Grilled Ancho Chili Rubbed Chicken

The ancho chilies give the chicken a beautiful deep red color and amazing southwestern flavors
Ancho Chili Rubbed Chicken

Making ancho chili rubbed chicken on the grill brings its southwest flavors alive with crispy skin and a sweet tangy BBQ that makes this chicken truly finger-lickin’ good.

Using indirect heat to make chicken on the grill gives you the best of both worlds.

The indirect heat cooks chicken that is moist, tender, and plump; while the fire caramelizes the BBQ sauce and crisps up the chicken skin.

This grilled chicken recipe uses our Ancho Chili & Honey BBQ Sauce that has an amazing flavor profile that happens when ancho chilies and honey get together.  It’s easily our favorite BBQ sauce and worth making at home.

If you don’t have any ancho chili BBQ sauce available try making some using our recipe or substitute another BBQ sauce where the chili flavors really come through. FYI – having lots of chili flavor does not mean a BBQ sauce needs to be really hot.

Sauce the chicken
Saucing the chicken

To get the outside of the chicken thighs nice and crispy with turning the BBQ sauce gummy use our Flip, Fire, and Paint Technique.  It’s one of the easiest ways to step up your BBQ game.

A few dishes that go well with this chicken recipe are Sweet Corn and Anaheim Peppers and Pinto Beans with Dried Chilies.

Ancho Chili Rubbed Chicken

Grilled Ancho Chili Rubbed Chicken

5 from 3 votes
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4 servings


  • 4 chicken thighs
  • 1-1/2 cups Ancho Chili BBQ Sauce

Ancho Chili Rub

  • 1 tsp ancho chili, ground
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1-1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp cumin


  • Mix the ancho chili, cumin, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the mixture on the chicken, making sure to get the rub underneath and on top of the skin.
  • Cook the chicken on a medium high grill using indirect heat for 25 to 35 minutes. The chicken should be placed on a cooler part of the grill and not over a flame. Flip the chicken every 8 to 10 minutes to ensure even cooking.
  • Once you’re ready, brush a layer of sauce on one side of the chicken, then flip the chicken sauce side down on a hot part of the grill and paint the other side with the sauce.
    Painting on the BBQ sauce
  • Let the chicken cook for a couple of minutes, then turn it over so the other side is sauce down still on a hot part of the grill.
  • The goal is to crisp everything up, while adding color and a layer of sauce to the chicken. Repeat until each side has been sauced and fired three times.
  • Take the chicken off the grill and let it rest for five minutes. Serve with the rest of BBQ sauce.
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Calories: 253kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 110mg | Sodium: 1251mg | Potassium: 254mg | Vitamin A: 415IU | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 0.9mg

The nutrition information shown is an estimate based on available ingredients and preparation.

Mark is an experienced food writer, recipe developer, and photographer who is also Umami’s publisher and CEO. A passionate cook who loves to cook for friends, he can often be found in the kitchen or by the grill testing new recipes.

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