Spicy Turkey Barbacoa Street Tacos


I’m really dreading to go to work tomorrow but I got most of the stuff done at home this morning so I’m not too concerned with going back to work after taking a vacation to Portland last Tuesday. We flew back home early in the AM on Saturday so we started prepping our next recipe. A few weeks ago, around the time we were looking for recipes to cook for our anniversary, I found this from Bon Appetit and saved it for a later time like this weekend. I really like barbacoa and I saw “turkey” so it must be a healthier version, but it looked time consuming just like barbacoa takes all day, sometimes longer, to cook.IMG_9843

What I like about this recipe:

  • It’s turkey and not red meat (but I still love read meat)
  • It has a favorable taste with a kick of spice
  • The turkey meat comes out really tender and falls of the bones easily
  • It is easy to cook
  • The sauce


Some things to consider:

  • We feel this recipe can be based on preference wise. You can remove, add anything you want to your liking.
  • It can be spicy for those who cannot handle spicy foods. Follow the notes on the recipe card to reduce the spiciness.
  • The cooking can be messy and the sauce can stain


Spicy Turkey Barbacoa Street Tacos

Prep Time: 13 hours, 20 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours

Total Time: 15 hours, 20 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1½ pound tomatoes chopped
  • 10 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 large yellow onions, chopped
  • 4 dried pasilla and 4 guajillo peppers, stemed and partial seeds removed
  • 1 tablespoons kosher salt + 1 teaspoon
  • 2 turkey drumsticks and 2 turkey thighs
  • 1 can chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 medium sized carrot quarter-inch chops
  • 1 celery stalk quarter-inch chops
  • 1 side green bell pepper julliened and halved
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • queso fresco
  • corn tortillas, warmed


  1. Toast sesame seeds in a pan over medium, toast for 3-5 minutes, place seeds in a food processor
  2. Heat up pan to medium-high heat and add tomatoes, garlic, onion and 1 tablespoon of salt. Cook, stirring every so often for 5 minutes. Transfer this mix to the blender.
  3. After the peppers are seeded, place in food processor and blend until it basically becomes a sauce. It won't be watery and it won't be too thick.
  4. Divide drumsticks and thighs between 2 resealable plastic bags. Add the sauce between bags and seal bags aired out. You're going to chill this overnight, at least for 12 hours, but the longer it is marinated the better.
  5. After the marinade process is finished, preheat over to 325°F. Place turkey and sauce in any type of high side pan such as a hotel pan or the ceramic one shown in the the photos. Cover pan with two layers of foil.
  6. Bake until the internal temperature reaches 165°F which should take 2 to 2.5 hours. Rotate every 30 minutes, then check the temperature and hour in.
  7. When done, remove from oven and let cool slightly. You can remove the turkey from the sauce to allow them to cool quicker, making an easiness for shredding. Then mix back in with the sauce.
  8. While the turkey cools, use a saucepan with 1/2 cup of chicken stock/broth and combine carrots, celery, green peppers, cumin, 1 teaspoon of salt and pepper. Heat it over medium-high and let boil before added black beans. Reduce heat and let simmer for 10 minutes.
  9. Shred turkey in a separate plate/bowl and not over the sauce to avoid small bones falling in. Once done, transfer to the sauce and mix.
  10. Heat up small sized corn tortillas.
  11. Serve tacos on tortilla with turkey, beans, queso fresco and chopped cilantro. Excess sauce is a plus.


For less spice, omit the can of chipotle and adobo sauce, remove all seeds from chilies and reduce as well

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IMG_9782Toss the bag around every so often while in the fridge.

IMG_9791We use gloves because if you don’t, the moment you touch your eyes it will feel like your life is over.IMG_9800Bake for 2 hours.


When done, remove from oven and let cool slightly. You can remove the turkey from the sauce to allow them to cool quicker, making an easiness for shredding. Then mix back in with the sauce.IMG_9855


Portland – Spring 2015

Photo Mar 24, 10 44 06 AM

It was sometime in 2013, on our way to Los Angeles for a music festival, where we took an early morning drive. With the lack of sleep, we found ourselves delirious with a passion (this occurs on every road trip really), and our topics would range from how Ozzy speaks Spanish to a made up song about all the different types of chips the world has to offer (Cheetos, Doritos, Fritos). On this trip we listened to a new Kanye West album. Daniel had played a specific song and asked me what the song reminded me of. “A Marilyn Manson song?” I answer. He though the same. “Whatever happened to that guy?” “His autobiography is really good.” “Imagine going to a Manson concert?” “Let’s go!” I, then over the span of almost two years, would check up on tour dates as there would be none. Then on another road trip to LA with friends, a new M.M. single was played. The next day while I was standing in line at the International Makeup Artist Trade show with my face and fingers pressed onto my phone, hurrying to search for tickets, I was able to find a show in Seattle, just in the middle of Spring Break, except it was sold out. Portland was next on the list, and I had to sacrifice a long time awaited trip to Seattle for something we put on our bucket list over a sleepy drive. The tickets were then given to Daniel as an anniversary gift and he completely forgot about that drive. Luckily, I had a saved note in my phone, dated in 2013 to prove to him.

Back when The Sleepy Kitchen was my own personal food blog in 2011, I made a post about my first road trip to Portland (now we don’t even bother with a 11 hour drive and fly instead). It  definitely left a mark because Portland became a bi-yearly thing, and since Daniel’s cousins moved there after living in Germany for a few years, we devote a three or four day weekend to this beautiful city three to four times a year. Many of our trips to PDX (a nickname for the city and also their airport) usually consist of a jam-packed itinerary and more food then our bodies can handle, but this specific trip was far more relaxing.IMG_9105

We went hiking in Forest Park.

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We got coffee at least 3 times a day.

Photo Mar 24, 3 25 31 PM

We walked around Alberta during a pleasant rain.

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We experienced Grandpa Manson and I could hear my 12 year old self screaming.

Photo Mar 27, 2 44 25 PM

We had ice-cream. –I actually dislike ice-cream, but in observance of Persian New Year, Salt & Straw produced a Persian type of ice-cream called Bastani, and named it Rose City Riot. It was so good, I actually went back for more the next day and doubled scooped it.

Photo Mar 24, 5 16 19 PM

We stopped by the mall to visit a sport’s store where Daniel’s cousin, Gerry, designed some of the signs and window displays through a company he works for. At some point, the photo above occurred.

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I got a haircut.

Photo Mar 26, 7 47 19 PM

We finally got to try the one restaurant Portland is most famous for, Pok Pok.


And as usual, I feel deeper in love with everything about Portland.

Spring Barbecue Sage Chicken


After I ordered my iced soy latte – with very light ice, at the Starbucks drive-through, I pull into the line of cars and wait for my turn to pay. Arcade Fire’s Reflektor is playing on Spotify over the speakers, and I move my shoulders up and down alternatively, which then leads to nodding my head to the beat – somewhere among this my chin moves up and I found my eyes on the ginormous sunroof in my car where I discover a bunch of white petals. Spring is here, I say in my head, which was true because it was in fact March 20th, the first day of spring. I pay at the window and the cashier tells me it will take about five minutes for my pour-over. “I’ll come inside then,” I say. I pull out of the lane and into a parking spot under one of the trees that dropped a hundreds and thousands of these petals.

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It started to get warm here last weekend and that’s when I suggested to Daniel that we should barbecue. We had planned on it this weekend which is all I was looking forward to, because in addition to Spring starting, it was also in fact two things: 1) Persian New Year & 2) The start of Spring Break. Daniel is also taking the week off which is a rare thing because he never takes a vacation unless he’s dying.

We decided to limit our barbecue choice: instead of buying all the meats and grilling all the things, we choose singularly on chicken. Daniel loves thighs, especially mine, but I am really talking about organic chicken thighs, and we don’t make enough of it. We both took separate time to research what we could do with the thighs, and ended up creating our own recipe not knowing how it was going to turn out – it was perfection.


Spring Barbecue Sage Chicken

Prep Time: 7 hours, 40 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 8 hours

Yield: 4 servings


  • 2 pounds boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 2 large garlic cloves finely minced
  • 2 tablespoon dried course sage
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • sea salt and fresh ground black paper
  • 1 gallon freezer bag


  1. rinse chicken thighs and place them aside in a bowl or on on a parchment.
  2. in a mixing bowl, combine dijon mustard, minced garlic, sage, and balsamic vinegar.
  3. in a microwavable bowl, combine honey and coconut oil (no need to stir). Microwave for 30 seconds or less, until both matter has melted. Stir then add to mixing bowl.
  4. Add salt and pepper to your liking.
  5. Pour the sauce mixture into the freezer bag, then transfer the chicken into the bag, mixing in with the sauce. Zip close.
  6. Chill overnight, flipping the bag over as often as your can.
  7. Remove bag from fridge 5 minutes before grilling. Grill over medium heat for 20 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 160°F
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Serve with your favorite barbecue party sides

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