Grilled Chicken with Yucatan Spices


I’m not really one to conform to gender roles, but that notion falls to the wayside when it comes to grilling. Confession: I have no idea how to grill. I have never so much as started a grill, let alone actually cooked anything on it. I’m sure that I could learn easily, but considering I cook 97% of the time, I will gladly hand over that 3% to my grilling-competent husband. Especially when it means not standing near a hot grill and under a blazing hot sun. No thank you please.

For the kids’ party back in March, we made dry-rub/grilled chicken with barbecue sauce and I could not get enough. Grilling bone-in chicken (or any chicken, honestly) is rare in our household but I think I can officially say that between the bbq chicken and this, that will not be the case any more. Also, that my kids find weird immense pleasure eating chicken off the bone.

The marinade for this is super simple. The cider vinegar gives it a little tang and the cinnamon and cloves add a warm spice, but nothing overwhelming. Grilling this on a charcoal grill gave it an awesome smoky flavor, so I’d definitely go that route if you are able to. The original recipe calls for just microwaving the asparagus (or seasonal vegetable of your choice) but why do that when you already have a grill heated (and someone to do the grilling for you) and grilled vegetables are fabulous?

Grilled Chicken with Yucatan Spices

  • 20 minutes (more if you marinate)
  • 30 minutes
  • 4 servings


  • 1 head garlic, broken into individual cloves (about 12 cloves)
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 6 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • pinch ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 lbs. bone-in/skin-on chicken
  • 1 lb. asparagus or seasonal vegetable
  • Salsa, for serving


  1. Cut a small slit in the side of each garlic clove, and place them all into a microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave on high for 30 seconds. When cool enough to handle, slip off the papery husks. Put them into a running food processor one at a time, letting each one get fully chopped before adding the next. Stop the food processor, and add the oil, cider vinegar, cloves, pepper, cinnamon, oregano, sugar, and about 1/2 teaspoon salt. Process until smooth.
  2. Scrape half the marinade into a small saucepan and the other half into a large bowl/dish or resealable bag. To the saucepan, add the broth and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add the chicken to the large bowl and toss to coat in the marinade. Marinate as you prepare your grill or for several hours.
  3. Get your grill ready. For gas, heat one side to medium. For charcoal, light a fire and let it burn until the charcoal is covered with white ash and about medium-hot, then move the coals to one side.
  4. Lay the chicken pieces skin side down on the grill. Cook for 5-6 minutes, until nice and brown. Flip them over with tongs, moving them to the cooler side of the grill. Cook until completely tender, about 10-15 more minutes, depending on the size of the chicken pieces.
  5. While the chicken rests, toss your asparagus with a little oil and then grill until tender, about 5 minutes.
  6. Return to the broth mixture in the saucepan, and bring to a boil. Taste and season with salt if necessary. Arrange the chicken and asparagus on a platter or individual plates, and drizzle with the sauce. Pass the salsa at the table.
Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless

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