Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Mexican Roadside Chicken

I was looking for tips on how to grill pizza on charcoal (which is a life-changing experience that deserves its own future blog post) when I came across Meatwave, a blog devoted to one of my favorite activities:  grilling!  He's got some great photos and so far I've enjoyed trying out a few of his recipes, including this one.

Admittedly, there's nothing that screams "Mexican" about this chicken to me.  But don't take my word for it because I've never been to Mexico.  What I will say is that this chicken turns an awesome reddish orange color when it grills and that it's super juicy... even the white meat is tender.  The combination of the wet rub and the charcoal grill gives the chicken a smoky flavor without adding extra spice and heat.  We enjoyed this chicken, even though E thought it was improved by the addition of some Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce.  I agreed and I was happy to shake a few drops of the sauce on my chicken, as well as the accompanying rice and beans.

This chicken does not need to marinade for a long time.  It's one of those great last-minute recipes.  ShopRite had chicken 40% off and I had this meal on the grill 45 minutes after returning from the store.  This chicken is a nice option for entertaining on the grill.  It's juicy and while flavorful, it's non-offensive.  Plus, the bright orange-red color is really appetizing.

This recipe is made for a charcoal grill.  If you're intimidated by the thought of cooking with fire, please check out this tutorial that E and I did last year.  Otherwise, you can always use your gas grill or even cook indoors.

Mexican Roadside Chicken
serves 4
adapted (barely) by me, via Meatwave who adapted from Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless

1 1/2 teaspoons ground chile powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped or crushed through a garlic press
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
olive oil, for drizzling
1 lime

1 large chicken, about 3 lbs, butterflied
An equal amount of bone-in chicken pieces (I used 2 breasts and 3 drumsticks)

Light your grill. (Please read this post for tips for working with charcoal.)  While the charcoal is lighting, mix chile powder, oregano, cinnamon, garlic, vinegar, orange juice, and salt together in a small bowl.  Place the chicken in a large zip-top storage bag and pour marinade over chicken.  Set aside.

When the charcoal is fully lit and covered in gray ash, pour coals out and arrange them on one side of the charcoal grate, keeping the other side empty. Remove chicken from bag and drizzle lightly with olive oil on both sides.  Place the chicken over the cool side of the grill, skin side down.  Save any leftover marinade. Flip the chicken over and pour remaining marinade over chicken. Cover the grill and cook at 350 degrees until an instant read thermometer reads 165 degrees when inserted into the thickest part of the breast, about 45 minutes. Remove the chicken from the grill and allow to rest for 10 to 15 minutes.  Squeeze fresh lime juice over chicken before serving.

Don't have a grill?  Try roasting this chicken in your oven at 400 degrees until the breast reaches 165 degrees.  It won't have that smoky flavor, but it will still be good.


  1. This chicken looks so yummy & is making me so hungry! I love your foodie blog and can not wait to try some of the recipes. Great photography also. I decided to follow so I look forward to more great food.

    Have a great day.

  2. My husband loves to grill. In fact hes been grilling our chicken for the last week. Im going to show him this recipe. We eat chicken just about everynight so we like to have a nice variety of ways to have it

  3. Ok...this is why I need a house with a yard or deck for grilling.

  4. Looks and sounds amazing! We need to get a grill for our backyard ASAP!

  5. When I made Mexican Roadside Chicken, I found that keeping the bird whole as a spatchcock helped keep the bird more juicy. Also I basted the chicken while on the grill to help boost the flavour.


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