Chili-rubbed chicken thighs with smashed grilled potatoes and mole sauce

It’s easy to juggle the cooking of the potatoes and chicken thighs. I arrange the potatoes on the cool side of the grill about 10 minutes after I start the grill, so they get a jump start on cooking. While the chicken thighs are searing and the lid of the grill is open, I turn the potatoes once, then I let them finish cooking along with the thighs when the thighs are moved to the cool side and the grill is covered. If you have a gas grill with more than two burners, you might need to turn off an additional burner to accommodate all of the food.


Serves 4


8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
Extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup Grill Every Day Spice Rub (recipe follows)
1/4 cup store-bought mole (see Cook’s Note)
1 cup canned low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/8 teaspoon sugar
Grill-Roasted and Smashed Baby White Potatoes (from Grill Every Day)
1/3 cup fresh cilantro chopped(optional)

Grill Everyday Spice Rub

1/4 cup kosher or sea salt
2 tablespoons coarsely ground pepper
1 tablespoon ground coriander
3 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
2 tablespoons dried thyme crushed
2 tablespoons chili powder
1/4 cup dark brown sugar packed
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon


Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill on medium-high.

Trim the chicken thighs of any excess skin and fat. Place the thighs in a large bowl, drizzle olive oil over the top, and rub the thighs all over with oil. Rub the thighs all over with the spice rub.

To create a cool zone, bank the coals to one side of the grill or turn off one of the burners. Oil the grill grate. Place the chicken thighs, skin side down, directly over the medium-hot fire and sear on one side, about 3 minutes. Turn and sear on the other side, about 7 minutes. Move the chicken to the cooler part of the grill, cover, and grill until the juices run clear when the thickest part of a thigh is pierced with a knife, or an instant-read thermometer registers 165ºF, 10 to 15 minutes longer.

While the chicken is grilling, prepare the mole sauce. In a small saucepan, combine the mole, chicken stock, cinnamon, salt, and sugar and place over medium-low heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce smooth and thickened, about 5 minutes. Keep warm.

To serve, spoon enough mole sauce on each dinner plate to cover the surface lightly. Arrange 2 or 3 smashed potatoes in the center of each plate, and set 2 chicken thighs on top. Serve immediately.

Grill Every Day Spice Rub

This is my favorite big-flavored spice blend, guaranteed to ignite great taste when rubbed on shrimp, scallops, chicken, beef, lamb, buffalo, or pork. This recipe yields just over a cup; I tend to triple it, so I have extra rub on my pantry shelf when I need it. I make the big batch on a weekend when I have extra time, and then—voilà—it’s there when I want it on a time-strapped weeknight.

In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper, coriander, cumin, paprika, thyme, chili powder, sugar, and cinnamon. Stir well to blend. Use immediately, or transfer to a jar with a tight-fitting lid and store away from heat and light for up to 6 months.

Makes about 1 1/4 cups


Mole sauce, such as Doña Maria brand, is available at Latin American markets, specialty-foods stores, and most supermarkets. Use this doctored sauce on everything from chicken enchiladas to sliced turkey.