Roadside Chicken Tacos

If you’ve ever been to Mexico (not, staying at a fancy hotel in Cabo, Mexico, but proper Mexico) you know how insanely good the smell of roadside chicken is. For those of you who don’t know the smell, it is the best thing in the world. Spatchcocked chickens, marinated in a spicy, citrusy, delicious marinate for at least a few hours, grilled over an open fire, almost always on the side of the road in a busy town. It doesn’t get much better than picking up some homemade tortillas and a freshly grilled chicken, and sitting on the beach.

I go back and forth between making this recipe as a whole spatchcock chicken and boneless skinless chicken thighs. In Mexico, it has to be a whole chicken, but I feel like when you’re cooking at home it’s much easier to just use chicken thighs.

Serves 4

  • 10 chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
  • 3 oranges, juiced
  • Peel of 2 oranges
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsp cinnamon
  • 4 tbsp cloves
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp smoked chili, ground
  • 1 tsp ground coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp salt


  1. Add all ingredients into a medium bowl, ensuring the chicken is evenly coated.
  2. Cover with plastic and let sit in the fridge for 3-5 hours.
  3. Heat your grill/grill pan on high, until just smoking.
  4. Lay your chicken out evenly over the hot grates, making sure to brush any cloves off the meat before grilling.
  5. Flip after about 4 minutes or until lightly charred. *If you’re cooking this at home and don’t have a hood fan, you can just cook the chicken until charred then place in a 150ºC (300ºF) oven to finish cooking.
  6. Once cooked through, remove chicken from grill/oven and let rest for at least 10 minutes.
  7. Roughly chop chicken and serve with tortillas and the toppings of your choice. *I have a sick love for sour cream (crema, as it would be called in Mexico), so a bit of sour cream, pico de gallo and fresh lime would be my toppings of choice.

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