Chelada Turkey Tacos

A Chelada is the name for the drink when you add lime and salt to a beer.  Sometimes people add hot sauce, herbs and spices, sometimes tomato juice, sometimes even Clamato.  They are also called Micheladas and what you may have gathered by now is that they're no real rules beyond salt and lime.

Well, ever since the weather started to warm up here in San Diego, we've been making more and more cheladas.  So when Honeysuckle White approached us to come up with a grilled turkey recipe, Chelada Turkey Tacos came immediately to mind.  They sent us the turkey and they even sent us a Flip HD camcorder to make videos.  Boo-yah!

The Chelada Turkey Tacos encompass four recipes:  the Chelada brine, a Roasted Corn Salsa, the Chipotle Sour Cream Sauce, and Alfredo's Tortillas.  Make each separately and assemble them to order, grill-side, for some delicious summertime BBQ-ing. 

The morning of, we butterflied the turkey, removed the backbone, and quartered it.  This would allow for the turkey to grill more evenly since the dark meat takes slightly longer to cook than the breast.  We then made a chelada brine to season the meat and to keep the meat moist on the grill. Here is a video on how to make the Chelada Brine:

Chelada Brine from Papawow on Vimeo.

Chelada Brine

  • 32 ounces V8 or tomato juice
  • 2 beers, Mexican beer works best
  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice plus the zest from the limes
  • 1/2 cup of salt
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of dried Mexican oregano
  • 5 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, smashed well

Once the meat has spent 2-3 hours in the brine it is ready for the grill.  Place the meat on a hot grill and cook, turning occasionally until the meat is done.  This can be anywhere between 25-45 minutes depending on the thickness of the meat and the temperature of your grill.  Turkey should be cooked to an internal temperature of 180 degrees F.

When the turkey goes on begin to roast your corn and red bell pepper for the Roasted Corn Salsa.  Go ahead and shred some cabbage and prepare the Chipotle Sour Cream Sauce also.  Make sure to keep the sour cream sauce in the fridge or cooler until it is ready to serve.

I'll be honest, the star of this recipe and the key to making them absolutely amazing is "Alfredo's" tortillas.  Alfredo was a guy in Mexico who taught my friend's father the technique of dipping the tortillas into a dressing before you grill them.  There is nothing quite like it.  

We didn't make Alfredo's exact recipe, we modified it to pair more closely with the Chelada turkey but the technique remains.  Below is our recipe and at the end of the post I will give the original Alfredo dip.

Alfredo's Dip (our version)

  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

Simply dip the tortillas into Alfredo's for 2 seconds on each side before throwing them on the grill.  Cook them, turning once, for about 60 seconds a side.  Plate and fill with toppings for tacos or burritos. 

Roasted Corn Salsa

  • 2 cobs of corn, shucked and grilled until they become spotty with grill marks, the cut from the cob
  • 1 red bell pepper, grilled and diced fine
  • The juice of one lime
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced cilantro
  • Salt and pepper

Mix all of these together and set aside in a bowl.  This is a wonderful universal salsa that goes great on almost everything.


Chipotle Sour Cream Sauce (printable recipe)

  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, smashed up fine plus 1 Tablespoon of adobo sauce
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

Incorporate all of the ingredients and fill a squirt bottle with them.  You may need a funnel to fill the bottle.  Keep the sauce refrigerated or in the cooler until you are ready to eat.   

How to assemble a Chelada Turkey Taco:

How to assemble a Chelada Turkey Taco from Papawow on Vimeo.

Once the turkey is done, shred it into bite-sized pieces.  Shred some cabbage.  Dip a tortilla, grill for a minute or two, add some turkey, the cabbage, the Roasted Corn Salsa, and squirt some of the Chipotle Sour Cream Sauce on top and you have yourself a Chelada Turkey Taco!


Alfredo's Original Tortilla Dipping Sauce (which is also a marinade)

  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup corn oil
  • 1 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon season salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic
  • up to 1 cup sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoons Lea & Perrin's Worcestershire Sauce
Authordavid koch