Smoked Chicken Tacos

These smoked chicken tacos with Cuban black beans, and spicy chicken skin crisps turned out better than I imagined. Early in the day I made salsa verde and pickled radishes from scratch. Later that night, I smoked chicken thighs rubbed in ancho chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper for about 40 minutes in a Camerons Stovetop Smoker.

While the thighs rested, I removed their spicy skins and grilled them in a cast iron skillet. I left the drippings in the skillet and warmed whole wheat tortillas for the tacos until they puffed. I assembled the tacos with shredded chicken, salsa verde, radish, sour cream, cilantro, and fresh lime. I served the beans on the side after slow cooking in sautéed bell pepper and garlic, cumin and oregano.

Paul poured an excellent pairing of Sancerre from @hubert_brochard bought locally from @joeswinesmemphis. Find the recipes for the salsa verde, pickled radishes, tacos and black beans below.

Smoked Chicken Tacos with Grilled Chicken Skin Crisps

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Moderate
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Ingredients:

  • 4 Chicken thighs
  • 2 Tbsp Ancho chile powder or other chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp mesquite wood chips for a Camerons smoker
  • 6 flour tortillas (whole wheat preferred)
  • Salsa verde (see below)
  • Pickled radishes (see below)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • 1 lime cut into 6 wedges

Directions:

  1. Mix the dry spices together in a large bowl then rub into the chicken thighs to coat. Gently loosen the fat layer without tearing it to spread the mix between the fat and the meat of the thigh.
  2. Place thighs bone-side down on the rack inside a Camerons smoker with plenty of space between them. Slide the lid on until its almost closed and place on a mid-size eye on your stove. Turn the eye on high. When you see wisps of smoke, fully slide the lid closed and smoke for 40 minutes or until the interior of the thigh registers 165F.
  3. Remove thighs from the Camerons smoker to a plate and gently cut the skins off each thing. Cover the thighs with aluminum foil while they rest.
  4. Grill the spice rubbed skins on a cast iron skillet at medium heat until crispy on both sides. Remove thighs to a plate to cool.
  5. Use two forks to shred the meat from the chicken thighs. Cover to keep warm.
  6. Use the same iron skillet to grill one side of the tortillas until the top side begins to puff slightly. remove the tortilla to a plate. Plate grilled side up and dress with chicken, warmed salsa verde, sour cream, pickled radishes, cilantro and wedge of fresh lime. Serve with grilled chicken skin crisps and black beans.

Salsa Verde

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:

  • 28 oz can of whole green tomatillos, drained
  • 1 white onion, quartered
  • 4 serrano chiles, stemmed and chopped in half
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 12 sprigs cilantro
  • 2 tbsp. cooking oil
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt

Directions:

  1. Place first four ingredients into a large pot. Add water until tomatillos are just covered. Bring to a boil on high heat and then simmer on low for 10 minutes.
  2. Transfer the contents of the pot to a blender and blend with the cilantro until the cilantro leaves and stems are broken into small pieces.
  3. Heat oil in the same pot on the stove on medium. Add contents of blender and salt to the pot and simmer on low for about 20 minutes. Adjust salt to taste.

In addition to tacos, your salsa verde is delicious served on softly scrambled eggs.

Pickled Radishes

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of red radishes (10-12 average size)
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1.5 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 cup warm water

Directions:

  1. Slice radishes thinly with a mandolin.
  2. Add sliced radishes to a glass jar with a lid.
  3. Add apple cider vinegar, salt, sugar, and warm water to the jar, close the lid, and shake vigorusly. Allow radishes to set in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Consume within 2 weeks.

Cubanish Black Beans

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp cooking oil
  • 1/2 bell pepper (any color), chopped
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 14.5 oz can of black beans

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a small pot to medium on the stove top. Add chopped peppers and salt. Stir until they begin to soften. Stir in garlic and oregano for one minute until fragrant.
  2. Add cumin and black beans to pot and mix thoroughly. When the beans begin to bubble, turn heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes.

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