7 Tempting Taco Recipes to Cook on Your Grill

Summer is the season of sun, fun, and firing up the grill. In honor of our favorite way to cook when it’s hot outside, we’re bringing you our Grill Master series where we’ll highlight a different food each week. Follow along to learn everything you’ve ever wanted to know about cooking over open flames.

Once summer starts winding down, the same grilled burgers and ribs that were so exciting a few months ago can start to get old. Inject your summer cooking with a little more fun by taking a south-of-the-border approach. Tacos are endlessly versatile, easy to make, and always a crowd-pleaser. For your next backyard bash, throw a taco party for you pals featuring these seven recipes. No matter what type of filling your guests prefer, there’s something here they’ll love.

1. Grilled Shrimp Tacos with Avocado-Corn Salsa

shrimp tacos

Shrimp tacos | Source: iStock

Grilling shrimp is nothing new, yet not many people know what to do with the crustaceans once they’re cooked other than serve them with some cocktail sauce. Make the shellfish main-dish worthy by turning them into Chowhound’s tasty tacos. A little bit of ground chipotle and cumin go perfectly with the shrimp’s sweet flavor. The real star is the salsa made with corn, tomato, and avocado. It’s packed with different textures and flavors that will make everyone come back for seconds.

Skewers aren’t necessary for grilling the shrimp, but they make life a lot easier. If you don’t have any, you can still make this recipe. Just make sure you get larger shrimp that won’t fall through the grill grates.

Ingredients:

 Salsa

  • 4 ears corn, shucked, cut from cobs
  • 4 medium scallions thinly sliced
  • 3 medium tomatoes, cored, seeded, and cut into small dice
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus more
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 serrano chile, stemmed, and finely chopped
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more
  • 2 medium avocados

Tacos

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 pounds peeled and deveined large shrimp
  • 16 grilled tortillas

Directions: Soak 10 wooden skewers in water at least 30 minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine corn kernels, scallions, tomatoes, 2 tablespoons lime juice, 2 tablespoons cilantro, serrano, and 1½ teaspoons salt. Stir to combine.

Halve and pit avocados. Score flesh of avocado into ¼-inch crosshatch patterns, being careful not to cut through skin. Using a spoon, scoop avocado into salsa, and gently fold in. Taste, and adjust with lime juice or salt, as needed.

Heat an outdoor grill to high. Whisk lime juice, oil, chipotle powder, cumin, and ½ teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Add shrimp, and toss to combine. Skewer shrimp through tail and head, leaving ¼ inch between each. Transfer to a baking sheet. Grill skewers in a single layer, with lid closed, until marks appear, about 4 minutes. Flip, cover, and cook until just firm, about 1 minute longer.

Remove and discard skewers. Coarsely chop shrimp and transfer to a serving bowl Serve with tortillas and salsa.

2. Chicken Tacos with Mango Salsa

mango salsa

Mango salsa | Source: iStock

Chicken tacos often disappoint. The problem is too many recipes rely on breast meat, which is incredibly lean. If you overcook it by just a bit, the finished product is dry, mealy, and tasteless. Clinton Kelly’s chicken tacos, featured on Rachael Ray, look to chicken thighs for an easier method that almost guarantees juicy meat. A sweet and spicy salsa made with mango and jalapeño is a great finishing touch.

Ingredients:

Salsa

  • 2 large, ripe mangoes, peeled, pitted, and finely diced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 1 jalapeño, minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lime

Tacos

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 8 four or corn tortillas

Directions: In a medium bowl, combine mangoes, onion, jalapeño, cilantro, and ½ teaspoon salt. Toss with olive oil and lime juice. Adjust seasoning as needed. Cover and let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, and remaining salt and pepper. Rub mixture onto chicken. Set aside for 10 minutes.

Preheat grill to medium heat. Grill chicken 6 to 8 minutes, or until cooked through. Let rest 5 minutes, then slice into strips. Serve chicken with tortillas and salsa.

3. Grilled Pork and Onion Tacos

Source: iStock

Pork tacos | Source: iStock

Mexican dishes featuring pork usually require hours of slow braising to develop flavor, which isn’t always practical. Fortunately, you can make quick-cooking pork chops just as tasty when you whip up chef Melissa Rubel Jacobson’s simple tacos, featured on Food & Wine. Because the pork is so thin, it’ll cook really fast. Keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t go too far.

Though you might be tempted to load on the toppings, a minimalist approach is better with this recipe. A bit of cilantro, avocado, and lime are all you need. If you really want to go nuts, a bit of sour cream would also be good.

Ingredients:

  • 8 (¼-inch-thick) pork loin cutlets
  • 1 large sweet onion, cut crosswise into ½-inch-thick rounds
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 8 (6-inch) flour or corn tortillas, warmed
  • 1 avocado, halved, and sliced lengthwise
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves
  • Sour cream
  • Lime wedges

Directions: Light a grill. Arrange cutlets and onion on a large baking sheet, and brush all over with oil. Season with salt and pepper, then season with chili powder.

Grill onions over moderately high heat, turning once, until charred and tender, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board, and cover with foil. Grill cutlets, turning once, until just cooked through, about 2 minutes.

Transfer pork to cutting board. Coarsely chop onions and pork into ½-inch strips, and transfer to a platter. Serve with tortillas, avocado, cilantro, sour cream, and lime wedges.

4. Apricot-Smoked, Chile Glazed Lamb Tacos with Tomato-Cucumber Salsa

apricot jam

Apricot preserves are the secret ingredient for these tacos | Source: iStock

Lamb usually makes people think of Mediterranean food, but it’s no stranger to Mexican kitchens. It’s actually one of the most traditional ingredient used for barbacoa, a tender meat dish that usually cooks in an underground pit for hours. There’s no need to dig a massive hole in your yard to enjoy the earthy flavors of this protein, though. Try Bobby Flay’s glazed lamb tacos, which he shared on Food Network, for a flavorful dish that’s way faster. Lamb might become your new favorite taco filling.

Ingredients:

Salsa

  • 2 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1 serrano chile, finely diced
  • ½ English cucumber, diced
  • ½ small red onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped dill
  • ¼ cup chopped mint

Tacos

  • ½ cup apricot preserves
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle in adobo, puréed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1½ pounds boneless lamb loin
  • Canola oil
  • 8 to 12 (8-inch) flour or corn tortillas

Directions: Heat a grill to high. Combine tomatoes, serranos, cucumbers, and onions to a medium bowl. Add olive oil and 2 tablespoons vinegar. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add mint and dill, and toss to combine.

Mix preserves, remaining vinegar, chipotle purée, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Brush lamb with canola oil, and season with salt and pepper. Grill, covered, until nicely charred, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip, brush with glaze, cover, and cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part registers 125 degrees Fahrenheit for medium rare, another 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board, brush with more glaze, and let rest 10 minutes.

Grill tortillas a few seconds on each side. Slice lamb into ½-inch-thick slices. Brush each tortillas with a bit of glaze, and top with lamb and salsa. Serve.

5. Grilled Skirt Steak Tacos with Corn Relish

grilled skirt steak

Grilling steak | Source: iStock

Grilling steaks for more than two people gets pretty pricey, unless you opt for tacos. With tons of rich flavor and a shape that’s perfect for thin slices, skirt steak is a much better choice for tacos than something like rib eye and it’s a lot less expensive. Because you only need a few pieces of meat per tortilla, you can feed a hungry hoard with a pretty small amount.

Try Epicurious’ steak tacos for a dish that will please any meat lover. All you have to do is grill some marinated meat, char some veggies for a relish, then pile everything into tortillas. This dish is so simple, you can turn any day into an impromptu taco party.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound skirt steak, but into 4 pieces
  • 1½ teaspoons chipotle chile powder, divided
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
  • 6 green onions
  • 2 ears of corn, husked
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 8 (5- to 6-inch) corn tortillas

Directions: Prepare grill for medium-high heat. Sprinkle skirt steak with salt and half of chipotle powder. Whisk 1½ tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon lime juice in an 11-by-17-inch glass dish. Add meat and turn to coat. Marinate 15 minute.

Meanwhile, brush green onions and corn with 1 tablespoon oil. Season with salt and pepper. Grill until charred, turning occasionally, about 2 minutes for green onions and 7 minutes for corn. Working over a bowl, cut corn from cob. Coarsely chop green onions, and add to corn. Stir in cilantro, lime peel, remaining chile powder, ½ tablespoon oil, and 1 tablespoon lime juice. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Grill steak to desired doneness about 2 minutes per side for medium rare. Transfer to a work surface, and let rest 5 minutes.

Thinly slice meat across grain. Divide steak and juices among tortillas. Top with relish, and serve.

6. Grilled Fish Tacos with Creamy Chipotle Sauce

fish tacos

Fresh fish tacos with tomatoes | Source: iStock

A tortilla piled high with fried fish makes a delicious taco, but all of the battering and cooking in hot oil is a lot of work just for one dish. Make things easier on yourself with Saveur’s grilled version. A creamy and spicy sauce comes together in a matter of seconds in the food processor. For the fish, just sprinkle on some spices, grill, and it’s taco time.

Ingredients:

Chipotle sauce

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ⅓ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon dried dill
  • 1 canned choptole in adobo, plus 1 teaspoon sauce
  • Kosher salt

Tacos

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2½ boneless, skinless tilapia fillets, sliced in half lengthwise
  • Kosher salt
  • Canola oil
  • 8-inch corn or flour tortillas, warmed
  • ¼ head small green cabbage, thinly shredded
  • 1 small white onion, minced
  • 1 medium tomato, cored, and finely chopped
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges

Directions: In a food processor, combine all sauce ingredients. Blend until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Build a medium-hot fire in a grill. In a small bowl, mix garlic powder, paprika, cayenne, cumin, and oregano. Set aside. pat fish dry, season with salt, and sprinkle with spices. Refrigerate 15 minutes. Brush grill with oil. Grill fish, flipping once, until cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Serve fish with tortillas, cabbage, onion, tomato, sauce, and lime wedges.

7. Grilled Summer Squash Tacos

zucchini, vegetable tacos

Tacos filled with summer squash | Source: iStock

Vegetarian entrées are usually just an afterthought consisting of some mushy mushrooms. Your vegetarian friends will be stunned and satisfied when you make these Grilled Summer Squash Tacos from Mountain Mama Cooks. Veggies are at their best right now, so this is the perfect time to give this recipe a shot. While summer squash can sometimes be mushy, a screaming hot grill ensures they get a flavorful char without losing all of their texture.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound summer squash
  • 2 teaspoon olive oil
  • Pinch of chili powder
  • Pinch of Cajun seasoning
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • Salt
  • 2 avocados
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • Sliced red onion
  • Cotija cheese
  • Cilantro

Directions: Preheat grill to medium high. Cut squash in half lengthwise, and then into ½-inch wedges. Toss with olive oil, spices, and salt.

Grill squash on all sides until charred on outside and just heated through on inside. Remove to a platter.

In a small bowl, mash avocado with lime juice and a pinch of salt. Heat tortillas on the grill.

Spread avocado over tortillas, top with squash, and garnish with additional toppings. Serve.

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