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Taco Sunday!!

I've loved Mexican food for years and barbecue, going to its roots as barbacoa, is a great way to prepare it.

I've had the book 'Tacos' by Alex Stupak and Jordan Rothman for a while but not done any of the recipes yet. The book can be a bit impenetrable for those not used to this way of cooking, but when the recipes are done in the spirit of what you are used to, then they are a lot easier as the familiarity kicks in. The book urges the use of making your own 'masa', the ground corn that is 'nixtamalised' in alkaline solution to make the 'dough' that the tacos are cooked from. After eventually tracking down 'masa harina', effectively dried masa that can be mixed with water to form 'taco dough', on an online retailer, making the tacos was really simple, much more so than making flatbreads with yeast or baking powder, certainly a lot less kneading (no kneading in fact!). The recipe is also simple, 3 parts masa harina flour to 2 parts water (by volume). Then mix together, make balls, press between the tortilla press (having this piece of kit is probably the biggest block to this recipe, I'd had one for a while but just hadn't used it!). Then place the flat tortillas on a griddle to cook on both sides, flipping every 10-30 seconds or so. As a first time effort they came out better than I expected for a newbie.

The taco isn't itself a meal, so it needed something to wrap around. I've never done pulled chicken on the barbecue so today seemed a good place to start and an ideal recipe to do it with. The chicken was brined for a few hours in cider vinegar, lemon juice, salt and olive oil. I used a rub I purchased on a recent family holiday in the US, it was a Tequila Lime seasoning, which wasn't too spicy (for the tastes of the rest of the family) but still had a stimulating flavour.

The chicken, mostly thigh but a couple of breasts for those who prefer those (not sure why, they were always going to be really dry!) was cooked at around 225F till the internal temperature was 170F, which took 3-4 hrs. I even added some peppers to cook alongside the chicken, closer to the coals to get a little char.

The chicken was pulled/ shredded when it was around 170F internal temp, and the thigh meat was nice and juicy (less so for the breast meat! Not my choice!). I served it with the tacos which had been keeping warm in a clean, dry tea towel, some guacamole, nachos, and garnished with coriander and chilli peppers.

This was a great dish, and easier in some ways than others of a similar apparent complexity. The tortilla press is a must, which you wouldn't 't need for a flat bread for example. The chicken could be done in greater scales in the Weber Smokey Mountain rather than on the kettle which I did for this quantity. The taco preparation could be speeded up with practice, and a team to help!


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