Yucatan Chicken Tacos with Peanut Barbecue Sauce

When you hear the phrase “peanut sauce”, most people think of Thai food.  Peanut dipping sauce is their version of our American barbecue sauce.  I think everyone has tasted it by now, and most everyone would probably agree that it’s delicious.  What I didn’t know until a few years ago, is that peanut sauce isn’t solely a southeast Asian thing.  It’s quite common in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula.  Apparently it’s a favorite condiment for grilled chicken tacos.  Next time I’m there I’ll definitely be seeking them out.

Bobby Flay introduced me to this concept and dish with his “Mesa Grill Cookbook”.  I first made this several years ago, in my pre-blogging days, and wanted to do a repeat meal post to share it.  This taco is outstanding!  Juicy, charred chicken thighs are wrapped in a warm flour tortilla and topped with crunchy cabbage and a flavorful sauce that tastes like a cross between Thai peanut sauce and American barbecue sauce.  Garnish with chopped peanuts for extra crunch and to drive that peanut flavor home.  The good news is that the peanut sauce makes a ton, so freeze the extras.  You can make this dish again, or use it to baste ribs, chicken, or any pork cuts while grilling.  Enjoy!

Source: Bobby Flay, “Mesa Grill Cookbook”

1/2 cup fresh orange juice (about 2 oranges)
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (2-3 limes)
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs ancho chile powder
3 garlic cloves, chopped
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut in half lengthwise
Salt and black pepper
12 (6″) flour tortillas
Red Cabbage Slaw (recipe to follow)
Peanut-Red Chile Barbecue Sauce (recipe to follow)
Chopped roasted peanuts, for garnish

Marinate the chicken: in a large, shallow baking dish, whisk together citrus juices, oil, chile powder, and garlic. Place the chicken in the dish and turn to coat fully. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.
Preheat a grill or grill pan over high heat.
Remove the chicken from the marinade, season with salt and pepper on both sides, then grill 4-5 minutes per side, until just cooked through.
Warm the tortillas and store in a tortilla warmer or in a foil pouch.
Serve the tacos with the Slaw and Sauce; garnish with peanuts.

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup fresh orange juice (from 2 oranges)
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tbs honey
1/2 a head of red cabbage, finely shredded
1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
Salt and black pepper

Whisk together the vinegar, orange juice, oil, and honey in a medium bowl. Add the cabbage, onion, and cilantro and season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss to combine. Let sit at room temperature for at least 20 minutes and up to 1 hour before serving.


1 tbs canola oil
2 tbs peeled, grated fresh ginger
1 1/2 cups Mesa Grill Barbecue Sauce (recipe to follow), or your favorite BBQ sauce
2 cups Chicken stock
2 tbs soy sauce
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
Salt and black pepper

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the ginger and cook until soft, 1-2 minutes. Raise the heat to high, add barbecue sauce and chicken stock, and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half.
Whisk in the soy sauce and peanut butter and cook over medium heat until thickened, 15 minutes or so. Season with salt and pepper.

This is a really good barbecue sauce. I highly recommend making a batch, it’s very versatile and freezes just fine.

2 tbs canola oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
5 garlic cloves, chopped
2 (15 oz.) cans plum tomatoes with juice
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup molasses
3 tbs Dijon mustard
3 tbs dark brown sugar
2 tbs honey
3 tbs ancho chile powder
3 tbs pasilla chile powder
1 tbs chipotle in adobo (1-2 chiles, depending on your heat level tolerance, plus some adobo sauce)
Salt and black pepper

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a stockpot. Add the onion and cook until softened, 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Add the tomatoes and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
Add the ketchup, vinegar, Worcestershire, molasses, mustard, brown sugar, honey, chile powders, and chipotles. Lower the heat to medium, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 30 minutes.
Puree the mixture until smooth, either with an immersion blender or in a food processor. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour into a bowl and cool to room temperature. Freeze any leftovers.

About jwall915

I love to cook and I love to travel! This blog explores my love of both. I share recipes and restaurant reviews, and I blog the trips I take.
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2 Responses to Yucatan Chicken Tacos with Peanut Barbecue Sauce

  1. California says:

    I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was
    great. I don’t know who you are but certainly you are going to a famous blogger if you aren’t already 😉 Cheers!

  2. jwall915 says:

    Thank you so much!!

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