Taco Poblano ABT's with Smoked Tomatillo Salsa

Discussion in 'ABT's' started by snorkelinggirl, Sep 8, 2013.

  1. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Seems like everybody is doing super cool smoking projects this weekend....whole pigs, pig heads, picnic hams. I'm nowhere near that fabulous, but I wanted to try something new so I got the idea of poblano ABT's from this awesome post by vaquero01:


    I had already planned to make taco salad this weekend, so I instead used the ground beef and other ingredients to make a taco meat filling for the poblanos, and then smoked some tomatillos to make smoked tomatillo salsa to go along with it. I got the idea of smoked tomatillo salsa from webowabo and dls1....thank you, guys, for the inspiration and instructions!!

    Poblanos work GREAT for ABT's. Thanks so much for the inspiration, vaquero!! They are larger so you can use them as a full meal, not as spicy as jalapenos but with good flavor and a bit of kick, and they aren't as watery as bell peppers so they keep a better texture.

    Taco meat filling....Saute 1 large diced onion, 2 minced serrano chilis (include seeds if you like spicy), and 4 minced garlic cloves in a little oil until soft.

    Add 4 tsp chili powder and 3 tsp ground cumin, and mix together.

    Add 2 lbs ground beef, saute until all pink is gone. I use 90/10 grassfed beef so I don't have any fat to drain off, but if you use a 80/20 or 70/30 ground beef you should probably drain off the fat before continuing.

    Add about 3/4 of a 15 oz can of tomato sauce (or the whole can if you like soupier taco filling). Keep cooking for a few more minutes until it thickens nicely. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    This amount of taco filling would make enough for say 12 - 15 poblanos. I used about 1/2 of the meat mix for 6 poblanos and a couple of sweet italian peppers. So portion out enough meat mixture for your peppers, mix in enough cream cheese to bind the meat together, and add cheddar cheese or whatever cheese you like to taste.

    Cut the poblanos in half, scrape out the seeds and stem, and pack the filling in. Poblanos aren't very hot, so you don't need to worry about wearing plastic gloves...you won't burn yourself. Wrap bacon around your poblanos, or just drape it over the top if you have short pieces of bacon.

    Smoke the poblanos at 225 deg F until the bacon is cooked and the poblanos are soft, 2 - 3 hours. I used apple pellets in my AMNPS for a milder smoke. Here they are after 2 hours.

    Then I popped them under the broiler in the oven for a few minutes to crisp up the bacon.

    For the tomatillo salsa, I took 1/2 lb of husked and rinsed tomatillos (about 4) and cut them in half. While I was prepping the ABT's, I smoked the tomatillos by placing the cut side down directly on the smoker grate, and smoked them for 1 hour at about 180 deg F using apple pellets in the AMNPS. For my salsa I very loosely followed a recipe by Rick Bayless. I used the 8 oz of smoked tomatillos, 1 large garlic clove, 1 large jalapeno (I seeded it, but leave the seeds in for a spicier salsa), a handful of cilantro leaves, and a small piece of shallot about the size of 2 garlic cloves.

    I used my food processor to finely mince the garlic, shallot, and jalapeno (just throw them in piece by piece while the processor is running....this is a really easy way to finely mince when making salsa). Then add in the tomatillos and cilantro and process until smooth. Then I added about 1/2 tsp of hickory smoked kosher salt to finish.

    Here are some plated shots......

    I have to say, the smoked tomatillo salsa is AMAZING. I've never really liked tomatillo salsa before. Yes, it is bright and acidic, but no depth or body to it. But, holey cow, with a little smoke on the tomatillos, it is a much different thing. I love it. Webowabo says you can smoke everything....garlic, onion, tomatillos, jalapenos....and then just blend it together for the salsa. I love the idea of that, and might try it next time. But smoking the tomatillos only did give a great taste of smoke without dominating the other flavors.

    Thank you everybody for checking out my post. Hope you all have a great week!
    webowabo likes this.
  2. Clarissa

    That all looks GREAT. I have been doing a lot of ABT's lately. I think the jalapenos are about over in the garden.

    Happy smoken.

  3. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hey David,

    Thank you!! It's a great time of year with all the fresh tomatoes and peppers!

    I've made jalapenos ABT's a few times, but I thought they were too hot. And I've tried using mini sweet peppers too, but I thought those were too bland. But like Goldilocks of the smoking world, I think that poblanos are just right. (har har)

    Thanks for checking out my post, and have a great day!
  4. chef willie

    chef willie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Looks real nice Clarissa.....I just happen to have 4 poblano plants in the garden to get to this week. Some will be added to salsa, some just roasted for fajita use & some I make 'whalers' out of. That's stuffed with shrimp or crab and cheese, usually pepperjack, and grilled. You can score a 1# tin of crab at Winco for 10 bucks. Thanks for the inspiration.....Willie
  5. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    That looks Great! Two suggestions...Add a ripe Avocado to your Salsa, it will add the Depth and Round Mouth Feel, the Tomatillo Salsa lacks, thicker and creamy too. Scrap the Chili Powder premix and get some Dried Ancho and Guajillo Chiles. For that amount 1 Ancho and 2 Guajillos, seeded and toasted in a dry pan until fragrant, ground with 1/2tsp of Mexican Oregano, will blow you away! The Premixed store bought stuff doesn't compare and you are too much of a Foodie to mess with that Crap...JJ
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2013
    snorkelinggirl likes this.
  6. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hey Chef Willie,

    Thanks for the idea about stuffing the poblanos with shrimp/crab and pepperjack...that sounds great! I'll have to try that before the local poblanos are out of season. So cool that you are growing your own....I'm glad that they survived last Thursday's storm!

    Have a great Sunday!
  7. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hey Chef JJ,

    I am giving myself the Homer Simpson d'oh slap right now......great suggestions, I'll most definitely follow them next time. Thank you!!!

    I was thinking this morning that I should try smoking and dehydrating some local chiles while they are in season, and I might give that a try next weekend. In any case, I can certainly find the packaged dried anchos, guajillo, and oregano at my local Mexican market, and will follow your instructions to make my own seasoning mix next time. I'm really looking forward to seeing how much better it tastes!

    Thanks very much for the cooking advice....I love it!! Keep it coming!!
  8. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Just a side note...The premix has some Cumin and a little Salt in it too but since you use it any way I left that out. I didn't want you to taste it and think, Chef J is an idiot, this taste nothing like the store bought stuff! " [​IMG]...JJ
  9. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Har. I wouldn't think that, regardless! But thank you for the clarification!
  10. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Great looking meal Clarissa!
  11. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thank you, Case! I've been enjoying following your picnic ham smoke this weekend too!
  12. driedstick

    driedstick Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Man how did I miss this one that looks great good job.
  13. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hey, thank you DS. I appreciate the compliments! I made these again yesterday using chorizo sausage and red poblanos, and they were even better. Poblano ABTs are my new favorites!!
  14. webowabo

    webowabo Master of the Pit

    Sorry Clarissa.. I missed this start. .. EVERYTHING looks GREAT.. and how about that salsa... ;) told ya it was greatness. .. tomatillos take on the subtle smoke just amazing like...
  15. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hey Mikey,

    Yeah, you were pretty busy with your pig roast a couple of weekends back, so I'll give you a pass on missing my post! :biggrin: Thanks again for the smoked tomatillo salsa suggestion....you are right, it was amazing, and I'll never go back to unsmoked tomatillo salsa again. It made a world of difference!

    Thanks again, and hope you have a great night!!
  16. webowabo

    webowabo Master of the Pit

    It was a busy weekend. .. but done with it now... my lady im glad the salsa worked out... :) I got goat heads on the menu for this weekend. . Stay tuned. ..please ;)
  17. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    Somehow I missed this too, Clarissa...very nicely done!  A nice twist on one of our old favorites...and I really gotta put that salsa on my 'to do' list.  [​IMG]

  18. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Goats head! Holey schmoley!

    You are a nose-to-tail paragon....I'll be watching for it!!
  19. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hey Red, thank you so much!! I got the idea of the smoked tomatillo salsa from Mikey and dls1, and just an hour of smoke on the tomatillos made an amazing improvement in flavor. Chef JJ suggested mixing in some chopped avocado with the salsa, so definitely do that too.

    Thanks again, and have a great night!

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