Tequila Chicken

Summer just begs for grilling. I ain’t revving up my oven or stovetop in a heat wave, thank you very much. Nope. Not me. Not I, Popeye. Oh, PS: Sorry I called you Popeye.

When I’m grilling, I want something GOOD. Like you can’t just slap some chicken on the grill with a sad sprinkle of salt. Not in my presence. Dassit. DassAll. DassAllSheWrote. Well, maybe not all she wrote because she is still talking. Let’s step it up a notch or 12.

This tequila chicken is smoky. It’s sweet. It’s the big kahuna.

Before you write me a zillion emails, I prefer bone-in thighs for this recipe, but you can grill any other cut of chicken adjusting time according to correct grill times, and still just slap the sauce on at the last minute or so of cooking.

Tequila Chicken

You had me at Tequila.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Tex-Mex
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Resting Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 318kcal


  • 4 chicken thighs (bone-in & skin-on)

For the rub:

  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
  • 1 tsp lime zest

For the sauce:

  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 lime (juiced)
  • 1/2 cup tequila
  • 1/4 hot honey
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 3 tsp cornstarch
  • 3 tsp water

For garnish:

  • 1 Tbsp fresh cilantro (minced)


  • Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Mix ingredients for spice rub and sprinkle over chicken. Rub into chicken evenly.
  • Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
  • While the grill is preheating, make the sauce. Combine juice, tequila, hot honey, brown sugar and paprika in a large saucepan. Whisk together until well mixed. Cook over medium-high heat until starting to thicken, about 10 minutes, whisking frequently.
  • In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and water until well blended. This is called a slurry. Whisk slurry into boiling sauce. Cook until thick, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
  • Coat grill with cooking spray. Grill chicken for about 6 minutes per side. Using a grill brush, coat sauce on both sides of chicken and cook for 1 minute, or until starting to char. Remove from heat and place on a plate. Cover with foil. Rest for 10 minutes. Serve with a sprinkling of minced cilantro, if desired.


Don’t be tempted to sauce these early. Introducing the sauce too soon means the sugar content in the sauce will char and burn and dry out the chicken.
Click here for the grill brush we use. We’ve had ours for years and it still looks new.


Calories: 318kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 111mg | Sodium: 688mg | Potassium: 348mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 401IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @TheMessyMrs or tag #BlessThatMess!
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