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Grilled mojo chicken should be on your July Fourth menu

By America’s Test Kitchen, Tribune Content Agency on

1. Heat oil and garlic in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring often, until tiny bubbles appear and the garlic is fragrant and straw-colored, 3 to 5 minutes. Let cool for at least 5 minutes.

2. Whisk pineapple juice, mustard, orange zest and juice, lime zest and juice, cumin, oregano and 3/4 teaspoon pepper together in medium bowl. Slowly whisk in cooled garlic oil until emulsified.

3. Transfer half of the mojo mixture to a small bowl and stir in cilantro, jalapeño, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; set aside mojo sauce.

4. Whisk 1 tablespoon salt into the remaining mojo mixture until dissolved. Transfer mojo marinade to a 1-gallon zipper-lock bag.

5. Place chicken, skin side up, on a cutting board and pat dry with paper towels. Leaving drumsticks and thighs attached, make four parallel diagonal slashes in each piece of chicken: one across the drumstick, one across the leg-thigh joint and two across the thigh (slashes should reach bone). Flip chicken and make one more diagonal slash across back of each drumstick. Transfer chicken to the bag with mojo marinade. Seal bag, turn to coat chicken, and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to 24 hours.

6A. For a charcoal grill: Open the bottom vent completely. Light a large chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes (6 quarts). When the top coals are partially covered with ash, pour two-thirds of the coals evenly over half of grill, then pour remaining coals over the other half of grill. Set the cooking grate in place, cover the grill, and open the lid vent completely. Heat the grill until hot, about 5 minutes.


6B. For a gas grill: Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat the grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Turn the primary burner to medium and turn other burner(s) to low. (Adjust the primary burner as needed to maintain a grill temperature between 400 and 425 F.)

7. Clean and oil the cooking grate. Divide reserved mojo sauce equally between two bowls. Remove chicken from zipper-lock bag and place on the cooler side of the grill, skin side up; discard marinade. Cover and cook until the underside of the chicken is lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Using the first bowl of mojo, baste chicken, then flip chicken and baste the second side (use all of first bowl). Cover and continue to cook until leg-thigh joint registers 165 F, about 15 minutes longer.

8. Slide chicken to the hotter side of the grill, keeping the skin side down, and cook (covered if using gas) until skin is well browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Flip chicken and continue to cook until the leg-thigh joint registers 175 F, about 3 minutes longer. Transfer chicken to a platter and spoon remaining mojo sauce from the second bowl over top. Tent with aluminum foil and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve.

Recipe note: Canned and bottled pineapple juices are both great in this recipe, but when it comes to the citrus, we highly recommend using freshly squeezed juice.

(For 25 years, confident cooks in the know have relied on America’s Test Kitchen for rigorously tested recipes developed by professional test cooks and vetted by 60,000 at-home recipe testers. See more online at




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