Chile Spice Rub Grilled Chicken

Chile Dry Rub Grilled Chicken w/ Spicy Pickled Onions

In the midst of smoking a 10 pound pork butt last weekend, my husband and I were hungry! It was then that I remembered that I had some chicken that had been marinating in a spice rub or seasoning mix for my homemade chorizo recipe. The purpose of developing this recipe using all dried spices was to make it easier for people to prepare a quick version of homemade mexican chorizo at home. I did not want people to avoid preparing the chorizo recipe because they were not sure about using dried chiles for the first time, or maybe they were not available. I have to say, that I was extemely happy with the results of the chorizo. So, it never fails that whenever I mix a new season mix for one recipe, I always end up having some leftover. I literally seasoned the chicken 2 days before and forgot all about it. I pulled the chicken from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature. The grill was already preheating for the 10 pound pork butt that was about to go on for 12 hours. A quick 8 to 10 minutes per side on the chicken and we were ready to eat. Instead of serving it with salsa, I threw together a spicy quick pickled red onion with a few hot peppers I had grilled. Both my husband and I agreed, that those chicken tacos with spicy pickled onions were the best tacos we have had in a long time! Must serve with corn tortillas. Just goes to show that sometimes the spontaneous creations can end up being as good, if not better, than the well planned meal.

Chile Dry Rub Grilled Chicken with Spicy Pickled Red Onions
Chile Dry Rub Grilled Chicken with Spicy Pickled Red Onions

I really wanted to think of a fun and clever name for my spice rub, but nothing came to mind….still working on it!
For Chile Dry Rub
3 tablespoons chile ancho powder
3 tablespoons guajillo powder or another red, mild chile powder, such as Gebhardt brand
2 tablespoons vinegar powder or 2 teaspoons citric acid
2 tablespoons granulated garlic
2 tablespoons onion powder
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon annatto powder
1/2 tablespoon coriander
1/2 tablespoon cumin
1/2 tablespoons Mexican oregano, crushed
1/2 tablespoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground clove
1 teaspoon chipotle or cayenne pepper powder
2 teaspoons salt or to taste
*Tips~ if you can’t find a mild red chile powder, you could purchase a mild (low salt) pre-mixed chili seasoning from the store. If it has salt, taste before adding more

Chile Spice Rub Grilled Chicken
Chile Spice Rub Grilled Chicken with Spicy Pickled Onions
Homemade Chile Dry Rub Seasoning
Homemade Chile Dry Rub Seasoning

Tips~ If you are fortunate enough to live in an area where dried chile peppers are available, you must try preparing your own chile powders. Remove stems and seeds from peppers. Toast the peppers on a preheated griddle or comal for a few minutes or just until they become aromatic. Never leave them unattended or they can burn and become bitter in flavor.  Along side of the peppers, I like to toast my own whole spices and grind them as well. Grind them in a spice grinder, commercial blender or coffee grider. Needless to say, I only use my coffee grinder for spices…It’s a must try! You will not regret it! The best peppers to use are chile ancho, guajillo, pasilla or New Mexico.


*1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken thighs (4 to 5 pieces)
*Oil for grill pan or outdoor grill

For Onions
1 medium red onion, sliced thin
2 hot peppers of your choice, roasted or grilled
Juice of 5 key limes or 2 regular limes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Salt to taste

1. Season the chicken generously with dry rub on both sides. Cover and marinate for 24 hours or up to 2 days in refrigerator.

2. Remove chicken from refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking time so it comes to room temperature.

3. About an hour before cooking chicken, combine all of the ingredients for the pickled onions. Stir well to combine, taste for salt. Cover and set aside.

4. Preheat a stove top grill pan or outdoor grill to medium heat for 5 to 6 minutes. Drizzle or brush with oil. Cook the chicken for 8 to10 minutes per side (with lid closed) or until internal temperature read 165 degrees F. Remove from heat and let stand for a few minutes before serving. Slice and garnish with pickled red onions. Serve with warm corn tortillas and your favorite salsa. Yields 4 servings.

Chile Dry Rub Grilled Chicken
Chile Dry Rub Grilled Chicken
Chile Dry Rub Grilled Chicken
Chile Dry Rub Grilled Chicken

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