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Blue Moon Beer-Brined Smoked BBQ Chicken Hard Shell Taco with the Works

Tacos like you’ve never tasted before! Try this amazing recipe Rachael created for Feedback 2015 in Austin and for our wonderful sponsor, Blue Moon!


For the brine:

  • 1 bottle beer, such as Blue Moon Summer Honey Wheat
  • 2 quarts water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 4 chicken leg/thigh quarters
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For the BBQ Sauce:

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dark amber maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1/4 -1/2 cup beer or chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (1/3 palmful)
  • Coarse black pepper
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To Assemble/Garnish:

  • 1 cup yellow cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/3 pound bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 2 cups lettuce, chopped
  • 1 tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 cup pickled jalapeños
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
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For the chicken:

Place the chicken in a large resealable plastic bag or container big enough to fit. Mix the brine ingredients in a large bowl to dissolve the salt and pour over the chicken. Let brine overnight. Remove from the fridge, separate the chicken from the brine and let come to room temperature for about 30 minutes – you may discard the brine.

Pre-heat the smoker/oven to 300ºF.

Arrange a wire rack over a baking sheet. Arrange the chicken on the rack and slow-cook for 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours, or until fully cooked, 165 degrees. When cool enough to handle, pull the chicken, discarding the skin and bones.

For the BBQ Sauce:

Combine all ingredients for the BBQ Sauce in a small saucepot and cook over a low bubble for 15-20 minutes. Reserve.

Toss pulled chicken with enough BBQ sauce to coat and keep warm.

Place chicken in taco shells and garnish with your choice of cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato, pickled jalapeño and red onion. 

Rachael Ray