Years ago I had a cute little electric smoker…. He was red and reminded me of a little Star Wars droid. I even named him R2. This little smoker was super easy to use and always produced tender juicy smoked meats. Sadly about 2 years ago the electric element went out and that was the end of my little “R2” smoker.
About a month ago I decided it was time to replace my smoker but instead of going for the little “Droid” like electric smoker I decided on a Weber charcoal/wood smoker. This new smoker is more than twice the size of my old one at a whopping 22 inches in diameter and can cook a substantial amount of Texas sized meats.
I think I will name this one Vader.
One of the first things I wanted to cook on my new smoker was chicken. For the last few years I’ve depended on my local grocery store and always purchased a smoked rotisserie chicken from the deli, and while it was always good it was never as good as a true smoked chicken.
So when I fire up my smoker I like to cook a couple of chickens to use throughout the week.
You can use this smoked chicken for just about everything like Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Soup …
You can make countless types of Enchiladas….
Like my Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas (recipe coming soon)
and who can forget Mom’s Chicken and Rice….
Smoked Chicken is even perfect on top of Pizzas like this Creamy Hatch Green Chile Pizza….
Yes there are countless ways to use up smoked chicken but my favorite is always in a Taco….
These are my Smoked Chicken Tacos With Roasted Poblano Salsa Verde served alongside smoked, sweet corn on the cob slathered in chili lime butter.
Spicy Tex-Mex Smoked Chicken
2 – 4 1/2 to 5 pound Whole Chickens
I have my butcher remove backbone and breastbone (called Spatchcocking) so the birds will lay flat on the smoker and cook faster. Plus I think this also allows the smoke to really penetrate into the meat of the chicken.
The Tex-Mex Spice Rub
Makes enough Rub for 2 whole Chickens
1 Teaspoon Chipotle Chili Powder
1 Teaspoon Ancho Chili Powder
1 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
2 Teaspoons Cumin
2 Teaspoons Garlic Powder
1 Teaspoon Onion Powder
Salt and Pepper (to Personal Taste)
Measure out all the spices into a bowl and stir to combine. Then rub the spices rub all over both sides of the chickens. Cover and refrigerate over night. Remove the chickens about 1 hour before putting them on the smoker so they can come up to room temperature. Smoke according to your smoker directions. I cook my chickens between 250-300 degrees F for about 3 – 3½ hours or until the juices run clear and the thermometer reads 170. I smoke with Mesquite charcoal and small apple wood chunks.
Once the chickens are done remove from the smoker and cover with foil. Allow the chickens to rest for at least 30 minutes.
While the chickens are resting whip up the Roasted Poblano Salsa and prepare the toppings for the tacos.
Roasted Poblano Salsa Verde
Makes about 3 cups of Salsa
4 Roasted Poblano Peppers
3 Jalapeños (or to taste)*
3-4 Small Cloves Garlic
2 Handfuls Cilantro
2 Limes, (juice and zest)
2 Teaspoons Cumin
½ Small Yellow Onion, finely chopped
Salt & Black Pepper
**For a mild Salsa use 1 jalapeño
For a medium Salsa use 2 jalapeño
For a hot Salsa use 3 jalapeño
Sometimes depending on the time of year, the variety of jalapeño, and where the jalapeños were grown, they can have a wide array of heat levels. If you are sensitive to spicy food or are not sure how hot you want your salsa start with 1 pepper in your salsa and adjust it from there.
Roast the Poblano Chiles and the jalapeño under the broiler, on the grill or if you have a gas stove top directly on the burner until the peppers are blackened.
Place the roasted peppers in a zip top bag and allow them to steam for 15-20 minutes. Then simply rub off the skin, and remove the stems and seeds.
Place the roasted peppers, garlic, lime juice, lime zest, cumin and cilantro in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Puree until smooth, season with salt & black pepper (to taste) and add in the finely chopped onion. Pulse 3-4 times to combine.
Shredded up 1 Smoked Chicken into small bite sized pieces and mix with half the Roasted Poblano Salsa Verde (This makes enough taco filling to feed a hungry family of 4-6.
To serve set up a make your own Taco Bar with….
14-16 Small White Corn Tortillas (Warmed on a grill or stove top until they just start to char, this keeps the corn tortillas from falling apart. Keep warm in a tortilla warmer.)
3-4 Avocados Thinly Sliced (squeeze a little lime juice on top to keep them from browning)
8 oz. Crumbled Queso Fresco
1 Bunch of Cilantro (for garnish)
Thinly Sliced Red Onions
Along with the Remaining Roasted Poblano Salsa Verde
These Tacos are perfect served with Black Beans, Rice or even better with Smoked Corn On the Cob With Chili Lime Butter.
This corn on the cob is a super easy recipe that everyone will enjoy!
Smoked Corn On The Cob With Chili Lime Butter
5-7 Ears of Corn on The Cob
1 Stick of Butter, at room temperature
1 Teaspoon Chili Powder
½ Teaspoon Cumin
½ Teaspoon Garlic Powder
½ Teaspoon Kosher Sea Salt (to taste)
¼ Teaspoon Black Pepper (to taste)
The zest from one large lime
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
After you have removed the chickens from the smoker add little chunk of wood to the smoker going again. It doesn’t have to be very how we just want the smokey flavor.
Meanwhile carefully peel the husks back from the corn and remove the silks. Then pull the husks back up around the ear of corn.
Once the water has come to a boil turn off the heat and place the corn in the hot water. Allow the corn to sit in the hot water for 10-15 minutes.
Then place the soaked ears of corn on the smoker for 20-30 minutes.
While the corn is on the smoker mix together the butter, spices and the lime zest in a small bowl.
Slather the hot smoked corn all over with the Chili Lime Butter.
* If you don’t have the smoker going this corn can be grilled instead. Just remove the husks and the silks, put the corn in the hot water for 15 minutes, the cook the corn on the grill turning often until the corn just starts to char.