Chicken Tacos Al Carbon

Chicken Tacos Al Carbon is a perfect recipe for a summer gathering.

Here in Southern California, shredded chicken is one of the most popular fillings for street tacos. To make Chicken Tacos Al Carbon, you basically grill a whole chicken over the fire, cut into bite-size pieces, and enjoy it on corn tortillas with a bit of onion and cilantro, fresh squeeze of lime, and your favorite hot sauce or salsa.

Chicken Tacos Al Carbon

Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 6


  • 1 whole chicken


  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 packet achiote paste optional for color
  • 1 dried ancho chile stemmed
  • 6 dried chiles de árbol stemmed
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt


  • To begin, place the chicken breast side down and use your kitchen shears to cut along both sides of the backbone from the neck to the tail.
  • Remove the backbone and open the chicken up flat. Place skin side up and press down again to flatten the bird.
  • To prepare the chicken al carbon marinade, combine the marinade ingredients in a blender. Puree for about a minute.
  • Place 1 cup of the marinade in a large Ziplock bag, and add your chicken. Remove excess air, swish it around to coat, and refrigerate for several hours to overnight. Reserve the remaining sauce for basting.
  • Set the grill to about 400F. Place the chicken breast side up onto the grill. Grill this until it’s lightly browned – about 15 minutes or so.
  • Continue flipping and basting the chicken every 10-15 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 160-165°F. Once you take the chicken off the grill, it will carry over cook to the recommended temperature of 165F.
  • Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let it rest for 10-15 minutes.
  • To serve, cut the chicken into bite-size pieces. Prepare your tacos al carbon. Place on the warm corn tortillas and top with chopped onions, cilantro and fresh lime. Enjoy!


Keyword chicken, grilling