Grilled Mexican Chicken Recipe

I’m a big fan of grilled food.

Everything about the grilling process itself is so enticing–the incredible smells that emerge from the grill and the challenge of cooking to ensure that the outside is crispy-good and the inside is moist and tender.  Most of all, I just enjoy hanging out with a glass of wine in the evening air, talking with Rob while we wait for the magic to happen.

We ‘burned’ (Ha! like the pun?) through several cheaper grills before we finally ended up with our Weber grill.  This model’s at least 6 or 7 years old and is still going strong, despite its heavy use.  It’s not a fancy grill but does the job for us.  It’s been a workhorse and makes a mean burger, produces crispy grilled asparagus with ease and can manage 10 chicken shish kabobs on its grilling surface.  I’ve found that if I cover it and keep it clean, it continues to reward me with yummy dinners.

I especially like thinking about the herb and spice combinations I’ll use to flavor the meat to fit my tastes each day and troll the web constantly looking for good recipes.  Here’s one that I modified from a Cooking Light recipe.  I had some extra limes in the fridge and some fresh cilantro from the garden, so took out the thyme in their recipe and added lime and cilantro. I like the chili powder in this recipe because, after all, what girl doesn’t like a little spice in her life?

Grilled Mexican Chicken


1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons grated lime zest
1 ½ tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 (4-pound) whole chicken, preferably organic and free range
Cooking spray


1. Gas or charcoal grill preparation:

    • Gas:  Heat one side to medium-high and leave one side with no heat.
    • Charcoal:  Arrange hot coals on either side of charcoal grate, leaving an empty space in middle.

2. Combine first 7 ingredients; set aside.
3. Prepare chicken for the grill by removing giblets and neck and trim excess fat. Place chicken, breast side down, on a cutting surface.  Cut the chicken in half along the backbone, cutting to, but not through, the other side. After turning the chicken over, start at the neck cavity and carefully slip your fingers between the skin and the meat to loosen skin from breast and drumsticks.  Once this is complete, rub your spice mixture under the skin and press to secure it.
4. Place chicken, breast side down, on your grill rack that’s coated with cooking spray over the direct heat side; cover and cook 7 minutes. Turn chicken over; cook 7 minutes. Move chicken over to the indirect heat; cover and cook 45 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in meaty part of thigh registers 165°. Transfer chicken to a cutting board and let rest 10 minutes to get all the juices set. Remove and discard skin prior to serving.

We had this last night with a salad of lettuce and kale fresh from the garden with organic tomatoes, cucumber and balsamic vinaigrette.  A side of juicy local strawberries and cottage cheese finished out the meal.  Yum!

So…no photos from this recipe.  I’m still working on taking food photos without ugly shadows.  Trust me though, the chicken was absolutely delicious and surprisingly easy to make.


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