Grilled Chicken Thighs with Ancho-Tequila Glaze

Photo: Johnny Autry; Styling: Mary Clayton Carl


  • 1 1/2 cups hickory wood chips
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper 
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 12 bone-in chicken thighs, skinned (about 2 1/2 pounds) 
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 6 tablespoons amber agave syrup
  • 3 tablespoons tequila 
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons hot sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter 
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice 
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (optional) 
  • lime wedges 


  1. 1. Soak wood chips in water 30 minutes; drain well.
  2. 2. Preheat grill to medium-high heat using both burners. After preheating, turn the left burner off (leave the right burner on). Pierce the bottom of a disposable aluminum foil pan several times with the tip of a knife. Place pan on heat element on heated side of grill; add wood chips to pan. Let chips stand for 15 minutes or until smoking.
  3. 3. Combine chile powder and next 5 ingredients (through salt) in a medium bowl. Add chicken to bowl; toss well. Add oil to bowl; toss well.
  4. 4. Place syrup and next 5 ingredients (through red pepper) in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cook until mixture is reduced to 1/2 cup and begins to thicken (about 3 minutes). Reserve syrup mixture.
  5. 5. Place chicken, meaty side down, on grill rack coated with cooking spray over left burner (indirect heat). Brush chicken with 2 tablespoons syrup mixture; grill 15 minutes. Turn chicken over. Brush with 2 tablespoons syrup mixture; grill 15 minutes. Turn chicken over and move to direct heat; grill 5 minutes or until done. Garnish with cilantro, if desired. Serve with remaining syrup mixture and lime wedges.
Steven Raichlen, Cooking Light