Help us up our taco game!
November 5, 2013 11:49 AM   Subscribe

So the fiance (eee) and I are participating in a local food festival based around a particular brand of smoker. One of the recipes we'd like to try is detailed inside and I have a rough idea of how I'd like to present it but we need ideas for a sauce and/or slaw.

So this is basically a fancy-pants beer can chicken recipe:

4-5lb all natural whole chicken
4 oz fresh chorizo sausage
1 can lager
1 dried ancho chili
1 small lime, cut into 8 wedges
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
1 tsp smoked sweet paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tsp granulated garlic
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
2 tbs sea salt
1 tbs fresh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons of olive oil

This is a tasting festival so ideally it will be small bite. I was planning on cutting flour tortillas into smallish soft tacos and adding the shredded chicken with a sauce and topping. Any suggestions for a really flavorful sauce (I was thinking a crema base?) or slaw/salad/taco-accent would be greatly appreciated. When we cook for ourselves it's usually meat plus carb plus veggie in piles, so this is out of our normal range. We are comfortable trying something complex though!

Feel free to tell me if we should go simple and let the chicken stand out. We'd like to add at least one other element though even if it's just a dab of sour cream or something.
posted by brilliantine to Food & Drink (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Well, it sounds like the chicken itself will be smoky and savory and rich, so you're gonna want something that's a good foil to that, that provides some contrasting characteristics WITHOUT clashing at all. So your idea of a crema-based sauce is a good one (cool/creamy goes AWESOME with hot/rich/savory). I'm thinking sour cream and/or crema, plus a leeeeeeeetle jalapeno or cilantro or lime in it, just to make it bright and interesting WITHOUT overpowering the chicken?

Alternate idea: thinly shred and lightly pickle some cabbage in a brine that echoes the flavors of your chicken (salt, sugar, vinegar, chiles, cumin).

Alternate-alternate idea: a fresh, green, tomatillo-based salsa of some kind?

Additional idea: be sure to toast the flour tortillas in a skillet with a teeny bit of fat... it takes a normal tortilla and elevates it to a fancy-pants GOURMET tortilla!
posted by julthumbscrew at 12:15 PM on November 5, 2013

Best answer: For the sauce, what about a creamy lime-cilantro dressing as a brightening contrast? It would work with the salad too, especially if you included toasted pumpkin seeds.
posted by carmicha at 12:17 PM on November 5, 2013

I'd go with a simple cilantro, chopped onion garnish for a bit of crunchy texture.

Offer this spicy sauce as optional: Salsa Doña, aka "Crack Sauce".
posted by fontophilic at 12:34 PM on November 5, 2013 [2 favorites]

This recipe for "Fish Stick Tacos" (sounds weird, tastes good!) has an accompanying chipotle-lime slaw and an avocado cream that would both be great with this recipe!

Overall, because of the strong flavors, I think an avocado component would be great.
posted by TrarNoir at 12:34 PM on November 5, 2013

so for garnish I would recommend salsa ingredients but before they were salsified. I'm picturing on top of your chicken and chosen sauce (maybe a nice dab of homemade roughly refried beans would do): a small piece of tomato, a piece of red onion, and a sprig of cilantro.
posted by cacao at 1:09 PM on November 5, 2013

I gotta ask: why not tiny soft corn tortillas?
posted by 2soxy4mypuppet at 4:04 PM on November 5, 2013

A simple slaw with very finely sliced cabbage, green onions, cilantro, lime juice and olive oil would be delicious! (kinda like this).
posted by Empidonax at 4:58 PM on November 5, 2013

Best answer: You mention beer can chicken, and a little bit off topic on your question, but you might want to check out this site. The guy can get a little alarmist in his writing, but he does know his stuff. There are plenty of vertical chicken roasting stands out there that will do the job (where you won't have to fiddle with setting the legs up as a necessary part of the trip of chicken legs and beer can).

Basically, what he says is that the can actually prevents the inside of the chicken from cooking along with the rest of the bird by blocking the airflow, and the moistening effect from the beer in the can is neglible at best. And, just as an added bit of fun, he points out that Budweiser even says their cans aren't made for grilling, and can't guarantee the chemicals in the printing won't interact in a negative way. It's a good read, and a pretty great site for BBQ, though he is very, very sure of his opinions.
posted by Ghidorah at 10:42 PM on November 5, 2013

« Older Are cliques the result of human nature, or a...   |   What happens to ACA-acquired insurance if the ACA... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.