Chow Town

Powdered cheese, please: Watch In-a-Tub make fried tacos

Taco talk at In-a-Tub

Chow Town Live visits In-a-Tub, a Northland tradition that's famous for its fried tacos. The Star's Sarah Gish talks to In-a-Tub president Aaron Beeman about the taco shop's history, favorite menu items and, of course, powdered cheese.
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Chow Town Live visits In-a-Tub, a Northland tradition that's famous for its fried tacos. The Star's Sarah Gish talks to In-a-Tub president Aaron Beeman about the taco shop's history, favorite menu items and, of course, powdered cheese.

At In-a-Tub, a Northland tradition that has been in business for 60 years, customers go crazy for the tacos, which are deep-fried until hot and crispy and then topped with red sauce, shredded lettuce and bright yellow powdered cheese.

The tacos make up nearly 50 percent of sales at the In-a-Tub location at 4000 N. Oak Trafficway, says president Aaron Beeman, who started working at In-a-Tub when he was a teenager.

On Wednesday, Beeman let our Chow Town Live crew into his kitchen to see how the tacos are made. His closely guarded recipe involves locally made Perez tortillas, fresh ground beef that has never been frozen, and three types of sauce: mild, hot and extra hot.

On the show — which you can watch more of here — Beeman said that powdered cheese has become increasingly hard to come by in recent years. He buys 2,000 pounds of the stuff at a time, which costs $10,000. That’s a lot of cheddar.

Customers who want shredded or nacho cheese can request it, but most stick with the powdered, which clings to the tacos better than those other varieties. It’s not uncommon for some to request an extra container of it.

“I try to keep (the tacos) as close to the original recipe as possible,” Beeman said, adding that regulars wouldn’t like it if he switched things up.

He joked that if In-a-Tub stopped using powdered cheese, regulars might come after him with pitchforks: “I’m afraid I would meet a horrible fate.”

Hungry for more In-a-Tub? Here’s more from our blog:

Holy powdered cheese: Nine things I learned on my first trip to In-a-Tub

In-a-Tub vs. Taco Via: What’s the difference?

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