Pineapple Throne Chicken Tacos
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Recipe courtesy of Amy Stevenson for Food Network Kitchen

Pineapple Throne Chicken Tacos

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 3 hr (includes marinating and resting times)
  • Active: 1 hr
  • Yield: 4 servings
We channeled the flavors of al pastor in our seasonings for this chicken that roast standing upright on the core of a pineapple--you get even cooking all around and the spices play to the sweet juicy fruit's taste. The trickiest part of this dish is making sure you cut the pineapple base flat, so the chicken doesn’t tip over once it begins to cook. If it does, you can prop the bird up on the grill with a brick or other heatproof anchor.






  1. For the chicken: Combine the chile powder, cumin, oregano, garlic powder, cloves and 1 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Rub all over the outside of the chicken and sprinkle a little in the cavity. Let sit at room temperature 1 hour or refrigerate up to overnight.
  2. When you are ready to cook, prepare a grill for medium (350 to 375 degrees F) indirect heat (for a gas grill, leave one or two burners on low or off; for a charcoal grill, bank the coals on one side of the grill). Fold a double thickness of aluminum foil to about 10 inches square and place in the center of the indirect heat (or use a disposable aluminum pan).
  3. Cut the top from the pineapple and cut a small slice from the bottom, if needed, so the pineapple stands up firmly on its own. Use a serrated knife to cut down vertically, along the core to make a plank, stopping a little more than an inch from the base of the pineapple. Cut horizontally above the base to remove 1 plank of pineapple. Remove 3 more planks in the same manner--ending up with a firm base holding up the pineapple core. Cut the flesh from the pineapple. Coarsely chop 1 cup and set aside for the sauce. Cube the remaining pineapple for salsa, about 1 1/2 cups, and set aside.
  4. Stuff the pineapple core in the cavity of the chicken to make it stand up straight. Place on the foil on the grill and cover the grill. Cook the chicken for 1 hour.
  5. For the sauce: Meanwhile, melt the achiote paste in a small skillet over low heat, adding 1 to 2 tablespoons water if it is too thick to melt (different brands have different textures). Once melted, add the garlic and cook until sizzling, about 1 minute. Stir in the cumin, oregano, cloves and 1/2 teaspoon salt and remove from the heat. Transfer to a blender with the reserved 1 cup chopped pineapple, vinegar and agave. Blend to make a smooth sauce about the consistency of BBQ sauce. Season with salt. You will have about 1 1/2 cups. Divide the sauce between 2 bowls, reserving one bowl for basting and one for serving.
  6. After 1 hour, brush the chicken with some of the basting sauce and re-cover the grill. Continue to cook, basting every 10 minutes, until the skin is deep golden brown and the chicken is cooked through and tender (an instant-read thermometer should read 165 degrees F in the thickest part of the thigh), 30 to 40 minutes more. Remove the chicken to a cutting board to rest for 10 minutes and remove the pineapple core.
  7. For the salsa: While the chicken rests, toss the reserved 1 1/2 cups pineapple cubes in a medium bowl with the lime juice, oil, plum tomato, jalapeno, red onion and 1 teaspoon salt. Toss well. Add the cilantro and toss just to combine.
  8. Cut the chicken into pieces, then carve the meat from the bones and chop into bite-size pieces. Serve with the salsa, cabbage, avocado, lime wedges and tortillas on the side. Drizzle the tacos with the reserved pineapple sauce.