Tequila Lime Chicken

Tequila Lime Chicken.

This is the only photo I have of the finished product.

Clearly, I’m no food stylist but I usually try to put together at least a nice plate of food and take a picture for this website.

However, this chicken smelled way too good. There was no time to pretty things up. This went right to the table…do not pass go, do not collect $200.

Tequila Lime Chicken is one of the more famous recipes from Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa.

I’ve made it a few times but this was the first time that I followed the instructions (one should probably learn to always follow Ina’s instructions) and marinated the chicken the night before. Let me tell you, this makes a HUGE difference.

The chicken is tender and juicy and has a wonderful combination of flavors. Not too citrusy, not too boozy, not too spicy. This is just really perfect chicken.

So plan ahead and marinate away.

Here’s what you need:

Chicken, Tequila, Limes, Orange(s), Jalapeno Pepper, Garlic, Chili Powder, Salt & Pepper.

Click here for a Tequila Lime Chicken Shopping List

Lime juice is the main ingredient in the marinade. Unlike chicken dishes that are flavored with lemon, the lime is a much more subtle but lively flavor. You’ll know it’s there but it doesn’t scream LIME the way LEMON sometimes does.

You’ll need 1 cup of freshly squeezed lime juice – about 5-6 limes.

I grew these limes on my little tree! Aren’t they gorgeous? They are the best limes I’ve ever had and my tree is bursting with tons of fruit this year. If you have favorite lime recipes, now is the time to  please send them to me!

Juice 1-2 fresh oranges so that you have 1/2 cup. Pour the lime and orange juices into a medium bowl.

Remove the seeds and inner membranes from a jalapeno pepper. Chop the jalapeno and drop it in with the juice.

Add 1 Tablespoon of chili powder and 1 Tablespoon of minced garlic – about 3 cloves.

Now for the good stuff, pour in 1/2 cup of gold tequila.

Whisk it all together to combine.

Grab the chicken parts of your choice. I’m using one whole cut up fryer so I have 2 legs, 2 thighs, and 2 breast pieces. I save the back and wings a bag in the freezer for making chicken stock. Feel free to use whatever chicken parts you like, however, I recommend using bone-in chicken because it tends to stay more moist while cooking than boneless pieces. As always, make your own decision about the skin or no skin chicken issue.

For easy marinating, put the chicken pieces in a large ziplock bag and pour the marinade right on top.

Seal up the bag and squish the pieces around so that they are all getting a good tequila lime bath. Put the bag in a bowl – you never know when a chicken piece might poke a hole in your bag and flood your fridge – and refrigerate overnight.

One of the benefits of having the chicken in the bag rather than in a dish or bowl is that you can occasionally stop by the refrigerator and turn the bag to be sure every piece is getting nice and juicy.

The next day, when you are ready to cook, take the chicken out of the refrigerator and let it warm up a bit. You never want to put ice cold meat on the grill or in the oven because it won’t cook evenly.

Preheat an outdoor grill to medium high heat and oil the grate. If you don’t have access to a grill, I think this would be equally good baked on a sheet pan in the oven at 350 degrees for about 35-40 minutes.

Before you put the chicken on the grill, remove it from the bag and dispose of the marinade. You never want to reuse marinade that has had raw chicken in it.

Season the chicken with salt & pepper.

Place the chicken on the grill and reduce the heat to medium.

Grill on all sides until golden brown and cooked through. Depending on the heat of your grill, this might be about 25-30 minutes.

If you are baking in the oven and want a little extra color on top of the chicken, run it under the broiler for the last few minutes of cooking.

As with all meat, let the chicken rest for 5 minutes so that the juices reabsorb back into the chicken.

This is quite a simple and easy recipe to put together. Just plan ahead so you can give the chicken the full time marinating overnight. I promise you, it’s worth it!

Here’s the recipe – Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Family Style

Tequila Lime Chicken

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3 Responses

  1. WOW! This looks really good. And of course…I *swooned* over your home grown limes! {ain’t living in Florida great?} LOL
    I will certainly have to give this a try. I am wondering though….if I was cut off from drinking tequila, am I allowed to cook with it??? I suppose no one will be the wiser….unless someone comes home and the chef is nekkid and singing in the kitchen!

  2. I’ve made a garlic lime chicken and it was fabulous (from “Saving Dinner” by Leanne Ely). At the cost of good tequila, I’d probably cry over having to throw out 1/2 cup of the stuff… but I can imagine the fabulous flavor that it would infuse into the chicken.

    In the past, I would make a salad dressing of garlic, white pepper, honey, olive oil, and lime juice… I can’t recall right now the proper proportions… maybe 2 TBSP honey, 3 TBSP olive oil and 2 or 3 TBSP lime juice?? A couple of cloves of pressed garlic and white pepper to taste… maybe that is it? You’d want to play with it some. I called it “Margarita dressing” and it was fabulous on salads. My kids were kind of picky eaters, so we made a lot of plain grilled chicken and dressed it up at the table, so liked liberal use of the dressing. It was pretty good on a potatoes, too! 🙂

    I have a friend who would marinate flank steak in a marinade much like the one you describe. I bet that would be worth trying!
    Fresh limes make almost anything better… even diet Coke!

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