spice rubbed chicken tacos

chk main

I know it’s hard to believe, but humans cannot run on sugar alone. Despite my best efforts, once in a while I am required to actually make something of some nutritional value. It sucks, I know, but you gotta do what you gotta do I guess. And apparently my nutritional needs require more than just adding fruit to whatever I’m baking. (Darn!)

This recipe was actually recommended to me by my boss. Every week he has “taco night” with his family and they try out new taco recipes. On the weeks his wife cooks, she will usually bring me some of the tacos for lunch. His wife is the sweetest person in the whole wide world, but that’s another story.

Unfortunately, the other week it was his son’s turn to cook, which means no leftovers for me. 🙁 They made a Bobby Flay recipe with grilled poblanos and chicken; Tom came into work just raving about how good they were while I rocked myself back and forth with a weird tear/drool combination running down my face. It wasn’t pretty.

tacos are not the most photogenic food

I was intrigued by the recipe’s use of brown sugar and cinnamon… in tacos? Weird. But, I tried it out anyway and they turned out great! I didn’t follow the recipe exactly, but more or less used it as a jumping-off point. These tacos are spicy, but not hot, with just a slight hint of sweetness to them. Served with grilled poblanos and onions, these tacos were a hit.

I’ve been really into using slaw on my tacos, and pretty much everything lately. I spent the last 25 years of my life hating mayo and everything it touched. Just within the past year or so I started really giving it a chance. I really wish I hadn’t. All these things that I used to “hate” are things I should probably not be eating so much of anyway: butter, cheese, cream, mayo… Kind of makes me wish I was still picky.

Apparently I need to make up for missing out on coleslaw all these years by eating it on anything and everything I can, tacos included. If you haven’t tried it yet – DO IT! The cool creamy slaw cuts through the spice just enough to give it the perfect balance of flavor, while adding just a hint of “crunch” to whatever you’re eating. It’s great on tacos, sandwiches, and just about everything in between.

Spice-rubbed Chicken Tacos with Grilled Poblanos and Slaw

Printable Recipe

Grilled Poblanos:

  • 3 large poblanos (my store only had pasilla, they looked the same so that was good enough for me)
  • Canola oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • 3/4 cup mayo
  • 1 tablespoon oil (olive oil or vegetable oil)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small head cabbage, cored and finely shredded
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced


  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Canola oil
  • 8 tortillas
  • 2 grilled sliced poblanos
  • Coleslaw

For the poblanos:

1. Rub poblanos with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill over high heat or broil in the oven until skin is blackened ( a few minutes per side ).

2. Once blackened, put in bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit about ten minutes, this will allow the skin to soften enough to be removed.

3. Once the skin has softened, peel off skin and remove seeds from peppers. Slice or chop peppers to use for tacos. Set aside.

For the coleslaw

1. Whisk together all but the cabbage and onion. Add the cabbage and onion; stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Chill in fridge until time to serve.

For the chicken:

1. Mix together seasonings in a small bowl. Heat grill to high.

2. Rub chicken breasts with spice mixture and let sit for 20-30 minutes. Drizzle with olive oil grill until it has distinct grill marks and a slight crust has formed, about 3 minutes. Turn the chicken over, close the lid and continue cooking until just cooked through, about 6 minutes longer. Once cooked through, tent with foil and rest 5 – 10 minutes.

3. While the chicken is resting, heat the poblanos and tortillas on the grill. (I put the sliced poblanos with sliced onions on foil and grilled until the onions were lightly browned).

TO serve tacos: put diced chicken, grilled poblanos and onions, and cole slaw on taco. Eat and enjoy 🙂

[ Adapted from Here ]