Chicken shop tacos

Chicken shop tacos

Hungry For That
Lauren Bamford

I am going to take a guess and say that most families in Australia, at one point or another, have had a dinner consisting of a store-bought barbecue chicken, a loaf of white bread, iceberg lettuce, tomato and mayo. Growing up, this was on our table for dinner once every couple of weeks during the height of summer – mainly when my parents just couldn’t be bothered cooking because of the heat. I remember the mad rush around the table, everyone grabbing the same few ingredients to slightly customise their sandwich. My mum would add chilli sauce, my brother pickles, and me, I would add avocado.

After moving out of home, I remember plonking the same ingredients on the table a few times. I am not sure whether it was the chicken, the hot summer or the absence of my brothers and my parents, but I could never recreate the mid-summer barbecue chicken dinner vibe with the same ingredients.

My fond childhood memories of my family tearing the charcoal chicken carcass to shreds seem unrepeatable – not even with my own family. My kids just have different tastes and my wife, Beci, hates white bread … but I just can’t help tinkering with the dish ever so slightly to try to recreate that vibe all over again.


Quantity Ingredient
200ml apple cider vinegar
1 lime, juiced, or to taste
1 quantity Flour tortillas
whole egg mayonnaise, to serve
iceberg lettuce, shredded, to serve
radishes, quartered, to serve
lime wedges, to serve

From scratch

Quantity Ingredient
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1.3kg whole chicken, butterflied

From the chicken shop

Quantity Ingredient
1 barbecue chicken

Tomato salsa

Quantity Ingredient
3 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 avocado, stoned and diced
1 gherkin, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 lime, juiced
small handful croutons
1 tablespoon red onion, finely chopped
handful coriander leaves, chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C.
  2. If cooking your own barbecue chicken, combine the garlic powder, sugar, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, ground coriander and salt in a small bowl. Rub the spice mix all over the chicken, making sure it’s well covered. Transfer the chicken to a small roasting tin. Add 125 ml water to the tin and roast in the oven for 2½ hours. After the first hour, baste the chicken with the pan juices every 30 minutes. When the chicken is crispy and cooked through, remove it from the oven and let it rest.
  3. To make the tomato salsa, combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and add salt to taste.
  4. Shred the chicken meat from the bones and dress it with the apple cider vinegar and 2 tablespoons of the roasting tin juices or 2 tablespoons of juice from the chicken bag. Add a good pinch of salt, a squeeze of lime and chop it all together.
  5. To warm the tortillas, heat a non-stick frying pan over high heat. Warm the tortillas for about 10 seconds each, or until they become soft and pliable.
  6. To assemble, spread a small amount of whole egg mayonnaise on half of the tortilla, then top with some of the chicken, iceberg lettuce and tomato salsa. Serve with the radishes on the side and a fresh squeeze of lime.
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