Texas Toasted

Texas Toasted: Buffalo Bill Tacos

We’re happy as clams to introduce our newest guestblogger, Grace Steinel Jones, who will be sharing some hot new recipes from her new home in Austin, Texas. We love this lady, not just because she’s been one of our besties for nearly 7 years and was the matron-of-honor at our wedding, but because she’s really good at lots of things, including cooking! 

Lately I’ve been going through a bit of a taco phase. This is strange for me, because I rarely go through food phases. I love the novelty of an untried recipe, and I seldom make the same dish twice. Nevertheless, tacos seem to be what I want for dinner all the time now. I’m sure it has a little to do with the fact that my husband and I spent the last 2 years in Japan (where the tacos are usually served like this) and everything to do with the fact that we now live within walking distance of my new favorite taco place. I love tacos, because they’re versatile and generally make for a pretty cheap meal. Case in point: chicken skin tacos.

Okay, I know. The idea is a little creepy. I don’t prepare a ton of meat at home, and I’m still getting used to handling a whole chicken without getting grossed out. Once I started cooking the skin, though, I realized it’s a lot like bacon, really. And you’d never be grossed out by bacon would you? (Okay, maybe you would. Sorry vegetarian folks).

These tacos started, as many good things do, with Tom Colicchio. I wanted to make his white chicken stock (from this book) and the directions called for removing the skin from 4lbs of chicken parts. I know Tom knows what he’s doing, but surely I would not just throw away what is arguably the best part of the chicken? I could fry it, but what would I do with it then? Tacos, duh! I like this recipe because I get to feel self righteous for using something that might have otherwise been wasted. I used queso fresco, but I think I would actually have preferred my new favorite cheese for tacos—blue cheese. Unusual, I know, but trust me.

This recipe is based on one of my favorite fish taco recipes from Poppytalk.

Fried Chicken Skin

skin from 4 or 5 chicken legs and thighs (a butcher may be able to sell you just the skins)

  • 1t cumin
  • 1t oregano
  • 1t garlic powder
  • 2 t chili powder
  • 1/8 t cayenne
  • large pinch of salt

Tapatio Crema

  • 5 T greek yogurt
  • 1/2 T cumin
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • juice of 1 small lime
  • hot sauce such as Tapatio
  • salt


  • 6 corn tortillas
  • shredded cabbage
  • avocado, sliced
  • queso fresco or feta (or blue cheese, seriously, try it)
  • cilantro
  • lime, quartered

Mix together spices in a small bowl. Cut each piece of skin in half and toss in the spices.

Heat a pan over low-medium heat ( the fat from the chicken will melt in the pan, so you won’t need to oil it ).

Working in batches, place chicken skin pieces into the pan. Be careful as the skin will crackle and pop for the first few minutes. Flip the pieces often with tongs, pressing down any places that might not be cooking as quickly. Once the pieces are golden brown and crispy ( about 10 minutes), set them aside on a plate lined with paper towels and sprinkle with a little bit of salt. You may need to pour off some grease from the pan between batches. (Pour fat into a disposable container, not down the drain).

When all of your chicken is cooked, you can keep it warm in an oven on very low heat while you prepare your tortillas, or have a partner help you. Toast the tortillas for less than a minute over a gas flame, or in a lightly oiled pan.

Assemble and enjoy, with a mexican coke, if you like.

Serves 2


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