BBQ chicken – Middle Eastern, Mexican & Italian

On my recipes page I talk about having a few tried and tested recipes on rotation. Those that are simple to prepare and never let you down. Here I’m sharing one of mine – marinated BBQ chicken. All you need is some chicken and a few spices to hand. I alternate between three different marinades or types of seasoning – Mexican, Middle Eastern and Italian. Give them all go and see which you prefer.

BBQ chicken, spices, recipe

All you need is a variety of spices

I recently switched from insisting on free range chicken to insisting on organic. And not just because the flavour is superior. A chicken is raised in ‘free range’ conditions can still be subject to antibiotics, hormones and other supplements. Buying organic is the only way to guarantee your chicken is antibiotic and hormone free. Now I know you’re thinking ‘Over $20 for a whole chicken is expensive’ but consider this:

  • a whole organic chicken for $20 can easily make four servings – you’d happily pay $20 for just two fillets of fish without having the same reaction to the price.
  • any recipe that calls for chicken stock goes to another level if you use home-made organic chicken stock. One organic chicken typically makes one litre of rich chicken stock – you’d pay up to $10 for this in a store.
  • organic chicken, I’ve read, contains a higher amount of omega 3 essential fatty acids – so you’re promoting good health and can cut back on the expensive fish oil products.

If buying and breaking up a whole chicken is too much hassle (and you’re not worried about your wallet) then a good alternative is to buy organic chicken thighs. They’re so much juicer than the breast because of the higher fat content and are much more forgiving if you leave them on the BBQ longer than needed.

BBQ chicken, Mexican, Italian, Middle Eastern, recipe

A whole chicken marinating in seasoning

So arm yourself with an organic whole chicken or 800g to 1kg of organic chicken thighs. If you choose the whole chicken then separate it into the breasts and tenderloins, marylands (thigh with drumstick attached) and wings. Reserve the remains for your chicken stock. Then choose your spices mix.

Middle Eastern

  • One teaspoon of each of sweet and smokey paprika
  • One tablespoon of cumin
  • Two garlic cloves, crushed
  • Couple of fresh red chillies, chopped
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Small piece of fresh ginger – around the size of a dice
  • Salt and pepper
  • One tablespoon of coconut oil (substitute with olive oil)

Serve with a yoghurt, fresh coriander and flat breads.


  • 1/2 teaspoon of each of cumin, coriander, sweet paprika, smokey paprika, oregano and chilli powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (or one to two cloves of fresh garlic)
  • Salt and pepper
  • One fresh lime (please don’t use cheap bottled lime juice unless you absolutely can not find fresh lines – even then I’d rather substitute fresh lemon juice)
  • One tablespoon of coconut oil (substitute with olive oil)

Serve with yoghurt or sour cream, guacamole and flat breads (see my guacamole recipe here).

Home-made guacamole, avocado, recipe

Home-made guacamole


  • A few sprigs of fresh thyme (leaves only)
  • One tablespoon of chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • One teaspoon of dried oregano or 1/2 teaspoon of each of dried oregano and basil
  • One garlic clove, crushed
  • Juice of one lemon (I often also add the lemon zest as well)
  • A sprinkle of dried chilli flakes – adjust the quantity depending on your taste for heat
  • Salt and pepper
  • One tablespoon of olive oil (I prefer Australian extra virgin olive oil like Cobram estate or Aldi’s “The Olive Tree” range)

Serve with grated parmesan, grilled radicchio and crusty bread.

Steps to prepare

  1. Prepare your spice mix in a small bowl, mixing all of the ingredients together really well. Add the oil as the last ingredient before mixing.
  2. Grab a large (ideally non-metallic) bowl and add your chicken.
  3. Thoroughly rub the spice mix into the chicken.
  4. Leave to marinate in the fridge – for as little as an hour or as long as overnight (the longer the better).
  5. Remove from the fridge at least 30 minutes before cooking.
  6. Cook on the BBQ, turning over each piece half way through. If you’re cooking a  whole chicken consider that the breast and tenderloins cook the quickest. So start cooking them five minutes after the other pieces, or remove them from the BBQ five minutes earlier.

By Feast Wisely

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