Tinga Taco – Pulled Turkey in Adobo

Tinga Taco – Pulled Turkey in Adobo

Tacos! You gotta love them. Especially with one of the episodes of “Ugly Delicious” there mentioned all over the world wide web. However I’ve made quite a lot of taco recipes before I was still drooling over the tacos served in the program. I noticed the Tinga Taco and got interested in the recipe. Since you’re reading this, I suppose I got your attention too! So read on and find out what you can expect of this Tinga taco. 

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Disclosure: “This post contains affiliate links. All opionions shared are my own. Once again this post has been made possible by the service of Carmans who offered their meat for this project. Brewery De Landing provided their beer for tasting.”

Ugly Delicious

Being a huge fan of “The mind of the chef” especially due to the episodes with David Chang I needed to see the new Netflix documentary by David Chang. With Ugly Delicious the popular “Momofuku” chef David Chang intends to get back to the basics of food. Focussing on a specific monument in the world of food. Think of Pizza, Taco, Fried Chicken, … and even BBQ. Focussing on different perspectives trying to broaden the mindset of foodies and bringing some historical background in the picture. Having high expectations, I ended up with quite some mixed feelings. However Chang is still his charming self he often seems to be more conservative about food than I thought. Not only because he constantly compares food with his own food culture but most of all because he didn’t want to try the taste of donkey. On the other hand it’s a quite inspiring series with some episodes bringing a deeper insight on historical issues (for instance the fried chicken racism issue). Yet some episodes (especially the BBQ one) focus on the more common known BBQ cultures but neglecting the Argentinan assado culture, the modern UK BBQ scene, … I might be the victim of high expectations. Nevertheless it’s overall an inspiring series to watch. I’m curious what you experienced while watching it.

Tinga Taco

Tinga Taco

However the “Taco de Tinga de Pollo” or easier to pronounce the “Tinga Taco” is concerned as one of the authentic mexican Taco recipes, it seems to be hard to find some background information about it’s history. Don Carne from the restaurant “Papi Carne” in Lima (Peru) kindly explained me it’s one of the first recipes combining the traditional mexican flavors with the influences of the spanish and north-african kitchen. If some of you know more about this please share. All I seem to find is the translation of the word Tinga, meaning stew in spanish. The Tinga de Pollo used for the Tinga Taco is a stew with tomatoes, onions, typical mexican spices and chipotle in Adobo. Besides Tinga de Pollo there’s the pork version called “Tinga de Carnitas”. Basicly the same recipe using pulled pork instead of pulled chicken. For this recipe I decided to use some leftovers of Pulled Turkey instead of Pulled Chicken.

Tinga Taco

Smoked Pulled Turkey

Like mentioned before Pulled Chicken is often used for the Tinga Taco. Often the chicken gets roasted on the side of a fire leading to some smokey flavors who are empowered by the smokey flavor by the Chipotle in Adobo. Chipotles are smoked dried jalapeno peppers often used in Mexican food. So why not using the leftovers from the Pulled Turkey I made last week? It’s delicious with BBQ sauce but the Tinga Taco is completely different. Exactly what I love. If you want to find out how to make pulled turkey, take a look at this recipe. It’s pretty easy! All you need is patience but I bet you’ll know that by now! The Turkey Thigh was smoked on grapevines I got from my father. Delicious smoke taste.

Tinga Taco

Advantage of the grill

Preparing meals on the BBQ has a lot of advantages. The most important one: “Flavor” is obvious. Even vegetables and peppers get a delicious taste when touched by the flames. Yet there’s another advantage. Especially for people who hate peeling vegetables (with tomatoes leading the hate chart). By burning the skin of tomatoes and peppers they’ll get a delicious deep and sweet smokey taste but the skin almost removes itself. All you need to do is scrape it away with a knife and done. Carefull for the burning hot juice though. Once the vegetables are grilled I added them to a cast Iron skillet together with the Chipotle in Adobo and let it simmer for about 20 minutes before adding the pulled turkey. And another 10 minutes afterwards. I based the recipe over here on this recipe I found online.

Tinga Taco

How to serve?

Depending on the brand and your resistance chipotle in Adobo and/or added peppers can get some heat. To compensate the heat the buttery texture of a avocado does great. Moreover it’s complementing the palate. You can make some Guacamole but I did opt for slices due to time restrictions (The lady and kids don’t like the part of waiting for their food). As additional toppings the traditional recipes call for cotija cheese. I couldn’t find it and replaced the cotija by Parmesan cheese available in every store here in Belgium. I also served some cilantro and a lemon alongsided the Tinga Taco. The Mexican Tinga Taco just screams for a punch of acidity! You can add it at taste. Yet not everyone seems to like cilantro so I tend to serve it seperate. And for those who can’t get enough! Try to add some crispy turkey skin on top of it all for some nice crackling texture. #loveit

 So what do you think? Will the Tinga Taco make it on your “BBQ Bucketlist”? Alll I can say is: “It should be”. Don’t hesitate to share this post with your befriended pitmasters! It’s a perfect recipe to prepare on the BBQ! I bet most of them will love it! If you do (or don’t) let me know on social media! Glad to take a moment to talk with you! Cheers!

Tinga Tacos
Course: Main Course, Snack
Cuisine: Mexican, South-American
Servings: 8 people
  • 1.5 kg. pulled Turkey Needs to be made ahead!!!
  • 6 fresh tomatoes
  • 1 fresh jalapeno
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 white onion thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic sliced
  • 1.5 tsp ground cumin seeds
  • 1.5 tsp ground cilantro
  • 200 ml Chipotle in adobo sauce
  • 2 chipotles chopped
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 sprig oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tbsp. white vinegar
for serving:
  • 16 tortillas
  • salt and pepper at taste
  • fresh lime juice at taste
  • cilantro at taste
  • avocado slices at taste
  • Parmesan cheese due to the lack of cotija cheese in my region
  1. Start your BBQ for a direct cooking session on medium heat (+-200°C/400°F). Once you've reached the desired temperature you put the tomatoes and the jalapeno pepper on top of the grill. Until the skin turns black.

  2. Meanwhile, preheat a large cast iron skillet on top of the grid and add the chopped garlic and white onion. Simmer until translucent and add the spices for a couple of minutes. By heating them they will release some flavor. 

  3. Add the chipotles, chicken broth and Adobo sauce and chop the burned pepper before you add it to the pan. Let simmer for 20 min. before you add the pulled turkey (recipe here). Let simmer for another ten minutes. 

  4. Discard the bay leaves and oregano sprig and gently add the vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. They can use quite some acidity but you can add it at your own taste. 

  5. Serve the Tinga taco with some avocado and Cotija Cheese (in this recipe replaced by Parmesan cheese). Sprinkle some freshly chopped cilantro and lime juice on top. For the lovers of chicken skin: try to crisp it up and add it for a delicious crunch.

Have a great meal and don't forget to come back and share your experiences!
With my blog I try to share some passion. Some times I get some test products by passionate people or make use of affiliate links to cope with the costs. By buying through these links I earn a small commision without costs for you! All opinions shared are my own and no false statements will be made!

For the Tinga Taco: 
- There are affiliate links on the Cast Iron Skillet, chipotle in adobo, Cotija cheese


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