Sunday, August 14, 2011

Grilled Tequila Lime Chicken

I bought a sack of limes at the market the other day.  After I brought them home, I realized that I now had an obligation.  I hate having a food commitment.  I'm more of a shop-as-you-go kind of person.  What was I thinking?  One cannot live on Margaritas and Mojitos alone, so I decided to grill up some Tequila Lime Chicken, the quick version.  I've made Ina Garten's version many times.  I've also modified it many times.  Ina uses a LOT of citrus in her marinade and she lets it sit in the marinade at least 8 hours.  I've had two major issues with this.  For one thing, all that lime juice reacts with the chicken and starts to "cook " the chicken.  Not cook, in the sense that you will be able to eat it, but the thinner parts of the chicken start to look opaque.   Sure a long marinating time helps to impart flavor into the chicken, but  I'm kind of turned off by that "white edged" chicken.  My other issue with the original recipe was the length of time it needed to marinate.  Long marinating times = planning.  Planning is not always practical, and hey, why shouldn't you enjoy a flavorful grilled chicken that you didn't have to think about the day before?   I figured out that if I give the chicken a little extra kick of spice,  I can marinate it for an hour and get a version of tequila lime chicken that I liked even better.
Meet the main players:
                              Grilled Tequila Lime Chicken
                                        Click Here for Printable Recipe

Inspired by Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa Family Style
Serves 4

  • 1  cut up chicken (about 3 lbs)  or if you prefer white meat, 4 pieces of chicken breast with bone and skin.
  • 1/4 cup spicy rub (use your favorite or see quick recipe below**)
  • 1/2 cup gold tequila
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper (you can use a very finely minced jalapeno pepper if you prefer, but ground chipotle works better for a quick marinade)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. Wash chicken and pat dry with paper towels.  
  2. Rub chicken on all surfaces and under skin (where you can) with spicy rub. 
  3. Place rubbed chicken in a ziplock bag while you make your marinade.
  4. In a bowl, whisk tequila, lime juice, olive oil, garlic, chipotle pepper and salt together.  
  5. Open the ziplock bag and pour marinade over chicken.  Press out excess air and seal.
  6. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  7. 10 minutes before cooking:  preheat gas grill to 400 degrees using all burners.
  8. Using tongs, wipe down grill with a paper towel soaked with a little olive oil.
  9. Turn off one burner and place chicken, skin side down, over the area without flame (indirect heat). Reserve marinade for one basting. Maintain heat at 350-375 degrees while cooking.
  10. Grill for 15 minutes.
  11. After 15 minutes, baste uncooked side of chicken, and discard remaining marinade.
  12. Turn chicken and grill for another 10 minutes. 
  13. Chicken should reach a temperature of 160-165 degrees.  Dark meat may take longer to cook.
  14. Move chicken over the flame and cook another 3-5 minutes to crispen up.  
  15. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
**Spicy Rub
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika (or hot paprika if you like extra spice)
  • 2 teaspoons dried sage
This chicken goes great with some fresh corn cooked on the grill with a little chipotle butter, a green salad and a nicely chilled chardonnay.  Enjoy!

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