Beer Braised Turkey Tacos


A wiser fellow than myself once said, “Sometimes you eat the bar. And sometimes the bar, well, he eats you.”

I think better than my ability to cook, is my ability to recognize a good recipe when I see it. In fact, this blog and my book are all about how much I like to envision something on a plate before I’ve stepped foot in the kitchen.

That being said, occasionally things don’t turn out quite as awesome as you hoped (see: Gold & Silver Shredded Chicken in the shape of a Ying Yang circa 2001). This recipe was one of those. I was hoping to make an awesome twist on traditional tacos in time for Cinqo de Mayo…

It was alright – but being honest, it wasn’t everything I’d hoped. The turkey was kind of stringy and overcooked. The flavour was kind of meh. I’m not saying it’s not worth trying out and adjusting a little (maybe using chicken?), it just wasn’t all I’d hoped it would be.

I suppose if my failure rate is once every 9 years, I should just keep on keeping on.



Beer Braised Turkey Tacos

Adapted from Food & Wine

Serves: 6


1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 pounds bone in turkey thighs or drumsticks, skin and fat removed
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium white onion, cut into 1-inch dice, plus minced white onion, for serving
1 large oregano sprig
1 large jalapeno, quartered, stemmed, and seeded
1 medium tomato, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
1 two inch cinnamon stick
12 ounces Mexican dark beer
1 cup water
12 corn tortillas
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds and cilantro, for garnish


  1. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over Medium-High heat. Season the turkey with salt and pepper and cook until richly browned all over, about 8 minutes. Transfer the turkey to the crockpot.
  2. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil over Medium heat. Add the garlic, diced onion, oregano, and jalapeno, and cook, stirring, until the onion is softened, about 8 minutes.
  3. Stir in the tomato, Chile powder, cinnamon stick, beer and water, and then pour mixture into the crockpot over the turkey.
  4. Cook over Low heat for 6 to 8 hours. Transfer the turkey to a plate and allow to cool. Discard the oregano sprig and cinnamon stick. Transfer the sauce to a pot and boil over High heat until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 12 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Wrap the tortillas in foil and bake until softened and heated, about 8 minutes.
  6. Remove the turkey meat from the bone and shred it with a fork. Stir the meat into the reduced sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Spoon the turkey into the tortillas. Top with minced onion, sesame seeds and cilantro.
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