Beer-Braised Turkey Tacos


Skinless turkey thighs and drumsticks are packed with flavor; they're also low in fat and high in protein and essential minerals like selenium. Deborah Schneider braises the meat in beer until ultratender, then shreds it for tacos. "It's also fabulous in a sandwich," she says. Slideshow:  More Amazing Taco Recipes 

Beer-Braised Turkey Tacos
Mexican dark beer such as Negra Modelo enhances the flavor of these fantastic tacos. Photo: © Joseph de Leo
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 40 mins
12 tacos


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • Two 1-pound bone-in turkey thighs or drumsticks, skin and fat removed

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • 1 medium white onion, cut into 1-inch dice, plus minced white onion, for serving

  • 1 large oregano sprig

  • 1 large jalapeño—stemmed, seeded and sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick

  • 1 medium tomato, coarsely chopped

  • 1 ancho chile—stemmed, seeded and coarsely chopped or torn

  • One 2-inch cinnamon stick

  • One 12-ounce bottle Mexican dark beer, such as Modelo Negro

  • 1 cup water

  • 12 corn tortillas

  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds and cilantro sprigs, for serving


  1. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Season the turkey with salt and pepper and cook over moderately high heat until richly browned all over, about 8 minutes. Transfer the turkey to a plate.

  2. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the casserole along with the garlic, diced onion, oregano and jalapeño and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the onion is softened, about 8 minutes. Add the tomato, ancho and cinnamon stick and cook, stirring, until the tomato releases its juices.

  3. Return the turkey to the casserole, add the beer and water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat, turning once, until the turkey thighs are tender, about 1 hour. Transfer the turkey to a plate and let cool. Discard the oregano sprig and cinnamon stick and boil the sauce over high heat until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 12 minutes.

  4. Preheat the oven to 350°. Wrap the tortillas in foil and bake for about 8 minutes, until softened and heated through. Remove the turkey meat and shred it. Transfer the sauce to a food processor and puree. Return the sauce to the pot and stir in the shredded turkey. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon the turkey onto the tortillas. Top with minced onion, sesame seeds and cilantro sprigs and serve.

Make Ahead

The shredded braised turkey can be refrigerated in the sauce for up to 2 days. Reheat gently.


Two Tacos 456 cal, 32 gm carb, 16 gm fat, 3.8 gm sat fat, 38 gm protein, 4 gm fiber.

Related Articles