At this time of the year, it’s always nice to think about summer recipes. Cooking outside is a lot of fun, and you can make some awesome dishes like smoker grilled fish tacos with garlic cilantro lime coleslaw. You might not find tacos with smoked tilapia at your local Mexican restaurant. However, when you’re cooking at home you can make Traeger grilled fish tacos your way as often as you want! This is also the BEST slaw for fish tacos and you must try it.
What Kind of Fish is Best for Smoker Grilled Fish Tacos?
These tacos with smoked tilapia are also good with other kinds of fish. Tilapia is a budget option which has a neutral flavour, which is good because it soaks up the tasty seasoning rub.
Alternative fish options include cod, roughy, flounder, catfish, or mahi-mahi. Even though the fish will be cut into bite-sized pieces, that doesn’t mean you want it falling apart on the grill. Some types of fish, such as halibut, fall apart really easily.
How to Season the Fish for Tacos
A spice rub adds plenty of south of the border flavour to these tasty fish tacos. Chilli, cumin and garlic, as well as some salt and black pepper, are all you need to flavour the fish. You don’t have to marinate the fish or leave the rub on for a long time. So it’s fine to add the rub right before cooking.
Once the spice rub ingredients are combined you can rub it over both sides of the fish. If you want to adjust the amount of chilli in there you can. Go ahead and adjust any of the ingredients or omit those you don’t like.
You could even just use salt and black pepper for a plainer result but the chilli, cumin and garlic are just so amazing I always use them.
Best Ever Slaw for Fish Tacos
This garlic cilantro lime coleslaw is really special. Shredded cabbage is the main ingredient and you can use green cabbage, red cabbage or some of each. Oil, vinegar, cilantro, basil, lime juice, and garlic, along with Greek yogurt, make the sauce.
This slaw for fish tacos is simple to make because you just have to blend all the ingredients in a food processor then toss the mixture with the cabbage. I love this garlic cilantro lime coleslaw. It would also be nice with plain grilled chicken or steak, as well as with smoker grilled fish tacos.
These Traeger grilled fish tacos take about 20 minutes to make. The fish itself takes 10 minutes to cook and you can prepare the coleslaw while the fish is on the grill.
I like these served with corn tortillas but flour tortillas are another option. Corn tortillas would be the most authentic in Mexico but there are different kinds of tacos so just pick which you prefer.
History of Fish Tacos
You might be curious about the origins of smoker grilled fish tacos as well as the garlic cilantro lime coleslaw. Fish tacos are street food in Baja, Mexico. They combine the creamy with the crispy and the spicy with the salty.
Both Ensenada and San Felipe in Baja claim to have made the first fish taco. Head to this popular tourist destination that straddles Mexico and California and enjoy this regional seafood delicacy.
Known as ‘tacos de pescado’ locally, Baja tacos were the inspiration for smoker grilled fish tacos and the tasty slaw for fish tacos. The fish for Baha tacos can be fried or grilled and served with various salad vegetables, hot sauce, lime juice, and more.
A ‘street taco’ (the best kind) is served in 2 tortillas in case one breaks. You won’t want the tortilla falling apart in your hand is why!
You can find fish tacos in the Northwest of Mexico as well as Baja, but they aren’t that common outside of those areas. Fortunately making your own tasty tacos with smoked tilapia is pretty straightforward.
How to Serve Traeger Grilled Fish Tacos
These are a meal in one although you could make some Mexican rice or elote (Mexican style corn). If you just want a snack for a balmy evening though, you don’t need to make anything else with these.
One or two fish tacos (or three – who’s counting?) makes a wonderful snack. You can sit outside if the weather is nice and enjoy the aroma of these smoker grilled fish tacos as they cook.
Smoker Grilled Fish Tacos with Garlic Cilantro Lime Coleslaw Recipe
Grilled Fish Tacos with Garlic Cilantro Lime Coleslaw
- 2 lb. Tilapia filets
- 1 Tsp. chili powder
- 1 Tsp. cumin
- 1 Tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 Tsp. black pepper
- 1/2 Tsp. sea salt
- 8 corn tortillas street taco size
Garlic Cilantro Lime Coleslaw
- 1/4 Cup olive oil
- 1/4 Cup red wine vinegar
- 1/4 Cup basil chopped fresh
- 1/2 Cup cilantro fresh leaves
- 6 Cloves garlic
- 1 Tsp. sea salt
- 2 limes juiced
- 1 Cup Greek yogurt
- 1 Tsp. black pepper
- 2 Cup cabbage shredded
- Preheat the smoker to 375 degrees F with lid closed for 15 minutes
- Prepare the coleslaw. Add all ingredients but the cabbage to a food processor or blender and puree for 15 seconds. Pour sauce into a medium mixing bowl and set aside ¼ cup to use atop the tacos. Add shredded cabbage to the remaining sauce and toss to coat. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- In a small bowl, combine chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, pepper, and salt.
- Rub seasoning onto both sides of the fish
- Place fish directly onto the grill grates and cook until opaque and reaches 145* (about 10 minutes)
- Remove the fish from the smoker and place onto a wooden cutting board. Cut into bite size pieces
- Add tortillas to the smoker to warm for 5 minutes.
- Prepare tacos by adding grilled fish to the centre. Top with coleslaw, red onion, and a drizzle of the cilantro lime sauce. Garnish with cilantro.
The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.
Let me know if you try these smoker grilled fish tacos with garlic cilantro lime coleslaw. They are a summer hit and perfect if you are looking to make tacos with smoked tilapia. Pellet grilled or Traeger grilled fish tacos are a summertime BBQ favourite.