes, juiced
5 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup orange juice
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup olive or avocado oil
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 lbs. flank steak
In a gallon-size resealable bag, combine lime juice, crushed garlic, orange juice, cilantro, salt, pepper, olive oil, jalapeno, and vinegar.Close it and squeeze it around to mix it up.
Put the entire flank steak into the resealable bag. Seal it tight. Make sure all the meat is exposed to the marinade, moving the bag around to coat the meat. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, but overnight is best.
Heat an outdoor grill to high heat.
Remove the flank steak from the marinade, and discard excess marinade. Cook on the grill for 7 to 10 minutes per side.
Once done, remove from heat and let rest 10 minutes. Slice against the grain, and serve as the meat for your favorite tacos.