Sunday, June 29, 2008

Red Chile Grilled Chicken

I'd like to give a shout out to Simply Recipes, a fabulous site with loads of delicious and fairly uncomplicated recipes that every cook can enjoy.

Recently I saw a recipe there for Red Chile Marinated Grilled Chicken which immediately caught my eye. Because it's summer and we're always grilling (I recently bought my husband one of those robo-grills from Weber), I thought this recipe would fit the bill nicely for outdoor cooking, but also be decent enough for indoor broiling, if it came to that.

I also didn't have all the ingredients on hand, so please note that the recipe I've posted here is modified per my preparations, with the only glaring difference being my addition of one cup of dark brown sugar. After having tasted it, I cannot imagine having it without the sugar, so please do try it. My grade: A

Red Chile Grilled Chicken (adapted)


  • 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken parts, preferably thighs, trimmed of excess skin and fat (I used four bone in breasts and four thighs, and liked it all)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 1/4 cup Mexican red chili sauce (I bought a large can of Mexican tomato sauce with chilis -- is this the same thing? Either way, it was perfect.)
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • A couple of turns on a black pepper grinder
  • A pinch of dried oregano, crushed (I used dried Greek oregano from my garden)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (I think I used 3 whole cloves, but we like garlic)
  • 1 cup brown sugar


  • Avocado slices
  • Thinly sliced lettuce or cabbage
  • Thinly sliced radishes
  • Cilantro

* To make your own homemade sauce, take 2 ancho and 2 guajillo chiles, open them up, remove the stems, seeds, and ribs. Lightly toast the chiles on a medium griddle or cast iron pan for a minute or two, flattening them down with a metal spatula. Place the chiles in a saucepan, cover with water, bring to a boil, remove from heat and let soak for 10-15 minutes, until chiles are softened. Place chiles, 1 1/4 cup of the soaking water, 1 clove of garlic, a pinch of salt, in a blender. Blend until completely smooth. Proceed with the recipe, but don't add any more garlic to the sauce.


1 Combine chili sauce, vinegar (2 Tbsp if using canned sauce, 4 Tbsp in you've made your own sauce), allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin, black pepper, oregano, sugar and garlic. Bring to a simmer and let simmer for 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let cool.

2 Reserve some sauce for basting. To the rest of the sauce add all (salted) chicken parts and cook at low heat for an hour. (I always do this when I'm grilling chicken; it cuts down on cooking time and ensures tenderness). Once done cooking, let cool and then place in fridge until time to grill.

3 Remove the chicken from the refrigerator before starting up the grill. Preheat your grill, allowing for a space on the grill for cooking the chicken with indirect heat. (If using coals, move all the coals to one side of the grill, if using gas, after the grill is hot, turn off one of the burners.) Brush the grill grates with olive oil. Make sure the chicken pieces are well coated on all sides with the paste-like marinade. Place the chicken pieces on the indirect heat part of the grill (not over a flame or coals). Cook, covered, for 25-30 minutes, turning the pieces over after the first 15 minutes. Try to keep the temperature in the grill around 350°F. Chicken is done when juices run clear, breasts have an internal temperature of 165°F and thighs 175°F.

If you aren't in a grilling mood, you can bake the chicken pieces in the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the chicken pieces in a roasting pan, skin-side up. Cook for about 45-50 minutes, until breasts have an internal temperature of 165°F and thighs 175°F.

Serve garnished with sliced avocado, sliced lettuce or cabbage dressed with a little vinegar and oil, sliced radishes and cilantro.

Difficulty: Intermediate

Serves: 4- 6

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