Joseph Moreno, Head Chef at Garrison Brothers Distillery, has all the traditional markings of a fantastic home-style chef. Strong hands, tattooed arms, and a smile that meets his eyes. His love for cooking came from his grandmother. And while he never learned her secret to being a good cook, he often looks to her recipes for inspiration and a way to add depth into his own recipes. 

The dove carnitas tacos, crafted by Joseph, substitute the chocolate traditionally found in mole with Garrison Brothers Small Batch Bourbon. Moreno says that it “adds a layer of complexity” to the tacos in addition to the figs “bringing out the fruity notes found in the bourbon and the unique taste of the dove breast.”

Additionally, carnitas are usually made with fatty pork. Using dove meat, which is much lighter, really complements the rich flavors and spices found in the bourbon-fig mole. The flavors include distinct notes of cinnamon, honeysuckle, and spice. Garrison Brothers Bourbon replaces the bittersweet chocolate perfectly, and the high proof ensures that even after the alcohol cooks out, the sauce will retain its full-bodied flavor. Served up on warm corn tortillas with crumbled queso fresco, you’ll want to take your time savoring every bite.

Dove Carnitas Tacos with Garrison Brothers Small Batch Bourbon-Fig Mole

Photo by Nicolai McCrary

Serves 6

Dove Breast  

  • 20 dove breast, cleaned and split 

Bourbon-Fig Mole 

  • ¼ cup  Garrison Brothers Small Batch Bourbon 2019  
  • ⅓ cup rendered bacon fat, split 
  • 6 dried guajillo peppers, stemmed and seeded 
  • 4 dried New Mexico peppers, stemmed and seeded 
  • 4 dried pasilla peppers, stemmed and seeded  
  • ¼ cup almonds 
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds 
  • 2 teaspoons coriander 
  • 1 teaspoon anise seeds 
  • 1 teaspoon cumin  
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped 
  • 10 garlic cloves, minced 
  • 4 ounces figs  
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar 
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar  
  • 2 cups chicken stock 
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 


  • 12-inch skillet 
  • Saute pan 
  • Blender 
  • Fine mesh strainer 

To Serve 

  • Corn tortillas   
  • Queso Fresco  
  • Cilantro  
Photo by Nicolai McCrary


For the Dove Breast. ​Lightly season the prepared dove breast with kosher salt and black pepper. Heat the rendered bacon fat in the skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Place the dove breast in the skillet and sear them for 4 minutes without moving them. Turn them over and continue to cook to golden brown in 3-5 minutes. Remove the dove breast from the skillet and let cool slightly before shredding.  

For the Mole. ​Heat a dry pan over medium heat. Add the dried guajillos,  New Mexico, and pasilla peppers and heat until fragrant turning frequently. Remove the peppers and in the same warm pan slightly toast the almonds, coriander, anise seeds, and cumin about 2 minutes. Let cool. 

Saute the onions in the skillet with the rendered bacon fat until translucent. Add the minced  garlic and continue cooking about 5 minutes. Continue to cook the onions and garlic with the figs, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar and chicken stock, cook on low heat until figs are soft. Remove from heat and add the bourbon to the mixture.  

Combine the peppers, spices and bourbon mixture in the blender and blend on high until smooth. Season as needed with salt and pepper.  Pass through a fine mesh strainer to remove the larger solid pieces.  

To Complete. ​Heat the strained mole in the skillet over medium heat and add in the shredded dove breast. Cook until bubbles form then lower heat to simmer until tender (about 10 minutes). Prepare the corn tortillas and fill with the Bourbon-Fig Dove Mole. Garnish with queso fresco and cilantro.  

Do you think your homemade whiskey cocktail can rival the pros? We’re giving you the chance to have your recipe highlighted at the Bourbon Brawl finals competition in Austin! The prize package also includes tickets to semi-finals and finals competition, lodging accommodations for the finals, and other Texas Monthly goodies. Click to enter. Happy mixing!