Taste the Caribbean in these citrus habanero chicken skewers… marinated chicken, onions, peppers, and pineapple.. all grilled to smoky charred perfection!
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Let’s spice things up a bit, shall we? I’m talking habanero hot sauce spicy! If you know me, you know I usually don’t do very spicy foods, as I am a spice WIMP… so I came up with a marinade that combines orange juice, soy sauce, honey, garlic, fresh herbs and some delicious El Yucateco Caribbean habanero hot sauce. It has some heat, but it’s a yummy sweet and flavorful heat, not just “set your mouth on fire so you can’t taste”, heat 🙂
This is the type of meal that just practically begs to be grilled. The flavors intensify and that smoky charred flavor works so perfectly here!
I chose to serve my chicken skewer-style and add some sweet yellow onions, red bell peppers, and pieces of pineapple. They add a nice flavor, as well as a beautiful presentation. If you’d like, you could grill your chicken and fruits/veggies separately. It’s actually a little easier that way, since you don’t have to worry about your veggies/fruit being overdone while you wait for the chicken to cook through.
This marinade comes together really quickly, then you just add your chicken and let those flavors marry for anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours before you grill it. Obviously, the longer you marinate, the stronger the flavor will be in the chicken 🙂
I like to cut my chicken into 1 inch pieces before I marinate them, it makes it a lot easier to get them on the skewers… plus you don’t need to marinate them as long as a whole chicken breast! I wouldn’t go much farther than the 2 hours of marinating time though, because the citrus juice can actually start to toughen your chicken or “cook” it. However, if you left the chicken breasts whole, you could marinate for a longer time.
Citrus-y, herb-y, smoky, spicy perfection!! Want to know my secret weapon for these chicken skewers?
El Yucateco Caribbean Hot Sauce! This stuff is magic in a bottle you guys. I can’t lie, it’s got a kick… (I downed a glass of water eating one skewer lol), but it has great flavor to go with it. My husband is CRAZY about this sauce, and thinks I’m nuts for thinking it’s spicy, so it’s all subjective 🙂
I think the honey tames the heat down a bit. But if you’re worried about the heat, you could use less than I did, or even add a little coconut milk to the marinade.
This is one grilling recipe that will “wow” anyone you grill it for! The chicken stays nice and tender/juicy/flavorful by basting it with the marinade as it grills.
To do this, you have two options. After you whisk together your marinade, you can reserve out about 1/3 cup and keep it in a separate container in the refrigerator until you need to baste with it. Or you’ll have great intentions of doing that, but forget and plop all the chicken in the marinade and THEN remember you wanted to save some aside. Sigh. However, you can fix it! When it comes time to skewer your chicken, pour the chicken and marinade through a strainer that’s over a mixing bowl. The chicken will stay in the strainer and your marinade will be in the mixing bowl below. Just pour that in a small saucepan and bring it to a light boil and boil it for about 10 minutes or so (to cook off any bacteria from the raw chicken), and baste away 🙂
If you’re using metal, re-usable skewers, you don’t need any prep for that, just go ahead and slide the ingredients right on the skewer. If you’ll be using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 20-30 minutes so they don’t burn on the grill!
For a kid-friendly version, you could omit the hot sauce all together 🙂
Now I know you’re all wanting to get your hands on that yummy hot sauce… and I found mine at my local Meijer grocery store! They have a great display right on the end of the freezer aisle, and can also be found in the authentic Mexican food section of the store 🙂
If you want to find out more about El Yucateco, you can find products, recipes, info on where to buy, as well as connecting with them on social media, click HERE!
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Serves: 4-6 servings
- 8-9 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced into 1" pieces
- 2 yellow or sweet onions, diced into 1" pieces
- 2 red or green bell peppers, diced into 1" pieces
- Fresh pineapple, diced into 1" pieces (I bought some already diced from my grocery store)
- 3 tsp orange zest
- 1 1/2 cup orange juice, fresh is best, but good quality bottled juice is okay
- 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 10 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp El Yucateco Caribbean Hot Sauce (more or less for your tastes)
- 2 1/2 tsp fresh thyme, minced
- 1 1/2 tsp fresh oregano, minced
- 5 Tbsp honey (more or less to your tastes)
- In a large mixing bowl, add marinade ingredients and whisk to combine well. Remove about 1/3 cup and place into an airtight container and refrigerate. Set aside the remaining marinade.
- Trim chicken breasts of fat and dice into 1" pieces.
- Add to bowl with the marinade and toss to coat. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, or up to 2 hours.
- Dice onion, pepper and pineapple into 1" pieces and set aside.
- Preheat grill over MED heat.
- Make skewers by alternating chicken, onion, bell pepper and pineapple.
- Grill, basting with reserved marinade, for several minutes per side, until chicken is cooked through.
** Recipe makes enough to feed a crowd, but can be halved for an average family size
** these go amazingly well with some tropical pineapple coconut cashew rice
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