Get Grilling: Grilled Mojo Chicken

America's Test Kitchen - Mojo Chicken

Courtesy of America’s Test Kitchen

Serves 4 to 6
Total Time 1 1/2 hours (plus 1-hour for marinating)

The Chicken Bible Book Cover

Barbecued chicken is a popular grilling go-to for many of us. It can also be easy to get into a grilling rut, reaching for the same favorite recipe (or, yes, bottle) every time. America’s Test Kitchen is here to help with its new chicken cookbook, The Chicken Bible. With 500 recipes, you’re guaranteed to find new ways to celebrate all things chicken. Here is one of our favorites designed to take your grilling to the next level.

Mojo sauce is a cornerstone of Cuban cookery, and its tart, sweet, and garlicky flavors make for great grilled chicken. To mimic the juice of sour oranges common in mojo marinades, this recipe uses a combination of orange and lime juices as well as their zests. Toasting the garlic took off its raw edge. Pineapple juice added sweetness while oregano, black pepper, and cumin provided a spicy backbone. The bone-in chicken leg quarters stayed juicy on the grill and soaked up marinade well, especially when slashed to allow the marinade access to the meat. Basting the meat with the marinade multiple times as it grilled gives the chicken an extra dose of mojo flavor. Canned and bottled pineapple juices are great in this recipe, but when it comes to the citrus, freshly squeezed juice works best. A garlic press makes quick work of mincing the six cloves. Some leg quarters are sold with the backbone attached; removing it before cooking makes the chicken easier to serve.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 tbs yellow mustard
  • 2 tsp grated orange zest plus 1/3 cup juice
  • 2 tsp lime zest plus 1/3 cup juice (3 limes)
  • 1 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp pepper, divided
  • 3/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tbs coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tbs minced jalapeño chile
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • 1 tbs table salt for marinade
  • 6 (10- to 12-ounce) chicken leg quarters, trimmed

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat oil and garlic in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring often, until tiny bubbles appear and garlic is fragrant and straw-colored, 3 to 5 minutes. Let cool for at least 5 minutes.
  2. Whisk pineapple juice, mustard, orange zest and juice, lime zest and juice, cumin, 3/4 teaspoon pepper, and oregano together in a medium bowl. Slowly whisk in cooled garlic oil until emulsified.
  3. Transfer half of the mojo mixture to a small bowl and stir in cilantro, jalapeño, salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper; set aside mojo sauce.
  4. Whisk 1 tablespoon salt into the remaining mojo mixture until dissolved. Transfer mojo marinade to 1-gallon zipper-lock bag.
  5. Place chicken, skin side up, on cutting board, and pat dry with paper towels. Leaving drumsticks and thighs attached, make 4 parallel diagonal slashes in each piece of chicken: 1 across drumstick, 1 across leg thigh joint, and 2 across thigh (slashes should reach bone). Flip chicken and make 1 more diagonal slash across the back of each drumstick. Transfer chicken to bag with mojo marinade. Seal bag, turn to coat chicken and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
  6. For a charcoal grill open the bottom vent completely. Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes (6 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour two-thirds evenly over half of the grill, then pour the remaining coals over the other half of the grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent completely. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.
    1. For a gas grill Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Turn primary burner to medium and turn other burner(s) to low. (Adjust primary burner [or, if using a 3-burner grill, primary burner, and second burner] as needed to maintain grill temperature between 400 and 425 degrees.)
  7. Clean and oil cooking grate. Divide reserved mojo sauce equally between 2 bowls. Remove chicken from -marinade, letting excess marinade drip off. Place on the cooler side of the grill, skin side up, cover, and cook until the underside of chicken is lightly browned about 15 minutes. Using the first bowl of mojo, baste chicken, then flip chicken and baste the second side (use all of the first bowl). Cover and continue to cook until chicken registers 165 degrees, about 15 minutes.
  8. Slide chicken to hotter side of the grill, keeping skin side down, and cook (covered if using gas) until skin is well browned 3 to 5 minutes. Flip chicken and continue to cook until chicken registers 175 degrees, about 3 minutes. Transfer chicken to platter and spoon remaining mojo sauce from the second bowl over top. Tent with aluminum foil and let rest for 5 minutes.

Serve.

SOURCEAmerica's Test Kitchen
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