RECIPE: Spicy McMasters' Chicken Tacos with Seasoned Bacon and Lime Crema
Guess what went down at the Carolina Classic Fair in Winston Salem, NC this year? We threw a recipe throwdown and sponsored the whole shebang! Cooks battled it out using McMasters' Hawg Sauce, and a crew of judges taste-tested the goods to pick the champs. Crystal Ridge rocked the house and bagged the top spot with her Spicy McMasters' Chicken Tacos featuring Seasoned Bacon and Lime Crema. Trust us, it was mind-blowing—packed with flavor, a mix of savory, tangy, and a bit of heat. No secrets here, so just scroll down for a brand-new Hawg Sauce recipe that's off the charts!
Barbecue Chicken Marinade:
1 1/2 lbs. chicken breasts, pounded and diced
3/4 c. McMaster's Spicy Hawg Sauce
1 1/2 Tablespoons (1/2 pkg.) taco seasoning
2 limes, zest and juice
12-oz. Bag tri-color slaw mix
1/2 c. plus 2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
2 1/2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon Spectrum Organic Red Wine Vinegar
1/2 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon Pink Himalayan Sea Salt
Few twists of freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt
1 1/2 limes, zest and juice
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
Onion, Cilantro & Lime Salsa:
1 c. sweet onion
3/4 c. green onion (mostly the green portions)
1/4 c. fresh, minced cilantro
1/2 teaspoon Pink Himalayan Sea Salt
2 limes (zest from 1 1/2 limes and juice from both, around 2 1/4 teaspoons)
For Wonton Taco Shells:
1 1/4 c. peanut oil (or use a deep fryer and fill with oil according to the manual)
12 oz. pkg. wonton wrappers (some may break)
Sweet & Spicy Bacon:
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 Tablespoons light brown sugar
6-8 Black Label Maple Bacon slices
Chicken marinated in McMaster's marinade (see above)
1 c. plus 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 c. peanut oil (fill deep fryer if deep-frying)
McMaster's Spicy Chicken Sauce:
2 Tablespoons water
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 1/2 c. McMaster's Spicy Hawg Sauce
2 additional Tablespoons water
McMaster's Taco Sauce:
3/4 cups McMaster's Spicy Hawg Sauce
1 Tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
Additional Items for Taco Assembly:
3 fresh limes, cut into wedges to garnish platter (may squeeze onto tacos if desired)
1. For the marinade, sprinkle taco seasoning over diced chicken, add 3/4 cup McMaster's Spicy Hawg Sauce along with zest and juice of two limes, and seal in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag; refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
2. Mix all ingredients for slaw and place in an airtight container; refrigerate and set aside.
3. Stir all ingredients for lime crema in a bowl; do not use a blender, or it will be too runny; store in an airtight container and refrigerate until taco assembly.
4. Mix all ingredients for onion, cilantro, and lime "salsa."
5. Prepare the fried wonton taco shells. Pre-heat the deep fryer (basket removed) to 325 degrees. Fold wonton wrappers diagonally into triangles and place onto a taco tong; fry each wonton for 3-5 minutes, or until golden brown. Alternatively, heat oil in a large skillet and fry a few at a time, turning with tongs frequently until golden. Carefully remove wonton wrappers from heat, tapping excess oil back in the deep fryer/skillet. Invert fried wonton wrappers/egg rolls upside down atop wire cooling racks with paper towels underneath to absorb excess oil. Repeat process until all wrappers are used.
6. For the sweet and spicy bacon, preheat the oven to 400 degrees; blend all spices and sugar together and place in a shaker. Sprinkle the bacon seasoning mixture evenly atop bacon pieces; bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes on the first side, turn bacon strips over with tongs and sprinkle bacon seasoning mixture on the reverse side. Cook until the desired level of crispiness is achieved; smaller/thinner pieces will cook faster. Remove smaller pieces from the pan and allow remaining pieces to cook until crisp. Place bacon atop wire cooling racks with paper towels underneath to catch drips. When cool enough to handle, crumble bacon and set aside.
7. Drain marinade from chicken, discarding the marinade. Dredge chicken in cornstarch and pre-heat a deep fryer to 350 degrees; fry small batches in a deep fryer basket for 2-3 minutes per batch. Sprinkle warm chicken with pepper. Let drain on a cooling rack (with paper towels underneath to catch drips) while you make the sauce. To prepare the chicken sauce, dissolve the teaspoon of cornstarch in 2 tablespoons water; whisk 1 1/2 cups Spicy McMaster's Sauce with the additional 2 tablespoons water. In a medium pot, add the cornstarch mixture to the Spicy McMaster's Sauce mixture and heat until boiling and thickened, stirring frequently. Add the drained chicken pieces to the heated sauce mixture; stir well.
8. Make the taco sauce by dissolving cornstarch in water; add cornstarch mixture to McMaster's Spicy Hawg Sauce in a small to medium saucepan and heat until boiling and thickened.
9. Fill the taco shells: begin by adding slaw, then a thick layer of fried chicken pieces, followed by onion and cilantro salsa mixture, then crumbled bacon pieces. Drizzle with lime crema and homemade taco sauce made from McMaster's Hawg Sauce. Garnish serving platter/plates with fresh lime wedges to squeeze onto tacos if desired.
Serves: 6-8 (Yields 18-20 wonton-sized tacos)