Easy, healthy and delicious, this Whole30 Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken is going to be a hit at your next cookout! It’s tangy, a bit spicy and thanks to a little hack, requires only one hour of marinating time!
The cilantro lime marinade packs a flavourful punch and can be used on beef, pork and certain types of seafood, like shrimp or red snapper. It consists of fresh cilantro, apple cider vinegar, some extra-virgin olive oil, fresh garlic, a couple of dry seasonings and fresh lime juice. Everything quickly comes together in a food processor or, if you’re like me and want to minimize cleanup, in a mason jar using an immersion blender.
Here, I use the cilantro lime marinade to add a tremendous amount of flavour to whole chicken legs. The result is nothing short of delicious! And thanks to a simple and effective cooking hack, I significantly cut down on the marinating and cooking time!
It’s as easy as scoring the chicken legs with a sharp knife. This simple trick will not only allow the cilantro lime marinade to penetrate the meat down to the bone in a shorter period of time, but it will also speed up the cooking time by increasing the surface area of the chicken and exposing the centre of the meat. The same trick will work on separated drumsticks and thighs, if that’s what you have on hand.
What would normally require 4 hours of marinating and 45 minutes of cooking, can take as little as 1 hour of marinating and 30 minutes of cooking. That’s time better spent enjoying the outdoors with family and friends. Especially considering the short summers that we have in Toronto.
This chicken is best cooked on the grill. Personally, I cook on a Traeger Grill, which uses 100% all-natural wood pellets. If you have charcoal or gas, that will work as well. The major difference, aside from flavour, is that Traegers work using indirect, convection heat, which makes it much easier to control temperature and prevent flare ups caused through direct-heat cooking.
If you don’t have a grill, you can just as easily roast the cilantro lime chicken in your oven. Cook it uncovered in an oven preheated to 400F for around 45minutes or until the thickest part registers 165F on an instant-read digital thermometer. To finish, you can quickly broil the chicken for a minute or two so that the skin crisps up a bit.
Serve the cilantro lime chicken with your favourite summer time sides. Grilled vegetables are a perfect paring. So are mashed sweet potatoes, tostones, or this zesty coleslaw.
Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken - Whole30, Paleo
- 3.5-4 lbs chicken legs around 5 legs
- 1 cup fresh cilantro
- 5 cloves garlic
- Juice 1 lime plus 1 lime cut into wedges for serving
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
- In a food processor, combine cilantro, garlic, lime juice, olive oil, vinegar, paprika, onion powder, salt, cayenne pepper, and black pepper. Pulse until incorporated yet chunky. For easier cleanup, add the ingredients to a wide-mouth mason jar and blend until incorporated yet chunky with an immersion blender.
- Score the chicken with a sharp knife and add it to a zip-top bag. Pour in all of the marinade, massage everything to coat, squeeze out as much air from the bag as possible, seal and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 4 hours.
- Preheat a charcoal or gas grill to medium-low (approximately 375F). Cook the chicken over direct heat until golden-brown and crispy, flipping two or three times throughout, or until the thickest part registers 165F on an instant-read digital thermometer, about 25 to 30 minutes. If cooking on a Traeger Grill, preheat the grill to 165F and place the chicken in the centre of the grill. Cook the chicken for 30 minutes to infuse the meat with smoke flavour, then raise the heat to 425F and continue cooking until the chicken is golden brown and crispy, flipping once halfway through, or until the thickest part registers 165F on an instant-read digital thermometer, about 25 minutes.
- Transfer chicken to a serving platter, garnish with a few fresh cilantro leaves and serve with lime wedges.