Little did I know when I first moved to Florida onto Flamingo Drive, in my little rental house that had grapefruit and sour orange trees in the backyard that I would one day be making the very marinade that uses those sour oranges, Mojo Marinade. When I first moved from Atlanta, having citrus trees in my backyard was a novelty, and someone told me that people used the sour oranges for making marinade, but I hadn’t yet been exposed to Mojo marinade and those dots didn’t connect until a few years later when I moved to Miami and got exposed to all facets of Cuban food, including Mojo Marinade.
What’s in Mojo Marinade?
Mojo is a marinade with a citrus base of sour orange, garlic, oregano and cumin. It goes amazing well on just about any protein, but I like it best on chicken and pork. Believe it or not, I do sometimes cook inside and this Mojo Pork Recipe made in the crockpot is a good one for feeding a crowd easily and economically.
What does Mojo Taste Like?
Mojo is a vibrant citrus marinade that has notes of garlic, oregano and cumin. It is a mild marinade that doesn’t overpower your protein, and the citrus works well as a tenderizer. It is not spicy, like Cuban dishes, you will not typically find spicy dishes in their cuisine. I find Cuban food to be mostly flavored by garlic more than anything in my experience.
What’s the Best Way to Grill Chicken?
If you don’t have a thermometer, run, don’t walk, to get one. Because guessing should never be an option when cooking protein. That’s why, when you go to a friends house and they burn the taste out of their grilled chicken because they want to make sure the chicken is beyond a doubt cooked. Who wants to eat burned grilled chicken? Who wants to eat burned anything?
When people ask me what my number one tool is for the grill I always say get a meat thermometer, and I usually recommend the Thermapen, a 3 minute instant read thermometer, which is different than a smart thermometer which guides you through cooking as you leave the thermometer in during the cooking process. Usually, I shy away from overly techie stuff above beyond the usual meat thermometer because I don’t like to overcomplicate things.
However, I agreed to try out the Yummly Smart Thermometer because I am a big fan of the Yummly website and thought what the heck, why not. Plus, as “Grill Girl”, I do need to be up to date on the latest/greatest technology.
YUMMLY Smart Thermometer Review
The whole idea behind a smart thermometer is that it essentially does the work for you. Short of taking the chicken off the grill for me, it told me how to cook it and monitored the internal temp the whole time, showing me the progress on the app, and then reminded me not to over cook the chicken once it was getting close. It then told me when it was done and kept reminding me until I took it off the grates! Like a personal assistant!
While I am by no means new to cooking chicken and I have all the internal temperatures memorized for almost all proteins to know exactly when it is done, let’s face it, I am sometimes the world’s most distracted cook. Between trying to share my cooks on instagram and trying to get the perfect photo, I am super distracted. Plus, I have a 5 year old. He likes to have a melt down right around the time I’m doing something important. And distraction = overcooking!
The Yummly Smart Thermometer works via bluetooth and connects to the app on your phone. You simply download the app, tell it what you are cooking, and it pretty much guides you through the cooking process.
In this case, I told it I was cooking Chicken thighs. After you put the batteries in the thermometer and download the app, it is pretty much ready to go. You then select what you are cooking and it walks you through the entire process.
What I really like about this is that it reminds you when the food is done. For the ADD cook like myself, this is a great feature.
So, if you are looking to get a thermometer that also walks you through the process and monitors the meat in real time so you don’t have to, leaving you to multitask, then I can say this is the thermometer for you! This is a multi-taskers dream! At about $100 for the thermometer it’s an investment in your kitchen. I can see this as being a great gift for the cook or foodie in your life who has everything, except this!
So, back to the Mojo Chicken. You want to cook your chicken thighs to an internal temp of 165, keeping in mind that the chicken (and any protein) is going to continue to cook once you take it off the grill.
This MOJO MARINADE recipe is good for any protein, not just chicken thighs. But, if you know me, you know that chicken thighs are my recommended cut of chicken for many reasons. Chicken thighs cook more evenly than breasts, are dark meat so they don’t dry out, and plus they are economical and cook faster on the grill. That’s why chicken thighs are my go-to weeknight protein and anytime protein, I like to grill up a big batch on Monday nights and then use the leftovers to make tacos on Taco Tuesday and to thrown on salads the rest of the week. If you give this a try, don’t forget to tag me on instagram so I can see you in action!
What to Pair with Mojo Chicken?
If I’m feeding a crowd, this pairs perfectly with black beans and coconut rice (recipe here). But, if its just me and my husband, I will do chicken with a salad and sliced avocado and keep it low carb, keto, paleo and whole 30 approved (and gluten free!).Print
Mojo Criollo is a popular garlic-citrus marinade and dipping sauce commonly found in Cuban and Latin cooking. Original recipes call for sour orange, which has been replaced by a combo of orange and lime juice in this recipe. This dish is super economical and tasty, as chicken thighs are inexpensive and great for feeding a crowd, while Mojo Criollo marinade is universally likeable.
- 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
For the Marinade:
- 1 cup sour orange juice OR 1/2 orange juice and ½ cup lime juice
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 Tbsp fresh oregano
- 1 garlic head, outer skin removed
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp fresh ground pepper
- Combine marinade ingredients in an immersion or stick blender and process until they are chopped and uniform in consistency.
- Marinate chicken in the fridge, in a sealed container, for 30 minutes.
- Preheat your grill for medium high heat, about 400 degrees.
Hot Tip: Always be sure to oil your grill grates so your protein doesn’t stick. You can do this by dipping a paper towel into a bit of oil with a pair of grilling tongs, and applying the paper towel to the grates while they’re still cool.
- Grill the chicken, flipping halfway through, until it has reached 165 degrees internal temperature. This should take 10 minutes or less.
- Remove the chicken from the grill and tent it under foil for 10 minutes before serving.
- Serve immediately with your favorite sides.
Mojo Criollo is great on all kinds of poultry and pork and the marinade also works well as a base for slaw or a dipping sauce for plantain chips (paleo friendly). Look for “naranja agria” at Hispanic grocery stores to find Sour Orange Juice.
This Recipe was posted in collaboration with Yummly. This recipe was first produced for my book Healthy Electric Smoker and also featured in the inaugural issue of Grill Girl Magazine.
- Category: grilled chicken, Cuban Mojo Marinade, Cuban Cooking
- Method: Grill
- Cuisine: Cuban, Latin, Cuban American
Keywords: Cuban Mojo Marinade Recipe, Mojo Marinade, Mojo Chicken, How to Make Mojo Chicken, Grilled Mojo Chicken, Mojo Grilled Chicken