Mexican Chicken Tacos for the Grill

by Vicky


LittleChefsDad loves to grill and I love it even more, no major cooking for me!  I fix a couple sides and relax with my feet up while the grill is going.

This is one of our favorite family dinners.  The original recipe calls for regular chicken thighs, which are very cheap.  But LitteChefsDad uses boneless, skinless chicken thighs. He figures with the extra time he saves from not having to de-bone and skin the thighs, the extra money is worth it! The result is a smokey Mexican flair dish that goes great with black beans, salsa and chips. Oh, and he also buys uncooked corn tortillas and grills them. What a treat for a Celiac girl that can’t have flour tortillas! What can I say, LittleChefsDad spoils me 🙂

We don’t let the LittleChefs participate much with the grill, they just hang out on the back deck and observe. But they do help me make the salsa.

LittleChef Tip: Throw on some potatoes while grilling and use cooked potatoes in baked potato soup! No need to heat up the oven, and lunch is already planned.


  • 2 fist sized chunks of smoking wood or 2 cups soaked wood chips
  • 8 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed (about 3 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt (or 2 teaspoons fine sea salt)
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon (a pinch) ground cloves
  • Directions

    1. Rub the chicken thighs: Sprinkle a heavy coat of the rub over the chicken thighs. Gently pat the rub to help it stick, and work it into any natural seams in the meat.
    2. Set the grill up for indirect medium heat: Set your grill up for indirect medium heat, 350°F, with a drip pan in the middle of the grill and the fire on the sides. In my kettle grill, I light a chimney starter 3/4 full of coals; when the coals are lit and covered with gray ash, I pour them in two piles on the sides of the grill, with the drip pan in the middle. (If your grill comes with charcoal baskets, use them – they help keep the charcoal piles together.) Then I put on my grill grate and brush it clean.
    3. Grill the chicken thighs: Add the smoking wood to the coals, put the chicken thighs on the grill over indirect heat (that is, on the grate over the drip pan). Cook the chicken with the lid closed as much as possible until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of at least 185°F, about 50 minutes. Remove the chicken to a platter.
    4. Rest, chop, and serve: Let the chicken rest until it is cool enough to handle, about 5 minutes. Chop the chicken by carefully cutting the bone out of the middle of each thigh, making sure to get the gristle at both knobs of the bone, then slicing the meat lengthwise into strips, then chopping across the strips to rough dice the chicken. (This doesn’t have to be precise – just aim for small, bite sized pieces.) Pour any juices left in the platter over the chopped chicken, then pass the chicken at the table with the accompaniments and let everyone make their own tacos.
    5. Recipe from Dadcooksdinner

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