Indigenous Tacos

Sean Sherman


Beth Dooley


“When we launched the Tatanka Truck, we took the idea of the fast food—Indian Tacos—and slowed it down with authentic ingredients. This is a delicious and superhealthy alternative to the fry bread and commodity hamburger version. Use leftover Cedar-Braised Beans or Griddled Maple Squash in lieu of the ground bison in this recipe. The recipe is easily expanded to feed a crowd.” —Sean Sherman with Beth Dooley in their 2018 Beard Award–winning cookbook, The Sioux Chef's Indigenous Kitchen


  • 2 to 3 pounds ground bison
  • Generous pinch of salt
  • Generous pinch ground juniper
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 4 wild onions or 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped sage leaves
  • 1/2 cup corn, wild rice, or vegetable stock
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons maple syrup to taste
  • Corn Cakes
  • Wojape 
  • Corn Nuts and chopped sorrel for garnish 


Make the corn stock: save the corncobs after you’ve enjoyed boiled or roasted corn on the cob or you’ve cut the kernels for use in a recipe. Put the corncobs into a pot and cover with water by about 1 inch. Bring to a boil and partially cover. Reduce the heat and simmer until the stock tastes “corny,” about 1 hour. Discard the cobs. Store the stock in a covered container in the refrigerator or freezer.


Make the wild rice stock: do not discard wild rice cooking water. It makes an excellent cooking stock for soups, stews, and sauces.

Season the bison with the salt and juniper. Heat the sunflower oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat and add the onions. Cook the onions until softened and lightly browned, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the bison and sage to the Dutch oven, and cook until browned, about 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally to break up the meat. Add the stock, bring to a simmer, and cook until the liquid is reduced to a glaze, about 3 minutes. Season the glazed meat with the maple syrup. Serve the meat over the corn cakes and drizzle with Wojape. Garnish the tacos with sorrel and top them with corn nuts for a nice crunch.

CHEF'S NOTE: for vegetarian and vegan tacos, replace the bison with Cedar-Braised Beans.


From The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen by Sean Sherman with Beth Dooley (University of Minnesota Press, 2017). Copyright 2017 Ghost Dancer, LLC. All rights reserved. Used by permission of the University of Minnesota Press.


6 to 8 servings