With a burst of smoky flavor and all the right spices, Barbecue Chicken Street Tacos are the tacos of your dreams! We’re going all out with juicy, smokey and sweet barbecue chicken, creamy Mexican Street Corn, avocado and cotija, all cocooned in a warm corn tortilla. Perfect for Taco Tuesdays and all summer long, they are a favorite for family dinners, backyard barbecues and celebrations
WHAT IS THE BEST CHICKEN FOR MEXICAN STREET TACOS?
Our favorite is Smoked Barbecued Chicken Breasts, but the magical thing about this recipe is that you can use your favorite chicken, favorite cooking technique, and favorite sauce or glaze. Who could ask for anything more?
SMOKED BARBECUED CHICKEN: Chicken breasts or thighs work best for this method. Prepare on your smoker or grill, sauce it up, slice or chop it up, and you're ready to go! We love the smokey barbecue flavor!
ROTISSERIE CHICKEN: Cut rotisserie chicken into pieces, sauce it up, and heat until warmed through.
SHREDDED CHICKEN: Simmer or roast chicken until cooked, using your favorite barbecue or fiesta seasonings. When tender and cooked through, shred meat, sauce it up and keep warm.
LEFTOVER CHICKEN: Remove all skin and cut leftover chicken into slices or pieces, drizzle with your favorite sauce or glaze, and heat until warmed through.
BARBECUE CHICKEN STREET TACOS & MEXICAN STREET TACOS - IT'S ALL ABOUT THE TOPPINGS:
Traditional Mexican Street Tacos are usually simple, and served with fresh chopped onion, cilantro, Mexican crema (similar to sour cream), a squeeze of fresh lime juice and hot sauce. The great thing about street tacos is that everyone can build their own "custom" taco, which may be why these are always so popular for dinner and entertaining! If you're serving lots of extra toppings, you may want to offer larger tortillas rather than street-size tortillas. For Barbecue Chicken Street Tacos you might also enjoy these toppings:
WHAT ARE THE BEST TORTILLAS FOR TACOS?
While flour tortillas are larger and better suited for burritos and quesadilla, corn tortillas have a unique texture and taste, and are the go-to tortillas for Mexican tacos, street tacos and taquitos.
If you've already decided to go with corn tortillas over flour tortillas, you've still got to choose between two kinds: white and yellow. Do you know the difference between the two?
Compared to its yellow counterpart, white corn tortillas tend to be softer with a more tender texture. Because they have a higher moisture content, they are also more pliable. These corn tortillas can be easily rolled and folded without cracking or breaking - ideal for enchiladas and flautas.
Yellow corn tortillas, on the other hand, tend to be slightly thinner than their white counterpart, and they also tend to be more coarsely textured. Because of the lower moisture content, they aren't as pliable and are more likely to crack when rolled. Yellow corn tortillas have the best flavor and texture for tacos, tostadas and frying into tortilla chips.
WARM TORTILLAS ARE THE SECRET TO THE BEST TACOS!
I'm not asking you to make your own tortillas, unless that's what your heart is telling you to do! Store-bought tortillas will work just fine, but I do recommend warm tortillas for this recipe - heating them up is so important! Warming the tortilla releases their flavor and aroma, and makes them soft and pliable so that they won't crack when filled.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO WARM UP TORTILLAS?
With a little know-how, you can reheat tortillas so they're worthy of the things they hold! You can easily warm your tortillas using any of the methods below. Once your tortillas are warmed, keep them warm and pliable by stacking them on a plate and covering with a slightly dampened, warmed paper towel or in a tortilla warmer.
In The Oven: Preheat oven to 350°F. Create separate stacks of 5 tortillas each, then wrap each stack in foil. Pop them all in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until heated through. They'll steam inside the packet and stay nice and soft. Keep them wrapped until you're ready to serve. With this method, you can warm multiple stacks of tortillas at the same time. It’s the slowest method, but the best for entertaining a crowd.
In The Microwave: This method is great when you have a large number of tortillas to heat in a hurry. Working with about 5-7 tortillas at a time, stack tortillas on a microwave safe plate and cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave for 20 seconds on high, then repeat at 10 second intervals if needed until warmed through.
Open Flame (Grilling): This method creates a smoky char on the tortillas and is best with fresh homemade tortillas. Using your gas stove or grill, set a tortilla over a gas burner on medium-low heat. When the tortilla is just starting to char, use a pair of tongs to flip it over and char the other side. Remove and stack the tortillas in a warm towel as you char the rest. You can do this on two, or three, or four burners if you're very coordinated. (This is probably not the best method if you need to heat dozens of tortillas at a time.) You can use the same technique on a grill or grill pan. If you are using thin tortillas, you will want to take special care not to over-char or they will become brittle and break - you want the tortillas to stay soft and pliable.
Skillet: For a smaller amount, heat a skillet (or griddle) to medium high heat – do NOT grease the surface. Working with one tortilla at a time (or more on a griddle if you have room), heat each side of the tortilla for approximately 20 seconds until warm and soft. You will not get char marks with this method. You can also put a wire baking rack over a skillet of simmering water, and set up to 5 tortillas on that to warm up. Cover with a wide lid until the heat from the fillings steams the tortilla shells.
1 ½ pounds chicken breasts or thighs pounded to an even thickness
10-12 mini corn tortillas
¼ cup Barbecue Sweet Rub
½ cup apple cider
BARBECUE SWEET RUB:
¼ cup dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
2 teaspoons cracked black pepper
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon ground mustard
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (add more for an extra flavor kick)
WET RUB BARBECUE MARINADE:
2 tablespoons Barbecue Sweet Rub
2 tablespoons olive oil
Zest and juice of one lime
2 tablespoons apple cider
purple cabbage (sliced thin)
red onion (chopped)
1 large avocado (sliced thin)
Mexican Street Corn
Cotija or Feta cheese (crumbled)
2 fresh limes (sliced or quartered for squeezing)
Barbecue Sauce (your favorite flavor)
HOW I MAKE THESE:
YIELD: 10-12 tacos
Original recipe published June 2017; revised and reposted July 2022.
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