Shrimp Tacos on the Blackstone

Spicy Shrimp Tacos with Garlic Cilantro Lime Slaw

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Shrimp Tacos on the Blackstone

Yeah, we missed National Taco Day…so what? Who came up with all of these food days anyways? Was there a committee of stuffy old men smelling of Old Spice and Icy Hot sitting around a large boardroom table? Or was it a bunch of young hipsters sipping on grande mocha soy frappe carmel latte espresso agave sugar coffee drinks while vaping their brains out and blowing huge clouds? Who cares? I’ll eat what I want, when I want and last night I wanted some shrimp tacos!! And more importantly I wanted to cook on my new Blackstone griddle, dammit!!

I usually prefer my shrimp tacos (and fish tacos) fried, but that’s not exactly healthy nor would it allow me to use my griddle. A quick search with my Google-fu skills found me this recipe over at Pinch of Yum and it sounded like it would fit the bill. This is our version cooked on the griddle  with a few modifications.

Spicy Shrimp Tacos with Garlic Cilantro Lime Slaw

For the Garlic Cilantro Lime Sauce

  • 1/4 cup of oil
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • juice of two limes
  • 1/2 cup (or more) of light sour cream
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the Shrimp Tacos

  • 1 to 1.5 lbs of shrimp, peeled with tail removed (we used 1.25 lbs of 21-25 count)
  • 1 tsp each of chili powder, cumin and chicken fajita seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tbsp of butter
  • 1/2 green cabbage, shredded
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 1 avocado
  • Queso Fresco, Cotija or Feta cheese
  • lime wedges for serving
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Warm up the tortillas until you begin to smell corn and they have become pliable. Only takes a minute or so.

To make the sauce, toss all the ingredients in a food processer and pulse until smooth. Adjust with salt and pepper to taste.

Toss some of the sauce (not all of it!!) with the cabbage. It should resemble a coleslaw. This can be done right before hand, but we did ours about 2 hours ahead of time and placed in the fridge. The rest of the sauce can be used on your tacos.

Heat your griddle medium to medium high heat. Warm up the tortillas for a minute or so until you notice a corn smell and they have become pliable. Wrap in foil to keep warm. Even better would be one of those tortilla holders they have at Mexican restaurants. We, however, don’t have one of those so why the hell am I even bringing it up? I digress…

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Toss the shrimp on the griddle

When the tortillas are done, squirt some oil on the griddle and add a tbsp of butter. Then throw on the shrimp and cook 4-5 minutes or until done.

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Done!!

To serve the tacos, spread a spoonful of the sauce on a tortilla, top with a few shrimp, coleslaw, cheese and avocado and maybe some more sauce and squeeze a slice of lime on top.

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Who needs a National Taco Day to enjoy these shrimp tacos? Eat them whenever the hell you feel like it.

I gotta say, the more I use this griddle, the more I am liking it. It’s just so fun. And it heats up quick. A whole lot quicker than the Egg. Sure, we could have grilled these shrimp and they would have been just as good, but that would have taken longer. From the time I stepped outside and fired up the griddle, to the time I shut it off and went inside was less than 10 minutes!! That’s a fast cook!!

The tacos were fantastic. I tried one of the shrimp by itself, and I hafta say it had some heat. But when you add the slaw and the cheese and the sauce, it balances that heat perfectly. These are definitely going into the rotation, especially on nights when a fast cook is needed to get the food on the table.

Pulled Beef Tacos

 

Pulled beef Tacos with Home-made Pico de Gallo
Pulled beef Tacos with Home-made Pico de Gallo

     Chuck roast. Pulled Beef. It’s gotta be one of the unsung heroes of the barbecue world. Often overlooked and forgotten about. More than likely, you aren’t going to find it on the menu at a barbecue joint with its better known cuts like brisket, pulled pork and ribs. I can almost picture Rodney Dangerfield doing a bit about it. “No respect, not respect at all, I tell ya.” But I’m just as guilty about it as the next guy. I had to go back and look to see when the last time I smoked one was…January 31, 2011!! Wow…that was awhile back.

Two Boneless Beef Chuck Pot Roasts
Two Boneless Beef Chuck Roasts

      You maybe more familiar with this cut cooked and prepared as a pot roast, more than likely in a crock pot with carrots and onions and potatoes, often with a gravy. When smoked low and slow over a fire, however, this is one amazing cut of beef. It is fall apart goodness with that sublime smokey taste. Mmm…I can taste it right now as I write about it.

     What is a chuck roast and where does it come from? The chuck roast (some times called chuck pot roast, or pot roast) comes from the shoulder of a cow. It does contain lots of marbling and fat, but that’s what makes is so great. When cooked low and slow, it is very similar to the cut from a pig called pork butt used to make pulled pork. So similar in fact, that when smoked, it is often used to make pulled beef sandwiches.

On To The Egg at 250F With Hickory and Mesquite For Smoke
On To The Egg at 250F With Hickory and Mesquite For Smoke

     That’s not what we were shooting for, however. While pulled beef sandwiches are good, we were aiming for something else. It’s no secret that Mrs. G likes loves tacos. I mean LOVES them! So I decided to take a turn back to our South Texas roots and make some pulled beef tacos. Happy Wife, Happy Life. Plus…I kinda like tacos, too. 😉

Ingredients

  • chuck roast
  • canola oil
  • Fajita seasoning or Mexican seasoning (I used Bolner’s Fiesta brand of fajita seasoning)
  • Pico de Gallo
  • cheese (we used Queso Fresco, but whatever cheese you prefer)
  • tortillas, corn or flour
Two and half hours in
Two and half hours in

Directions

  1. Set up your smoker for 250F. Choose your woodchips. Since beef can handle heavier smoke, I opted for a mix of mesquite and hickory.
  2. While your smoker is coming up to temperature, rub your meat with canola oil and liberally apply your spices.
  3. Place meat on smoker.
  4. When meat reaches 165F, wrap your chuck roast in Heavy Duty Aluminum foil. Use two or three sheets so you get a good seal and don’t lose any precious juices. (My two chuck roasts weighed about 4 lbs and took about 6 hours to reach 165)
  5. When the chuck reaches about 205-210, remove it from the grill. (Mine hit 210 at the 8.5 hour mark, and no, it was not dried out)
  6. Allow meat to rest 30 minutes before shredding. If your meat is done early, you can always employ the FTC trick. This stands for Foil, Towels, Cooler. Your meat is already foiled, so line a small cooler with towels (you might want to use old towels so your wife won’t get mad, but make sure they are clean), place your meat on the towels, cover with more towels and close the lid. Using this trick, you can hold the chuck (or a brisket or pork butt) for up to 4 hours safely and it will still be piping hot. I held mine for 2.5 hours Saturday night and it was still too hot to handle even wearing nitrile gloves.
  7. After shredding meat (and discarding any fat), sprinkle some more seasoning on the beef, pile on tortillas and top with Pico de Gallo, top with cheese and enjoy.
The slightest pressure and it literally apart.
The slightest pressure and it literally apart.

     Look how tender and juicy that beef is. Literally fell apart when I lightly pushed down on it with my hand. Makes your mouth water doesn’t it?

Pulled beef tacos, home-made pico de gallo and a side of chips and queso.
Pulled beef tacos, home-made pico de gallo and a side of chips and queso.

     We served up the beef on some warmed up corn tortillas, pico de gallo, queso fresco and some lime to sprinkle on top. We also made some chips and queso and a batch of boracho beans.

Mmmm...I can still taste it.
Mmmm…I can still taste it.

Just writing about it is making me hungry again.

All shredded
All shredded up

     That’s about 8 lbs (pre-cooked) of shredded beef!! That’ll make a lot of tacos. And a lot of leftovers. Why did I do 8 lbs, you may ask? Well, if you are already firing up the grill and investing over 8 hours into smoking a chuck, why not do 2? It doesn’t take any extra time or charcoal or effort. I’ll be pulling out the Foodsaver this evening and dividing it out into smaller portions and freezing them for down the road when I get a craving and don’t have the time to smoke one.  What should I do with those leftovers? Maybe toss some in an omelette? Or some stir fry? Maybe eggrolls? Definitely see some nachos in my future. Hmm…enchiladas?

     Next time you are in the mood for some pulled pork, stop for a second, and consider doing pulled beef instead. Who knows….you may just like it better.