Taco Cabana Citrus Marinated Chicken

No Photo


  • 1 small onion
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 1 1/4 cups orange juice
  • Juice of 4 limes
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon achiote (annatto) paste **
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 whole chicken salt and pepper


  1. To make the marinade: Chop onion and garlic roughly and place into small bowl. Add 1 1/4 cups of orange juice, juice of 4 limes, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon oregano, 2 bay leaves (torn in half), and 1 tablespoon achiote paste. Whisk all ingredients together, then slowly add salad oil while stirring. Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes before use.
  2. To prepare chicken for marinating: Using poultry shears, cut chicken straight down the center of the breast bone. Place chicken cavity side down on a cutting board. Grab the leg and thigh portions and pull upward so that the joint is removed from the backbone. Using a boning knife, cut under wing section to separate wing tendon from breast, but do not cut all the way through. Grab both wings with one hand and pull upward to separate from joint. At this point, chicken should be completely flat and ready to go into marinade.
  3. To marinate chicken: place chicken into shallow pan and cover with marinade. Cover and refrigerate overnight, chicken should sit in marinade for 24 hours to get maximum flavor.
  4. To grill chicken: If using a charcoal grill, start coals and allow to cook until the flame has gone out and coals are glowing embers. Make sure coals are spread evenly across bottom of grill and are not to close to grill surface. Chicken should sit a minimum of 12 inches away from coals. If the coals are too hot or too close to chicken, the cooking juices from the chicken will flare up and burn skin before the proper internal temperature is reached. While waiting for the charcoal to burn down, remove chicken from marinade, drain excess moisture, and thoroughly coat both sides of the chicken with a good layer of salt and pepper.
  5. Place the chicken on the grill cavity side down first. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes, then flip bird over and continue to cook skin side down until internal temperature of 185 degrees F has been achieved.
  6. Allow chicken to rest for 5 minutes, then cut into serving pieces of quarters or eighths.

Serving suggestion: Place cut chicken on large platter and garnish with lime wedges.