Grilled Red Chile-Buttermilk Brined Chicken With Mango-Honey Glaze

This is a Bobby Flay recipe from his 2013 ‘Bobby Flay’s Barbeque Addiction’ cookbook. I’m crazy about Bobby Flay. I watch so many of his programs and read so many of his recipes that I feel like I know him. He makes everything look so effortless and I love the fact that his dishes are packed with layers of flavor, but not necessarily incendiary, although we know Bobby can heat it up! Did you know that CHILE spelled with an E rather than CHILI refers to a hot pepper? CHILI with an I is a dish, or spice blend, that mixes chile peppers with other ingredients.

I made this dish a couple weeks ago for my canasta group. Once a month we celebrate birthdays that fall in that month and this time it was my two good friends, Bonnie Ungerecht and Francine Manspeaker. We celebrate with a fabulous pot-luck lunch, lots of laughs, good wine, a raucous card game and just simply enjoy each other for an entire afteroon. Happy Birthday again you two beautiful ladies! I neglected to take any photos the first time so re-made it last week for my husband, Jerry. He liked it as much as the ladies did.

I think part of what makes this chicken dish so special is the Buttermilk marinade. I did not have any buttermilk, but it is easy to make.

Mix 1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice per 1 cup of milk. This recipe called for a quart of milk so I squeezed 4 Tbsp. of lemon juice into the milk.

Once you add the lemon juice, let it sit a couple of minutes and you can actually see the milk thicken and begin to curdle. I also wanted you to see the amount of chiles once they were all mixed together. That’s a heavy spice rub!

I deviated from Bobby’s instructions a little bit. His recipe uses bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts. I used chicken thighs. I mixed all five chile peppers, also added 1/4 tsp. of Guajillo (just because I had it and it sounded like a nice addition), plus the garlic and onion powder, coriander, and cinnamon and then rubbed into the chicken thighs and let sit for about an hour uncovered in the fridge so the spices would start to penetrate even before they jump into the buttermilk bath. Bobby suggests mixing the spices with the buttermilk all at once.

But before getting the rub, I cleaned the chicken thighs and lightly salted both sides before adding the rub. Rinse and pat dry each thigh. Remove any obvious bloody veins. See where the tip of my knife is inserted?…There are some ropey tendons that are best removed. I took a little fat off, but the fat is what makes these thighs so delicious and juicy, so do not remove it all.

Here’s what goes into the rub! That’s a lot of spice! Although only 1/2 tsp., the cinnamon really stands out!

And now they are ready to sit in the fridge for an hour or so. In the meantime, make the Buttermilk, unless you are using store-bought.

Tucked into the zip locks, they are ready for the Buttermilk Brine.

I used double zip-lock bags and placed the thighs in a pan just in case there was any seepage, which there was not! Bobby recommends marinating in the fridge for at least 4 hours and up to 24. I decided to marinate for the full 24 hours.

While the chicken is marinating, make the Mango-Honey Glaze. This sauce has rich mango flavor and a bit of heat from the chile de arbol powder. More on that later.

The next day…remove the chicken thighs from the brine and pat dry with a paper towel. Cover a baking sheet with foil and a rack. Place chicken on the rack and return to the refrigerator and let sit, uncovered, for at least an hour and up to 4 hours. I let my chicken sit for 4 hours. By drying out in the fridge, this helps give the chicken an extra crispy skin. I also do this if I am roasting a whole chicken.

Take the chicken out of the fridge a half hour before grilling.

I deviated again from Bobby’s grilling instructions as my grill is not very sophisticated and although I love to grill am not an expert like Bobby Flay. The important thing is to cook the thighs thoroughly (to 160 degrees) without overcooking or drying out. I will give you his exact instructions in the recipe below.  Pull the skin tightly around the thighs to make a nice bundle. Brush the thighs lightly with canola oil and place them on the grill, seam side down. Heat the grill to very hot and before placing the thighs in, reduce heat to medium and then grill for about 5 minutes per side. They did flare up a bit, but blow on the flames to smother them. A nice smoke will follow. After you have some good grill marks, brush lightly with the Mango-Honey Glaze and cook another minute or two.

The recipe for the Mango glaze follows. This recipe made much more glaze than was needed for the chicken. It is wonderful on just about everything. I made a chicken salad with the leftover chicken thighs, green grapes and red onions. The Mango was a great addition. It is also wonderful on pork. It would also be great on a shrimp and pasta dish with scallions and some grated ginger.

I finished cooking the thighs in a preheated 325 degree oven until they reached 160 degrees; about 20 more minutes. Baste with the pan juices and more Mango-Honey Glaze.

I hope you love this recipe as much as we all did. Let me know!

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5 from 1 vote

Grilled Red Chile-Buttermilk Brined Chicken with Spicy Mango-Honey Glaze

The buttermilk brining makes this chicken extra juicy and the spice mixed with sweet glaze are a perfect combination.


For the Grilled Chicken

  • 1 qt. Buttermilk OR make it yourself. 4 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice to 1 qt. fresh milk
  • 2 Tbsp. Ancho chile powder
  • 1 Tbsp. New Mexican chile powder
  • 1 Tbsp. Cascabel chile powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Chile de arbol powder OR cayenne
  • 1 tsp. Smoked mild paprika
  • 1 tsp. Ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. Granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp. Onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Ground cinnamon
  • 4 8 oz. Bone-in, Skin-on Chicken Breasts OR 8 large chicken thighs
  • 4 Chicken drumsticks
  • 1/4 cup Canola oil
  • Kosher salt/Black Pepper
  • Mango-Honey Glaze-recipe follows

Mango-Honey Glaze

  • 2 Tbsp. Canola oil
  • 1 small Red onion, chopped
  • 1 Garlic clove, chopped
  • 3 Very ripe Mangoes, peeled, pitted and chopped
  • 1/2 cup Dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup Pineapple juice
  • 1/4 cup Orange juice
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp. Chile de arbol powder This chile is spicy so I used 1/4 tsp., but always taste.
  • 3 Tbsp. Honey
  • Kosher salt/freshly ground black pepper, to taste


To Prepare and Grill the Chicken

  • Whisk together the buttermilk, chile powders, paprika, coriander, garlic, onion powder, and cinnamon in a large baking dish. Add the chicken and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 24, turning a few more times. This is why putting the chicken in the zip lock bag makes this step even easier.
  • Remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry with paper towels. Put the chicken on a baking rack, set over a baking sheet. Return to the refrigerator and let sit, uncovered, for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.
  • Heat your grill to medium for indirect grilling. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking.
  • Brush the chicken on both sides with the oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • Put the chicken, skin side down, on the hotter side of the grill (direct heat) and grill until browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Turn over the chicken and continue grilling until the bottom is golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Move to the cooler side of the grill (indirect heat), close the cover, and continue grilling until an instant read thermometer inserted into the meat (not touching the bone) registers 160 degrees, about 10 minutes longer. During the last few minutes, brush with some of the mano-honey glaze.
  • Remove the chicken to a platter and drizzle with more of the glaze. Tent loosely with foil and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

To Make the Mango-Honey Glaze

  • Heat the oil in a large high-sided saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the mangoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until broken down and caramelized, about 10 minutes. Add the white wine and cook until reduced by half, about 2 minutes.
  • Carefully transfer mixture to a blender, add the pineapple and orange juices and the chile de arbol powder. Let the mixture cool slightly and blend until smooth, about 2 minutes. Strain into a bowl and season with the honey, salt and pepper. the mixture should be a thick puree. If it is too thick, thin it with a touch of water. Let cool to room temperature before serving.


The Mango-Honey Glaze keeps well in the fridge. I have had in for a week now and it is still delicious. Because the chicken is so moist, it is great re-heated or use it to make a wonderfully flavorful chicken salad. I added sliced, crisp green grapes, finely diced red onion, salt, pepper, and more of the Mango glaze with a little mayonnaise. Yummy!




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  1. Brenna Reilly June 13, 2023 at 8:13 am - Reply

    5 stars
    That looks fabou and sounds like you had a great time. Happy Birthday everyone!
    I love the colors in this dish.

    • Cindy Rabbitt June 13, 2023 at 8:46 am - Reply

      Thanks Bren! These women really do know how to have a GOOD time! Everyone brings something to the bday luncheons so it truly is a group effort. Thanks for your comment!

  2. Francine D'Anna June 13, 2023 at 1:35 pm - Reply

    Looks delicious. Gonna try this!

    • Cindy Rabbitt June 13, 2023 at 2:27 pm - Reply

      Great! Let me know what you think. Maybe we can give Bobby Flay some tips?!?!
      Loved talking this afternoon.

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