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Grilled Chicken Mole

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 3 hr 5 min (includes brining and marinating time)
  • Active: 1 hr 5 min
  • Yield: 6 servings
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Brine and Chicken:

1 cup kosher salt

1 cup light brown sugar 

3 cloves garlic, smashed 

2 bay leaves 

4 pounds bone-in chicken thighs and drumsticks (about 6 of each)

4 pounds bone-in chicken thighs and drumsticks (about 6 of each) 

Dry Rub:

2 tablespoons ancho chile powder

2 tablespoons granulated garlic 

2 tablespoons kosher salt 

1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin 

1 tablespoon onion powder 

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 

Mole Sauce:

2 teaspoons canola oil

1 yellow onion, diced 

3 cloves garlic, minced 

1 cup canned diced tomatoes 

3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped 

2 tablespoons chopped toasted almonds 

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 

1 teaspoon ground cumin 

2 dried ancho chiles, rehydrated 

2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo, with 1 tablespoon of the liquid 

1 cup low-sodium chicken stock 

1/2 cup currants 

Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish 

Lime wedges, for garnish 

Steamed white rice, for serving 


  1. For the brine and chicken: In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup water, the salt, sugar, garlic and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer to dissolve the sugar and salt. Once boiling, remove from the heat and add 3 cups ice. Once the liquid is cool, pour into a freezer bag. Add the chicken to the brine, making sure it is completely submerged. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. For the dry rub: Combine the ancho chile powder, granulated garlic, salt, cumin, onion powder, cinnamon and black pepper together and toast in a dry pan until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry. Sprinkle the chicken on all sides with the dry rub, massaging the spices into the meat and ensuring that all sides are completely coated. Return to the refrigerator and marinate for 1 hour.
  4. For the mole sauce: In a medium saute pan over medium heat, add the canola oil and onions and cook until translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in the tomatoes, chocolate, almonds, cinnamon, cumin, ancho chiles and chipotles with their liquid and simmer for 5 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a food processor, add in the chicken stock and puree until smooth. Add the currants and process again. Set half of the sauce aside for serving and reserve the other half for basting the chicken.
  5. Preheat a grill to medium-high heat. Grill the chicken, turning occasionally, until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F, 10 to 15 minutes per side. Using a silicone pastry brush, baste with the mole sauce for the final 5 to 8 minutes of cooking time.
  6. Garnish with cilantro and lime wedges. Serve with steamed white rice and extra mole sauce slathered over the top.
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