Yucatán Chicken with Orange-Guajillo Glaze


At Distrito in Scottsdale, Arizona, Jose Garces focuses on barbacoa dishes: meats cooked over an open fire or in a pit, many of them coated with intense spice mixes and served with sauces and glazes, like this sweet and sticky grilled chicken. Slideshow:  More Delicious Grilled Chicken Recipes 

Yucatán Chicken with Orange-Guajillo Glaze
Photo: © John Kernick
Active Time:
1 hrs
Total Time:
3 hrs
2 to 4



  • One 4-pound chicken, backbone removed

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Adobo Rub

adobo rub

  • 2 tablespoons allspice berries

  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns

  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds

  • One 1 1/2-inch cinnamon stick, broken

  • 7 whole cloves

  • 2 tablespoons sweet paprika

  • 1 tablespoon chipotle powder

  • 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder

  • 1/4 cup kosher salt

  • 1/4 cup sugar


  • 2 dried guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded

  • 1/3 cup boiling water

  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange

  • 1 cup fresh orange juice

  • 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar

  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup

  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons honey

  • 1/2 mango, peeled and chopped, plus mango slices, for serving

  • 1/4 cup peeled and chopped fresh ginger

  • 1 habanero chile, coarsely chopped

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

  • Salt

  • Vegetable oil, for grilling


make the rub

  1. In a small skillet, toast the allspice, peppercorns, cumin seeds, cinnamon and cloves over moderately high heat until fragrant. Transfer to a spice grinder and let cool completely. Grind to a powder and transfer to a small bowl. Stir in the paprika, chipotle and ancho powders, salt and sugar.

prepare the chicken

  1. On a large rimmed baking sheet, flatten the chicken by pressing on the breastbone. Sprinkle the chicken all over with the Adobo Rub. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours. Bring the chicken to room temperature before grilling.

meanwhile, prepare the sauce

  1. In a glass measuring cup, cover the guajillo chiles with the boiling water. Cover and let stand until softened, about 15 minutes.

  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the orange zest and juice with the vinegar, corn syrup, brown sugar, honey, chopped mango, ginger, habanero and coriander. Add the guajillos and their soaking liquid and bring to a boil. Boil over moderately high heat until reduced by half, about 7 minutes. Transfer the sauce to a blender and puree. Scrape the puree back into the saucepan and simmer over moderate heat until reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 15 minutes. Season with salt.

  3. Light a grill. Oil the grill grate and put the chicken on it, skin side down. Grill over moderately high heat until charred, about 7 minutes. Turn the chicken and cook until charred on the other side, about 5 minutes. Turn the heat off in half of the grill or rake the coals to one side, away from the chicken. Cover and grill the chicken over indirect heat, turning halfway through, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the inner thigh registers 160°, about 1 hour.

  4. Brush half of the sauce all over the chicken. Flip the chicken and set it over direct heat. Grill until richly glazed, about 1 minute. Turn the chicken skin side up and grill until glazed, about 1 minute longer. Let the chicken rest for 15 minutes. Serve with the remaining sauce and the mango slices.

Make Ahead

The sauce can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.


Any leftover adobo rub can be stored at room temperature for up to a month.

Suggested Pairing

Torrontes, a full-bodied white wine from Argentina, often has a lively orange-blossom aroma, making it an alluring pairing with the glaze on this chicken.

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