Buttermilk Chipotle Grilled Chicken

chipotlechickenCanned Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce are simply very ripe jalapeno peppers that have been dried, smoked and packed in a sauce of tomatoes, vinegar, paprika, oregano, garlic and onion. If you’ve never cooked with them before, you’ll be shocked at what a shortcut they can be when wanting to add flavor to loads of recipes.

And, to make sure those flavors, and a couple of other ones in this marinade, really travel to the deepest parts of the chicken, buttermilk is a miracle...

Cooks in the south, like the ones I grew up with, always used buttermilk to tenderize and moisturize fried chicken...The acid in buttermilk helps break down the protein strings, which makes the bird more tender and succulent, while carrying those flavorful spices and herbs into the deepest part of the meat.

And this spicy version of the marinade those smart cooks have used for generations makes this chicken just as delicious and juicy…even though it’s grilled and not fried!

The best part is, even though this marinade takes less than 5 minutes to whirl together, the Chipotles in Adobo sauce make it taste far more complex…and, if you make it for a summer garden party, your guests will beg to know your secret! (By the way, feel free to tell them it’s much more difficult than it really is!)


(Marinate the chicken the night before, or the morning of, your BBQ.)

5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 8 breasts), each cut in half (See below for details, there’s way to cut them that is important to make them as juicy as they can be.)

1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/4 to 1/2 cup Chipotle peppers in Adobo sauce (Add according to how much heat you like.)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teasponn ground coriander
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 handful fresh cilantro, stems and leaves
Zest and juice of 1 large lime

Using your immersion blender, puree the buttermilk, Chipotles in Adobo sauce, ground cumin, coriander, salt, cilantro, lime zest and juice.

While the marinade sits for a few minutes, cut your chicken breasts in half.

You want to separate the thicker (top) part of the breasts from the thinner (and lower part) of the breasts so that you can leave the thicker pieces on the grill to keep cooking, but pull the thinner pieces as soon as they’re done so they don’t dry out.

Toss the chicken in the marinade, making sure every piece is coated, and cover with plastic wrap. (Push down on the wrap so that everything is submerged and nothing is left out in the air.)

After marinating at least 6 hours, and up to 24, cook on the grill…(And, while the grill is hot, go ahead and throw on some veggies! Bell peppers, onions, zucchini, eggplant, asparagus or mushrooms are all great grill friends!)

When everything is done…load the veg onto a platter, slice the chicken and arrange it on top..adding fresh squeezed lime juice and a sprinkle of freshly chopped cilantro just before serving.


After 25 years as a local and network anchor, Lisa McRee was just another American mother struggling, and failing, to lose weight. Finally, she cracked the code, and lost 30 pounds, quickly and for good, by doing what she loves: reporting, cooking and eating! Visit The Skinny to see how she did it.