Using a quick and easy marinade, Cuban Mojo Chicken is tender and juicy, every bite having a complex flavor of herbs, citrus, and spices. The citrus caramelizing on the grill makes the skin crispy while keeping the meat mouthwateringly delicious. This Mojo Sauce is perfect with chicken, pork, and seafood, it has a complex depth of flavor that works great with the smoke from the fire.
In Cuba, Cuban Mojo Sauce uses sour, bitter oranges as a main ingredient in the marinade. Bitter orange or Seville oranges are typically used, I don’t have either of these in the shops where I live so I use the zest of the orange to help complement the juice and give it a little more of the authentic flavor of bitter orange.
Mojo Sauces originated in the Canary Islands, and you can find the influence in recipes ranging from Portugal to the Caribbean, to the Southern USA. The cumin, fresh oregano, garlic, and citrus all complement one another and make a really great grilled chicken.
Here’s how I make my version of Cuban Mojo Chicken.
- 1 Oranges, zest, and juice
- 3 Limes, zest, and juice
- ¼ Cup Fresh Oregano, loosely packed
- 1 Cup Fresh Cilantro, loosely packed (Parsley is ok if you’re sensitive to Cilantro)
- 6 Clove Garlic, crushed and chopped
- ¼ Cup Olive Oil
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 1 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
- 1 Tablespoon Dried Cumin
- 1 3-4 Pound Chicken
-Combine all the marinade ingredients in a blender and process until smooth
-Place chicken breast-side down, with the legs towards you
-Using kitchen scissors or shears cut along either side of the backbone to remove it, save the backbone for stock
-Break the wishbone with your knife
-Turn the bird breast side up and just press down with the palm of your hand to make it lay flat.
-Make a shallow incision at the joint between the drumstick and thighs
-Make a shallow incision at the joint between the wings and breast
-Place the chicken in a large bowl and pour on the marinade, ensure your cover the chicken completely. Marinate at least one hour and up to 24 hours.
-Pile the charcoal on one side of the grill, you don’t want the chicken to be directly over the flames.
-Place the chicken skin side up on the grill with the legs closest to the flames, but again, not over the flames
-Cover the grill and roast the chicken for 30-45 minutes, until and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh meat, reads 165F
-Wrap in foil, let rest for 10 minutes