Smoked and Shredded Chicken Taco Recipe

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1:20 - Prep 0:20 / Cook 1:00

This Smoked and Shredded Chicken Taco recipe begins with a spatchcocked chicken. It’s seasoned with a hot paprika dry rub and smoked over apple wood. Then, the chicken is shredded and spiced up with a taco seasoning with guajillo peppers and pasilla chiles. Topped with homemade pico de gallo, queso fresco, avocados, jalapeno, cilantro, lime wedges and hot sauce, it’s served on a flour tortilla.

About the Cut:

A spatchcock or spatchcocked chicken is a whole chicken with the backbone removed to lay flat, which makes it cook more quickly and evenly.

6-8 Servings


Dry Rub
  • 1 tablespoon hot paprika
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 whole chicken (3-5 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-3 apple or cherry wood chunks
Taco Seasoning
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 tomatillos
  • 2 guajillo peppers
  • 1 pasilla chile
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 1 garlic clove
Pico de Gallo
  • 6 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, partially seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 corn or flour tortillas
  • 1 1/2 cup queso fresco, crumbled
  • 2 avocados, diced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, thinly sliced
  • > fresh cilantro
  • > lime wedges
  • > hot sauce
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Step 1 Of 9
1. Preheat your smoker to 275°F and toss wood chunks onto hot coals for smoking.
2. Using meat shears or a sharp knife, remove the backbone from the chicken. Then, cut through the breastbone from the inside so the chicken can lay flat like an open book. Brush both sides with olive oil.
3. Combine paprika, salt, pepper, garlic powder and cumin in a small bowl. Sprinkle the dry rub on both sides of the chicken.
4. Place chicken on hot grates. Cook until the internal temperature reaches 165°F, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
5. In a medium-size saucepan, add water and bring to a boil. Add tomatillos, guajillo peppers, pasilla chiles, onion and garlic. Boil for 10 minutes. Transfer boiling liquid to a food processor and pulse to a semi-liquid paste.
6. Remove the chicken from your smoker and let rest at room temperature for 15 minutes.
7. Using heat-resistant gloves or meat claws, shred the chicken and discard the bones. Mix in taco seasoning.
8. In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, onion, jalapeño, cilantro, lime juice and salt. Set aside.
9. Assemble each taco with shredded chicken, pico de gallo and your favorite toppings.
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