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Sinaloa Chicken

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Make this mouth-watering grilled Sinaloa chicken marinated in a citrus and chili mixture, then cooked to perfection over an open flame.

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What is Sinaloa Chicken?

Sinaloa chicken is a popular Mexican street food chicken marinated in citrus juice and chilis, then grilled over coals. Traditionally, the chicken is spatchcocked, grilled, cut in half lengthwise, and sold. Our recipe calls for a whole cut-up chicken, but you can certainly use the traditional spatchcock method. 

Cooking Equipment

While we recommend cooking this Sinaloa chicken over charcoal, you can certainly use a gas or pellet grill. In fact, you can cook this chicken right in your oven at 350 degrees F. Keep an eye on it and check the temperature a little earlier in the cooking process. Each method works a little differently, so always consult the manufacturer’s recommendations before cooking on a specific unit. If you are using a pellet grill, we recommend pecan, apple, or cherry wood for this recipe.

Choose the Right Cuts for Sinaloa Chicken

You have many choices with how to prep the chicken including what parts you use. As mentioned above, you can spatchcock or butterfly the chicken (which means to remove the backbone with kitchen shears and lay the chicken out flat) or use a whole chicken cut up into individual pieces. If you‘re a fan of chicken thighs or drumsticks, please feel free to use them!

Sinaloa Chicken

Key Ingredients for Sinaloa Chicken

  • 1 Whole chicken, cut up
  • Guajillo Chilis: This Sinaloa chicken recipe uses dried guajillo peppers, but you can also use chile de Arbol or various smoky/spicy chili powders of your choice. They are usually available at your local grocery store. Use hot but not boiling water to rehydrate the chilis. Wear food-safe gloves when handling hot peppers, fresh or dried.
  • White Vinegar: This Sinaloa chicken recipe calls for white vinegar, but you can substitute with rice wine vinegar and apple cider vinegar. Some cooks swear by lime juice, and use it instead of vinegar.
  • Orange juice (fresh squeezed is best -avoid orange juice concentrate)
  • Limes
  • Vegetable oil
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Oregano, Mexican oregano is even better, but not necessary
  • Fresh thyme leaves
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Regular paprika
  • Cinnamon
Sinaloa Chicken

How to Make Sinaloa Chicken:

  • Place dried guajillo chilis into a glass dish. Pour hot water over top, cover, and let stand for 20 minutes. Doing this will rehydrate the chilis and make them easier to blend.
  • Once the chilis have rehydrated, add them to a blender along with the remaining marinade ingredients. Blend until smooth.
  • Place chicken pieces into a large glass baking dish. Pour marinade over the top, making sure all parts are well coated. Cover the dish tightly with plastic wrap, and place it into the refrigerator for 6-8 hours.
  • Prepare your charcoal grill for a two-zone (or dual-zone) indirect cook of 300 degrees F.
  • While the grill is heating up, remove the dish with the chicken from the fridge and let it stand at room temperature for 10-15 minutes.
  • Remove chicken from marinade and place the pieces onto the grill’s hottest (direct) cooking area. 
  • Brush the remaining marinade onto the chicken. 
  • Get a nice sear on the skins (about 3-5 minutes), turn, and do the same to the other side. 
  • Move chicken to the cooler (indirect) part of the grill and finish cooking.
  • Once the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. for breast meat and 170-175 for thighs and legs, it’s good to go.
  • Remove the chicken from the grill, place onto a serving platter, and serve with your favorite side dishes.
  • Store leftover Sinaloa Chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in a 325 degree oven for 15 minutes, or until warmed through.

More recipes to try!

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Sinaloa Chicken

Sinaloa chicken is a popular Mexican street food chicken marinated in citrus and chilis, then grilled over a live flame.
4.67 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: grilled chicken recipe, Mexican sinaloa chicken, sinaloa chicken, sinaloa chicken recipe
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 5 people
Calories: 295kcal
Author: Sabrina Baksh

Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken cut up (about 3-3 ½ pounds)
  • For Marinade:
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 small white onion peeled and roughly chopped
  • 3-4 dried guajillo chilis
  • 4 cloves garlic peeled
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 teaspoons Mexican oregano Sub with 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (adjust to your liking)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions

  • Place dried guajillo chilis into a glass dish. Pour hot water over top, cover, and let stand for 20 minutes. Doing this will rehydrate the chilis and make them easier to blend.
  • Once the chiles have rehydrated, add them along with the remaining marinade ingredients to a blender. Blend until all contents are well combined.
  • Place chicken pieces into a large glass baking dish. Pour marinade over the top, making sure all parts are well coated. Cover the dish tightly with plastic wrap, and place into the refrigerator for 6-8 hours.
  • Ready the charcoal grill for a two-zone, indirect cook of 300 degrees F. Add a small handful of apple or cherry wood chips to the fire for smoky flavor (optional).
  • While the grill is heating up, remove pan with chicken from the fridge and let it stand at room temperature for 10-15 minutes.
  • Remove chicken from marinade and place the pieces onto the hottest part of the grill.
    Brush any excess marinade onto the chicken.
    Get a nice sear on the skins (about 3-5 minutes), turn , and do the same to the other side.
    Move chicken to the cooler part of the grill and finish cooking over indirect heat.
  • Once the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. for breast meat, and 175 for thighs and legs, it is done.
  • Remove chicken from the grill, place onto a serving platter, and serve with your favorite side dishes.
  • Store leftover chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Freeze in vacuum-sealed bags for up to 8 weeks.

Notes

 
 

Nutrition

Calories: 295kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 114mg | Sodium: 690mg | Potassium: 412mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 381IU | Vitamin C: 30mg | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 2mg

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