Smoky Haberno Grilled Chicken Recipe


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If you’ve tried any of our easy healthy recipes before, you know that my family loves flavour!

This smoky habanero grilled chicken recipe is incredibly easy and delicious, making it the perfect recipe for low-key barbecues or tailgating.
Smoky Habanero Grilled Chicken with fresh salsa. A spicy and delicious recipe for your next family get-together or tailgating party.

It’s almost homecoming for our local university football team and I come from a big football family – almost everyone in my family has played football at some level. For me, it was just two years on my high school football team, but we have former professional players and football coaches in the family, so we really enjoy getting together for the games.

Now that I’m cooking for our family’s football barbecues, I want to make healthy, great meals that everyone will enjoy, but I also don’t want to be spending all of my time in the kitchen. I want easy, fresh sides and some food for the grill, so whether we’re watching the game from home or bringing a portable charcoal barbeque to the game, the menu doesn’t have to change.

Sometimes you have to look in different sections of the store to find what you're looking for.

I normally have to hunt down my favourite hot sauce, but I was so excited to discover it at my local Wal-mart. I am really picky with my hot sauce; I don’t just want heat, I want my hot sauce to have great flavour and really enhance the recipe. My favourite is El Yucateco’s Black Label Reserve which is made with fire roasted habanero peppers, so it has a smoky and nuanced flavour that is completely different than the flavour most people associate with hot sauce. (They even keep it in a different section than the other hot sauces, I found it in the Hispanic section of my store.)

If you’re a regular reader, you know that I very infrequently work with brands because I want you to be confident that I’m actually sharing a product that I love, and this is one of them. (I also used it in my Sausage and Shrimp Gumbo recipe and my Lentil Stew recipe.)

Delicious smoky habanero grilled chicken marinade, featuring my favourite hot sauce - seriously, the best.

I whipped together a quick but flavour-packed marinade for my smoky habanero grilled chicken, and let it set in the fridge for a day while I organized the rest of the details for the barbecue and cleaned the house. A great marinade is an easy way to really develop some deep flavour without having to do much work.

Marinated and grilled chicken with a fresh homemade salsa - spicy, delicious, and easy - perfect for family get-togethers.

Smoky Haberno Grilled Chicken Recipe


  • 8 chicken drumsticks
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 4 Tablespoons Smoky Habanero sauce, or to taste
  • 1 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme, optional
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (there is garlic in the habanero sauce, so you can omit if desired)
  • Mary's Fresh Salsa:
  • 4 radish
  • 2 sweet bell peppers
  • 1 sweet onion
  • 2-4 medium tomatoes (we used roma)
  • 1/2 fennel bulb
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Fresh Mint, to taste
  • Fresh Oregano, to taste
  • Fresh Parsley, to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste


  1. Pat your chicken drumsticks down with a paper towel to remove any excess skin or moisture.
  2. Combine the habanero sauce, garlic, and yogurt in a measuring cup. You can add the lime juice and spices into this marinade, but I prefer to put the lime juice directly on the chicken, followed by sprinkling the dry spices over top.
  3. Pour the habanero-yogurt marinade over the chicken drumsticks, cover, and let set in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  4. When your grill is ready to go, place the drumsticks directly on the grill and cook 15-20 minutes, rotating about halfway through.
  5. You want to cook the drumsticks thoroughly, but avoid drying them out with overcooking. I also like to throw some habaneros on the grill to compliment the smoky habanero sauce on the chicken.
  6. While the chicken is cooking (or the night before), prepare your fresh salsa. Chop up all vegetables, stir in the herbs, and let the flavours set for as long as you can before serving.

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Smoky Habanero Grilled Chicken with fresh salsa. A spicy and delicious recipe for your next family get-together or tailgating party.

I wanted to provide a fresh contrast to the smoky heat of the grilled chicken, so I topped each portion with a generous spoonful of Mary’s fresh salsa recipe.

This fresh salsa recipe comes together in less than five minutes and is the perfect fresh topping for any meal, especially those packing a bit of heat.

I hope your family loves this easy, healthy recipe for smoky habanero grilled chicken, and that it makes preparing for your next family barbecue a bit easier.

Check out our other Chicken Recipes:

Chicken Recipes

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  1. Ugh this is totally up my ally. I love cooking chicken, but I often cycle through the same 5~ish recipes every week. While I love everything I make, it tends to get boring. The drumsticks look soo good – I’d probably make it with chicken breasts because I’m a picky person with my meat lol.

  2. That looks delicious. We love football around here and my husband played as a kid, but as an adult we are just fans. But who doesn’t love good football watching food! Yum!

  3. That looks so absolutely fresh, and delicious! I have been craving a chicken recipe, but haven’t stumbled onto one that I’ve just “had” to have yet – I think this is the one. I’ll be trying it this weekend. Thanks for the awesome recipe!

  4. Wow this looks absolutely amazing! I am more of a chicken breast girl so I think I will try this recipe out with chicken breasts! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

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