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Cilantro-Tequila Grilled Chicken

Cilantro-Tequila Grilled Chicken

This marinade is also good with flank steak and grilled fish.

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 1/2 hours plus marinating time
  • Yield: 4 servings and 1 cup marinade


  • 2 (1-ounce) packages cilantro, chopped (leaves and stems)
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 shallot, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 serrano pepper, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon toasted cumin seeds
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup tequila
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 4 chicken leg quarters (or 8 pieces chicken thighs and legs, bone-in and skin-on)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Fresh cilantro sprigs, for garnish
  • Lime wedges, for garnish


  • Combine the first 10 ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed. Set aside 6 tablespoons of the marinade for basting the chicken while you grill it.

  • Place the chicken pieces in a baking dish or zip-top plastic bag and pour the remaining marinade over the chicken. Marinate for at least 3 hours, or up 4, turning occasionally to coat.

  • Preheat the grill to medium.

  • Remove meat from marinade, and pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Season the chicken with additional salt and pepper on both sides. Place the chicken on the grill and cook for 8 to 10 minutes on the first side. Turn and cook an additional 8 to 10 minutes. Turn chicken, as needed to keep from burning and to get grill marks until chicken is cooked through, about 25 to 30 minutes total for thighs and legs and 35 to 40 minutes for chicken leg quarters. Using a brush, baste the chicken with the reserved marinade as you go.(An instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken should register 165 degrees F, when fully cooked through.)

  • Remove chicken from the grill and let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish chicken with fresh cilantro sprigs and lime wedges before serving.