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
9 CommentsPost a comment


Two months ago, my girlfriend and I moved across an ocean.  Our first big purchase, before the boxes of clothing and kitchen supplies even arrived at our new abode, was a Big Green Egg.  The Egg has been faithful ever since*.


For those not familiar with the Big Green Egg (“BGE”), it is a barbecue and smoker with...

AuthorLoren Tama


photo by bashfordphoto by Photo Mojo

Ahh Beer Can Chicken, a staple food growing up and always a go-to grill option for my father.  The logic is sound, prop up the bird so that the breast meat is not scorched by the direct heat of the grill and thus dried out.  The beer gently steams the cavity adding a subtle nuance of malted barley and hops; the liquid also adding to the moisture of the meat.  Brilliant.

But wait.  Is there a plastic liner in my beer can?  What's this about Bisphenol-A (BPA)?  Is BPA going to kill me?  What about the paint on the outside?  Is it true that Aluminum is linked to Alzheimer's Disease?  Oh my gosh, is my Beer Can Chicken going to kill me?

This debate sprung up recently and I decided to check the facts.  Note:  I'm not a doctor but I had a cameo as one in a school play.  Let's begin:

Is there a plastic liner in my beer can?
- Most likely.  Beer and soda are reactive to metals and would taste horrible out of a can without a liner of sorts.  There is a wonderful article on the History of the Beverage Can by the Museum of Beverage Containers and Advertising that states that lined cans hit the market in 1935 - and the industry, basically, never looked back.

This is an image of the plastic liner inside a beverage can that has had the aluminum exposed by dissolving it in acid (photo courtesy of Steve Spangler Science):

What is all this news about BPA?
- BPA is a building block of many everyday plastics.  Researchers have correlated exposure to BPA to heart disease, diabetes and possibly cancer.  Consumer awareness about BPA hit an all time high last April when news detailed baby bottles that contain BPA and Nalgene quickly removed its water bottles from shelves.

Is BPA going to kill me?
- Maybe.  Not from drinking beer it appears [thank god] but a recent study by the Center for Disease Control fount BPA to be present in 93% of the population in the U.S.  That's how everyday this stuff is. 

In 1995, the Society of the Plastics Industry, ran a study to quantify the migration of BPA from can coatings.  They determined that an average adult consumer would have to consume "about 500 pounds of canned food and beverages every day for an entire lifetime to exceed the safe level of BPA set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)."

Before you sigh a breath of relief, there are some mitigating factors here... Do you trust that the EPA has correctly determined what safe exposures to BPA are?  Do you trust the results of a BPA study conducted by the Society of the Plastic Industry?  Why hasn't anyone studied the exposure generated by grilling a can of beer that's been stuffed in a chicken's rear end?

What about the paint on the outside?
- Hmm, I've got nothing for ya - except Little Jimmy used to eat paint chips and we all know how he turned out...

Is it true that Aluminum is linked to Alzheimer's Disease?
- "They" don't think so.  The link between Aluminum and Alzheimer's was first put forward in 1965 and aluminum has been shown to be present in both plaques and tangles in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease.  I know people who avoid antiperspirant because they contain aluminum-based compounds.

According to the Alzheimer's Society; however, "The overwhelming medical and scientific opinion is that the findings outlined above do not convincingly demonstrate a causal relationship between aluminum and Alzheimer's disease, and that no useful medical or public health recommendations can be made− at least at present (Massey and Taylor 1989)."

Oh my gosh, is my Beer Can Chicken going to kill me?
- I am completely unqualified to answer this, but... I don't think so.  For what it's worth, this is my logic:  As long as beer is still inside the can, the temperature won't reach much more than 212 degrees F, the boiling point of water. 

The boiling point of BPA is about 428 degrees F, so whatever BPA there might be inside the can liner, likely won't cook into the food.  If it does, it will stay mostly inside the cavity of the bird and considering how unappetising chicken ribs are, no one is likely going to be eating them. 

The paint on the outside follows the same rules as far as I'm concerned.  Ensure there is enough liquid in the can and the paint probably won't bake off either.

As far as the aluminum goes, just think about how much plastic and paint there is on that can protecting you from that nasty aluminum...

There is a great debate on Beer Can Chicken going on in the Chowhound forums, here is my favorite comment so far:

I think to many people are a little to panicky about these simple heath issues. You never heard anyone say anything back in the day when we all as kids drank from the garden hose. How about putting marshmallows on a tree branch to roast them? Maybe an insect deficated [sic] on that branch, or maybe it was sprayed with mesquito [sic] spray, who knows? - Jimbosox04

Lastly, if you want to see how beverage cans are manufactured, thank How it's Made by the Discovery Channel for making this video.

Authordavid koch
3 CommentsPost a comment


From the folks who brought us the Guacamole Song, Rhett and Link, comes the BBQ song.  I wish I had enough talent to write funny jingles about food... oh, that would be the life.  These two are quite talented and, I believe, are even sponsored by Alka Seltzer.  Brilliant!

Best quote from the song?

"Alabama has the strangest thing I've seen in my barbecue days

their barbecue sauce is WHITE, made out of mayonnaise"



Authordavid koch
CategoriesHumor, Videos

What's a 49er BBQ?

A 49er BBQ is something you can whip up in a small apartment on a foggy day with an electric stove from the 1960s and still have people second guess if it was done on a grill or not. Well, they'll know there wasn't a grill, but it'll be delicious nonetheless.

We made pork spareribs, pinquito beans, and Southern greens on a recent lazy Sunday.

The ribs are done using a technique I learned from Alton Brown. The pinquito beans are, more or less, Santa Maria BBQ style. The greens I kept Southern.

The ribs and the beans take at least 2-3 hours but the greens, once prepped, only take 5-10 minutes to cook - so plan accordingly. I started the beans with a "short-cook method," since I didn't soak the dried beans overnight, they needed to be par-cooked. Then, I made the dry rub and got the ribs into the oven. Last, I prepped the greens and put them aside to finish.


  • 1 slab of pork spare ribs
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 Tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumon
  • 1 Teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 Teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 Tablespoon kosher salt

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Trim fat from ribs thoroughly; these will be done in the oven and excess fat will not render as if it were on a grill. Lay out 2 sheets of aluminum foil, each of which are 8 inches longer than the spareribs. Lay the 2 sheets of foil on your workspace to make 1 extra wide piece of foil. Overlap an inch from each piece and crimp several times to form a tight seal. Place the ribs in the middle. Combine spices in a bowl, then generously rub across the ribs. Don't forget to get both sides.

Fold up the top and bottom of the foil together and crimp in the same fashion for a seal. Do the same with either side. You should have a tight 'bag' made from aluminium foil. Place on a baking sheet for easier transportation and in case of spillage. Place into the oven for 2 hours. Check after 2 hours for done-ness; gently unfurl the foil sides. A bone should rotate easily around the meat, indicating that everything is tender. If not, place back into the oven and check again after 15 minute increments.

Once ribs are soft, open of the foil so that they are exposed and turn the oven to broil. Baste the top of the ribs several times with the juices in the bottom of the baking sheet using a pastry brush. Watch closely because they will burn quickly; this will take about 5 minutes. When a good crust is formed, pull from the oven, close up the foir around them, and let them rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing.





  • 1/2 pound of dried pinquito beans, also called pink beans
  • 1 teaspoon of powered mustard
  • 2 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 yellow onion, minced
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of chili sauce (I used Srirachi)
  • 1/2 jalapeno (I like it spicy, but you can omit this)

Sort the dried beans on a plate or baking sheet to remove any stones.  Soak the beans in water overnight if you can.  If you are not able to soak, place the beans into a large pot, add a gallon of water [or so] and bring it to to a boil.  Kill the heat, cover, and allow to sit for an hour.  This is called the "short-cook method."


Drain the liquid once complete and continue with the recipe. Once you have soaked or done the "short-cook method" with the beans, add them into a pot and add enough water to cover them by one inch.   Add the rest of your ingredients. 

Simmer uncovered until the beans are soft, about an hour.  The level of liquid should be kept flush with the height of the beans, add water as needed.


1 pound of leafy greens: kale, beet, collard, chard, etc...
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup dried currants or raisins
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon kosher salt

De-stem the greens and rinse/wash thoroughly. This may take several baths in water and several spins around the spinner. Chop coarsely. Since the greens take only 5 minutes, begin cooking only when the ribs and beans are done.

Add the butter and olive oil to a hot pan, keep the heat on medium-high. Once the butter is melted and begins to brown, add the greens. Add the currants, celery salt, kosher salt, pepper, and vinegar. Stir occasionally until softened and done, about 5 minutes.

Plate everything in neat little piles.

You may touch up a little BBQ sauce if you like. I'm not a total purist and if that floats your boat... then, who am I to blow against the wind?


Authordavid koch

Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits with BBQ pulled Turkey - photo by my amii

I really wanted to make Pulled BBQ Turkey for a healthier option to pulled pork.  However, I looked all over the internet and could not find a recipe which I wanted to imitate.  I've made Emeril's BBQ Pulled Pork before, which turned out great, so I used the same principles (specifically, the wet basting sauce) and incorporated them into my own turkey version.

Pulled Turkey with Homemade BBQ Sauce

3-4 lb turkey breast, on the bone with skin
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne

Wet Basting Sauce adapted from Emeril Lagasse 
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 T red pepper flakes
1 T salt
1/2 T pepper

Barbecue sauce
3 T butter
1/2 of a yellow onion, finely chopped
1 tsp garlic, chopped
1/2 cup ketchup
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 T Worcestershire sauce
3 T brown sugar
3 T mustard powder
2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 cup water
1 T tomato paste

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Place the seasonings for turkey (salt, pepper, paprika and cayenne) in small bowl.  Rub spice mixture on turkey - be sure to rub under the skin while leaving skin in tact. Let marinate for 30 minutes.

Prepare wet basting sauce:  Combine vinegars, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and whisk to combine flavors.

Barbecue sauce: Saute onions in butter until soft, add garlic and sauté for 30 more seconds.  Add ketchup, cider vinegar, brown sugar, Worcestershire, mustard powder, paprika, cayenne, water and tomato paste.  Let simmer for 30 minutes. Puree with blender (emersion or regular), and add back to pot. Taste and adjust seasonings.  NOTE: This sauce is a sweet style barbecue.  If you prefer a spicier sauce try adding 1 T chipotle in adobe sauce to mixture while simmering.

Place seasoned turkey in a baking dish and cover with foil. Roast in oven for 20 minutes, then baste with wet sauce, continue basting every 20-30 minutes.  Slow roast turkey for about 2 hours. Once cooked, remove turkey to cutting board and let cool. Discard skin and bones and shred turkey meat.  Pour prepared BBQ sauce over shredded meat.

Serve on buns with pickles and coleslaw.

Serves 4

AuthorAmy Koch
2 CommentsPost a comment