Recently I spent a weekend roasting a chicken and pickling some radishes to make some of the tastiest Mojo tacos around. Have you seen the spatchcock chickens that everyone is grilling these days? I think they look amazing! Mojo chicken can be described as chicken that’s been marinated in orange and lime juice along with garlic and herbs. Making it spatchcock allowed the chicken to lay flat on the grill and cook evenly. The chicken turned out tender, juicy and full of flavor. A whole chicken for 2 people makes a lot of meals; there was enough chicken for tacos along with some wraps, a pot of soup and sandwiches. The tacos can have any number of toppings, I chose some picked radish mix along with cilantro, avocado and crumbled fresco cheese I splurged and picked up some street tortillas in corn and flour that are smaller but fun to eat. We enjoyed these little street tacos with salsa and chips and called it a meal. They tasted like we got them off a taco truck!
Making a Mojo Spatchcock Chicken needs about 24 hours to marinate. The ingredients for the marinade include lime zest and juice, orange zest and juice, garlic, cilantro, Aleppo pepper or red pepper flakes, salt and olive oil.
Zest the orange and limes and add to the chopped cilantro, and grated garlic. Drizzle approximately 1/4 cup of olive oil
Add the freshly squeezed orange and lime juice.
Add the Aleppo pepper flakes and salt.
Sir all the marinade ingredients together.
Chickens these days are much larger than they used to be. The recipes I found were for 3 – 4 pound chickens, now tell me where you can find a chicken that size? The only ones I could find were over 5 pounds so I had to alter the cook time quite a bit. The best instructions for how to cut the chicken spatchcock style so that it lays flat can be found at BBQ Like It’s Hot.
I had to improvise how to marinate the chicken by lining a baking pan with aluminum foil. The chicken just fit inside and I poured the marinade over top. Then I covered it with another sheet of aluminum foil and crimped the edges to seal. Refrigerate the chicken overnight or 24 hours.
Make sure to pack the cilantro in and around the legs and wings.
The next day drain the marinade from the chicken and remove most of the cilantro. Let the chicken sit out to rest while you set up the grill with charcoal.
I placed the hot charcoal on one side of the grill and the chicken over the other side so that it was not over direct heat. I inserted my thermometer into the center of the breast and closed the grill. My goal is to keep the temperature close to 275 degrees, however it seemed to be a bit lower between 250 and 260 degrees over most of the grill time. As soon as I poured in hot coals, I started another chimney full of charcoal. It took about 40 minutes to get the coals ready to add. I had estimated this bird taking 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours to reach the internal temp of 165 degrees but it took almost an hour longer.
After about an hour on the grill the chicken is starting to brown but it’s going to take more time for the internal temperature to get to that safe 165 degrees I’m waiting for. I added another chimney full of hot coals and will drop the lid and let it continue on.
After 2 1/2 hours it’s finally reached 165 degrees internally. Wrap the chicken in aluminum foil and let rest for 15 minutes before carving it. We had a meal with the leg and thighs and picked off the rest to make our tacos, wraps, soup and sandwiches.
Finally getting to the tacos part! I took a chicken breast and sliced it up thin.
Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Fry the corn tortillas with a drizzle of olive oil. Flip it over after 30 seconds or so and cook an additional 30 seconds. Blot any excess oil from the tortilla with paper towels. Continue frying as many tortillas as needed.
Tear off a sheet of aluminum foil. Fill your tortillas with the chicken and wrap up in the foil.
The flour tortillas can go directly over a gas burner. Flip often as the tortilla warms up.
I love the taste of flour tortillas when warmed over a gas burner. They have that toasty texture that is so good and perfect for tacos.
Now fill your tortillas with chicken and wrap with aluminum foil.
Once wrapped, place the tacos in the oven or toaster oven for 10 minutes to warm up the chicken and tortillas.
Once they are warm, unwrap and fill them with your favorite toppings. Mojo tacos are typically filled with pickled radish or red onions, cilantro and crumbled fresco cheese. You can also add avocado, pineapple, mango, cabbage, tomato, green onion, or salsa of choice.
Mojo Chicken Tacos
1 Chicken Breast, sliced thin Mojo Spatchcock Chicken or Rotisserie Chicken
Corn or Flour Tortillas
Spicy Pickled Radish Mix, recipe follows
Crumbled Fresco Cheese
Fry corn tortillas in a small skillet over medium heat with a drizzle of olive oil. Flip tortilla after 30 seconds and cook another 30 seconds. Place flour tortillas over the burner of a gas stove. Move the tortilla around with tongs and flip often as they become warm and crisp.
Fill tortillas with chicken and wrap in a sheet of aluminum foil. Heat tacos for 10 minutes in the oven or toaster oven at 350 degrees.
Top tacos with your favorite toppings. Enjoy!
Mojo Spatchcock Grilled Chicken
5 1/2 lb Whole Chicken
1 large Orange or 3 small Mandarin Oranges, zest and juice
3 Limes, zest and juice
1/2 bunch Cilantro, roughly chopped
4 cloves Garlic, grated on a microplane grater
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Aleppo Pepper or Red Pepper Flakes
In order to make the chicken lay flat spatchcock style you’ll need to cut along one side of the backbone and through the rib cage with kitchen scissors or a sharp knife. Repeat on the other side and remove the entire backbone. Open up the chicken and flatten it out. Slice down the length of the breast bone using a sharp knife and push down to separate completely. Go to BBQ Like It’s Hot for a tutorial.
Heat a charcoal chimney full of charcoal until the bricks turn white, takes approximately 30 – 40 minutes. Pour the charcoal into your grill on one side and lay the spatchcocked chicken on the other side avoiding direct heat. Place the legs closest to the heat. Insert thermostat probe if using one and close the lid. You want to keep the temperature inside the grill to around 275 degrees. Prepare more charcoal as needed to replace when the temperature goes below 225 degrees. Let the chicken cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees. It can take anywhere between 1 1/2 hours to 2 1/2 hours.
When chicken reaches the safe internal temperature of 165 degrees, place chicken in a baking dish and cover with aluminum foil to rest for 15 minutes.
Use chicken for tacos, wraps, soup or sandwiches.
Spicy Pickled Radish Mix
1 bunch Radishes, sliced thin
1 medium Red Onion, sliced thin
1 Jalapeno, sliced thin
1/2 cup Cilantro, roughly chopped
1 clove Garlic
3/4 cup Lime Juice, squeezed fresh
1 tablespoon Sugar
1 teaspoon Salt
Boil a pot of water, about 3 – 4 cups. Place radish and red onion slices in a medium non reactive bowl. Pour boiling water over them, count to 10, then immediately strain them. Shake off all the water, place sliced radishes and onions back into the bowl and pour the lime juice over top. Add the jalapeno slices, sugar, salt and cilantro to the mix and stir to combine. Pack the veggies into a pint size jar and slide the garlic clove down inside the jar. Pour the lime juice over the mix and seal jar with a lid. Let cool then refrigerate at least 1 hour. The color of the liquid will change to a vibrant red over time. The mix will last for a couple weeks or more in the refrigerator.