Tequila-Jalapeno Glazed Chicken

Dsc02067 Note to self:  Try not to barbecue when the wind speed is over 30 mph.  I learned that one the hard way, after I almost set my beloved wall of rosemary bushes on fire last night (on the upside, it would have smelled great).  Deep down I knew that I should abort my outdoor grilling plans and bring the cooking indoors, but this is one recipe that I knew just wouldn’t taste the same unless it developed that nice crispy skin that only my little Weber grill could produce. 

So there I stood, trying to shield the wind until the coals were ready, occasionally dousing them with a squirt of lighter fluid to keep the fires going, endangering the existence of my eyelashes with each squirt.  To make matters worse, my new dog, who has developed a talent for jumping up on the door and hitting the lock latch whenever I am outside (couldn’t he just learn to fetch the paper?), decided to demonstrate this skill for me again last night.  Fortunately, after last week’s experience of being locked out of the house in my pajamas for 1 1/2 hours until the locksmith came, I had kept a spare key hidden outdoors.  This just wasn’t the ideal time to go digging for it.

Fortunately, all of this trouble was well worth it in the end.  This chicken turned out to be juicy and delicious, a great reward after a challenging cooking process.  The sweet and slightly spicy glaze caramelized nicely and gave the chicken a nice crisp, lightly charred skin.  I grilled some portobello mushrooms alongside the chicken, basting them with some of the spare glaze, and they absorbed the flavor quite well.  Here are a few extra tips for this glazed grilled chicken:

  • You may use boneless, skinless chicken breasts for this recipe; however, the chicken will be moister if you use bone-in skin-on pieces.
  • This recipe would also taste great using pork chops or a firm fish like swordfish steaks or mahi-mahi.
  • For some extra flavor, squeeze a lime over the chicken breasts during the final stages of grilling.
  • Serve the chicken with a variety of grilled vegetables, such as portobello mushrooms, peppers, zucchini, and red onion.
  • Pineapple juice may be substituted for orange juice.

Tequila-Jalapeno Glazed Chicken

Serves 4


1 1/2 tablespoons ground coriander

2 teaspoons coarse salt

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

4 bone-in skin-on chicken breasts

2/3 cup orange juice

1/2 cup tequila

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup honey

2 jalapenos with seeds, minced

2 shallots, minced

Mix the coriander, salt, and red pepper.  Sprinkle the mixture all over the chicken.  Arrange the chicken, skin side up, on a baking sheet.  Cover and chill the chicken for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Combine the orange juice, tequila, brown sugar, honey, jalapenos, and shallots in a medium saucepan.  Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the mixture thickens slightly, about 10 minutes.  Cool the glaze and set aside 1/4 cup for serving.

Spray a grill with nonstick cooking spray.  Prepare a barbecue over medium heat.  Arrange the chicken, skin side up, on the grill.  Grill for 15 minutes, turning occasionally.  Brush the chicken with the remaining glaze from the saucepan.  Turn the chicken over and brush with the glaze.  Grill until the juices run clear when pierced with a fork or until an instant read thermometer reads 170F degrees when inserted into the chicken, about 10 minutes longer.  Transfer to a platter and spoon the reserved glaze over. 

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