Pollo Yucateco Asado (Yucatán-Style Grilled Chicken)

Red with sweet and spicy Chiote (also called Annatto) powder. The succulent chicken thighs are flavorful with oregano, orange juice, and warm spices. Please start with the whole spices, roast them, and grind them for the oil release. This will enhance the flavor. Create two areas in the barbecue by pushing hot coals onto one side to​​​​​ create an oven look. Cover it with the other side when covered. This will ensure the chicken is cooked without causing excessive charring or flare-ups. Achiote powder removes seeds from achiote plants across South and Central America, adding a vibrant red color and a sweet, spicy flavor. Please find it in Latin American grocery stores.


  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • One clove, whole clove
  • One whole allspice
  • Three large oranges
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons achiote powder (see Note)
  • Two tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground white pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • Six medium (about 8 ounces) bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, patted dry
  • The warm tortillas pic, red onions, and salsa to serve


  1. Toast cumin seeds, oregano, cloves, and allspice in a tiny saucepan on medium heat until they become fragrant, around 2 minutes. Then, grind the spices with the molcajete or spice grinder until it is finely crushed. Juice 2 oranges, resulting in 1/3 cup of juice. Cut the remaining orange acrosswise, forming 1/4-inch-thick pieces. Keep orange slices in a separate place.
  2. Mix ground toasted spices and reserved 1/3 cup of orange juice, vinegar oil, achiote powder salt, white pepper, and garlic powder in a large bowl till mixed. Mix the orange slices, chicken, and vinegar-spice mixture into an enormous ziplock bag. Seal the bag, shake it to mix, then gently massage the marinade into the chicken. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight overnight overnight (up to 12 hours).
  3. Remove the ziplock bag from the refrigerator and let it stand at room temperature while the grill is heating up. Heat one side of a gas grill to high (450degF up to 500 deg F) or move hot coals towards the charcoal side of the grill.
  4. Remove the chicken and orange slices from the marinade and let the excess marinade drip off. Set aside the orange slices. Get rid of marinade. Place the chicken thighs skin side down on lightly greased grates on the lit side of the grill. Grill covered until grill marks appear on the skin, about 3 minutes. Turn chicken over, and then grill, covered, until the chicken is lightly charred, approximately 3 minutes. Transfer chicken to the non-lit side of the grill and grill covered, turning frequently until a thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken registers 165degF. This can take between 15 and 20 minutes. Transfer chicken onto a platter and let it rest for 5 minutes.
  5. While the chicken rests, put orange slices on greased grates over the lit side of the grill. Grill, covered until the orange slices have a light charring, approximately 3 minutes on each side. Serve the chicken and orange slices alongside warm tortillas, onions picked, and salsa.

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