This Grilled Mojo Chicken is charred on the outside, juicy in the middle and bursting with citrusy, garlicky flavor. It’s easy, made with readily available ingredients, and only needs a few hours to marinate before hitting the grill. It also happens to be Whole30, Paleo and Gluten-Free. If you don’t have a grill, try roasting the chicken in the oven.
What You Need For Grilled Mojo Chicken
- Florida Orange Juice: Rather than use bottled naranja agria (bitter orange juice), which is hard to find where I live and usually made from concentrate, preservatives and additives, I prefer to combine Florida Orange Juice with some lime juice to mimic the sour and bitter flavor of naranja agria.
We have a big jug of Florida Orange Juice in our fridge at all times. When we’re not drinking it, adding it to smoothies or making popsicles with it in the summer, I like to use it as a way to build flavor in different recipes like this Grilled Mojo Chicken.
- Chicken: You can use a whole chicken broken down into thighs, legs, breasts and wings. Or, you can substitute any part of the chicken you like, be it all thighs, all quarters, all breasts or even all wings.
For maximum flavor and juiciness, I like using bone-in, skin-on chicken. If using boneless chicken, keep in mind the meat will cook much quicker than the time indicated in this recipe.
- Fresh Florida Grapefruit Juice (Optional): When in season (typically December through April), grab a Red Florida Grapefruit when shopping for the ingredients for this Grilled Mojo Chicken. The juice of half of one grapefruit will go a long way and add some complexity to the mojo marinade and dipping sauce.
When it’s not in season, you can add 1/3 cup of Florida Grapefruit Juice. Look in the refrigerated section of your grocery store for 100% not-from-concentrate red ruby grapefruit juice from Florida.
- Garlic: Freshly chopped garlic is a powerhouse of flavor and really shines through here. Because it’s used in the marinade, baste and dipping sauce, you get different flavor profiles from it along the way.
- Spices: A combination of ground cumin, ground coriander and dry oregano flavor the chicken without overpowering one another.
- Fresh Cilantro and Mint: Adding finely chopped cilantro and mint to some of the reserved marinade makes for a bright, colorful and delicious dipping sauce for the chicken.
What is Mojo?
Mojo (pronounced mo-ho) is a delicious and versatile marinade found throughout South America and the Caribbean. It’s typically made with a combination of bitter orange juice (naranja agria), oil, garlic and oregano. The possibilities, however, are endless. Sometimes fresh herbs like cilantro and mint are added, other times bay leaf.
Mojo can be used to marinade chicken, pork, beef or fish. It can also be used as a sauce for basting or dipping. In this recipe for Grilled Mojo Chicken, I use the mojo as a marinade, baste and dipping sauce. The flavor is unreal every step of the way!
Can’t Find Naranja Agria?
Naranja agria (bitter orange) is not commonly found in grocery stores near me. It’s available in some specialty Latino markets throughout the GTA (Greater Toronto Area), but since moving north of the city, I haven’t had much of a chance to shop there.
One solution is to create your own naranja agria substitute by combining two parts 100% orange juice with one part fresh lime juice. For added bitterness, you can also mix in some red Florida Grapefruit Juice.
Florida Orange Juice, the Original Wellness Drink
Whether you’re at the kids’ soccer practice, on a road trip or doing some work in the backyard, Florida Orange Juice is an excellent way to help stay hydrated. You can enjoy it on its own, add it to a smoothie, or mix it with equal parts filtered water for something a little less sweet.
100% orange juice is made up of almost 90% water and naturally contains electrolytes, including potassium and magnesium. 100% OJ also a source of vitamin C, folate and thiamin, as well as a dietary source of hesperidin, a polyphenol.
Enjoying Florida Orange Juice in combination with plenty of water is an excellent and natural way to satisfy sweet cravings and stay hydrated, especially during the hotter months.
For a tasty treat, try adding Florida Orange Juice to a silicon ice pop old and freezing it until solid for an all-natural popsicle that the kids will love.
This recipe was created in partnership with Florida Department of Citrus. All opinions expressed here are the author’s alone.
Grilled Mojo Chicken – Whole30, Paleo
- 1 cup Florida Orange Juice
- Juice ½ Red Florida Grapefruit around 1/3 cup, optional
- Juice 3 limes around 1/3 cup
- 6 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 3 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon dry oregano
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
- 3.5- pound whole chicken legs, wings, breasts and thighs separated
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
- In a bowl, combine the Florida Orange Juice, red Florida Grapefruit Juice, if using, lime juice, garlic, salt, cumin, coriander, oregano, olive oil and black pepper. Whisk until incorporated.
- Place the chicken in a zip-top bag and pour in two thirds of the marinade. Massage the chicken to coat, seal the bag, place it on a tray to catch any leaks and refrigerate 4 to 6 hours.
- Add the cilantro and mint to the reserved marinade and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Preheat grill to 450F. Add the chicken to the grill and cook, flipping occasionally, over medium heat until grill marks form, around 20 minutes. Flip and baste each piece of chicken with some of the reserved marinade. Cook until slightly blackened all over and the thickest part of each piece reaches 160F, around 25 more minutes.
- Transfer the chicken to a serving platter, spoon some more of the reserved marinade overtop and serve immediately.