Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Grilled Chicken Fajitas

We called these chicken fajitas and absolutely demolished them last night.

grilled chicken fajitas, tex-mex food,

But technically they are not fajitas.

According to Epicurious, fajitas are exclusively made from skirt steak.  The word "fajita" is the diminuative form of the Spanish word for belt or girdle (Wood), describing the skirt steak in the dish. Even my beef fajitas are not fajitas since I prefer flank steak.  So if you want to be accurate about it, these are chicken tacos al carbon.  We still called them fajitas.

In my opinion, boneless skinless chicken thighs are the best for fajitas.  They have more flavor than breast meat but more importantly, they have the right shape for fajitas.  They are thin and have a high ratio of surface area to meat.  That means you will have a lot of the crispy, spicy grilled edges which is where the flavor resides.   If you are going to use breasts, you'll need to pound them flat to get the same effect.

Grilled Chicken Fajitas (aka Chicken Tacos Al Carbon)
serves: 4

  • 6 chicken thighs, boneless, skinless*
  • 2 bell peppers, various colors, cut into strips
  • 1 onion cut into wedges
For the fajita seasoning*
  • 3/4 tsp cumin
  • 3/4 season salt
  • 3/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp corriander
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp chipolte chile pepper
For the Marinade
  •  Fajita seasoning (less one tsp reserved for sauce)
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 3 oz vegetable oil
For the fajita sauce
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp fajita seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  1. Mix the dry rub ingredients and reserve 1 tsp for the sauce.  Put the remaining seasoning* and lime juice in a bowl and slowly whisk in the oil.  Pour over the chicken in a bowl or Glad™ zip top bag.  Marinate at least one hour but preferably 4-6 hours.
  2. Mix the sauce ingredients together and allow to chill for 1 hour prior to serving.
  3. Toss your vegetable strips together with 1 Tbsp of oil and season with salt and pepper.  Alternatively, you can just toss them in a little Italian dressing.
  4. Preheat* a charcoal grill to 400f (medium high). 
  5. Place the veggies in a grill wok or basket* and place on the grill.  Stir every few minutes.
  6. Remove chicken from the marinade and grill 5-6 minutes per side, until they reach an internal temp of 170f.  If using breasts, only cook to 160f.
  7. Remove veggies and chicken from the grill.  Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes and then slice thin.
  8. Serve buffet style with warmed flour tortillas, the fajita sauce, and whatever accoutrements you like, such as shredded cheese, salsa, and guacamole.
  • Thighs - Trim them of any excessive pieces of fat.  Grilled fat does not taste good.
  • Fajita Seasoning - Feel free to use a commercial fajita seasoning if you like, I won't be offended.  Use about 1 Tbsp for the marinade and 1 tsp for the sauce.
  • Preheat - This is always important but even more so with fajitas.  You want the hot grill grates to do a lot of the cooking, not just the radiant heat from the fire.
  • Grill Wok - Several options here.  I used the veggie wok insert for my Craycort cast iron grate system.  You can also use grill baskets and woks like I picture down below.  You can also use flat "grill toppers".
vegetable woks, grill topper
Veggie wok in front and grill pan in the back, either work.
Craycort cast iron grate, big green egg fajita, cast iron wok, grilled peppers
My wok insert replaces one of the standard grill inserts and fits right into the grate system.  I also have a flat top griddle insert that I could use but the wok held more so I went with it.

Craycort cast iron grate, big green egg fajita, cast iron wok, grilled peppers
The smell of fajitas on a warm summer night will get your appetite going.

grilled chicken fajitas, big green egg fajita, cast iron wok, grilled peppers
Come and get it!  Didn't last long.

I like flour tortillas but feel free to use corn if you like.
Serving suggestion - I served it with Frijoles a la Mexicana from Bush Beans new Cocina Latina line.   They remind of the "ranch beans" that Alexis and I used to make but better.  They are pinto beans in a tomato/serrano sauce with a hint of bacon.  They disappeared just as fast as the fajitas did. 

Giveaway Winners:
I have updated the two recent giveaway posts with the winner announcements.  Congratulations to the winners.

[Standard Disclaimer]  I have a business relationship with locally headquartered Bush Beans; however, this was not a sponsored post.  Craycort is the first and long time sponsor of NibbleMeThis.