With just a little bit of prep, and by using mostly pantry ingredients, Mexican Dry Rub Grilled Chicken Skewers are seasoned perfectly and are quite delicious! Use boneless, skinless chicken thighs to make this main super quick and easy. Also, control the spice level and don’t skip the spritz of fresh lime juice!
Mexican Dry Rub Grilled Chicken Skewers are packed with familiar and loved Mexican-inspired flavours. Super easy and fast to prepare, it’s the dry rub mixture that makes all the difference to the overall finished flavour of these chicken bites on a stick. There’s chili, cumin, garlic, and even cayenne pepper! A little spritz of fresh lime juice right over the top before digging in is the way to go – it just can’t be beat!
Make your own online recipe box!
Click the in the lower right corner of your screen
& follow the quick and easy instructions!
FOOD ON STICKS
If there’s one thing that I can never get enough of, it’s food on sticks. What is it about food on sticks that appeals so greatly to the masses? Think of any carnival or summer fair you’ve been too. Now, think about all of those line ups of hungry people at those brightly coloured food trucks. How many of those food trucks serve food on sticks?
Is it a cleanliness issue? Do we love food on sticks because it eliminates the need for us to get our hands dirty? I can certainly see the appeal at a fair or a festival. (We all know there’s so many germs on those rides!) Pulling food off of the stick with out teeth certainly helps to keep the germs on our hands from spreading to our food.
I think it goes a little deeper than that. Preparing food on sticks is primitive really. Many, many years ago, before the invention of skillets and grills, meat was mainly cooked on sticks over an open fire. In many cases. that skewered rabbit or chicken was passed around the fire and every family member took a bite to help fill their bellies.
But, we’ve come a long way since mankind needed to cook meat that way. So, why the appeal still? Personally, I think it has continued to maintain its popularity simply because it’s fun. I can remember being a kid and eating those battered hot dogs on a stick and dipping it into ketchup or mustard. It was such a change from the everyday fork and knife routine that I’m not sure if the battered hot dog was as good as it seemed at all or if it was just that it was on a stick!
METAL VS WOODEN SKEWERS
When it comes to thinking about preparing a main such as chicken, pork, tofu, or even seafood, grilling on skewers helps to lower the cooking time. If you use metal skewers, the metal gets hot and helps to cook the inside of the meat, while the outside chars – both of those things together helps to lock in moisture, which can easily escape down through the grill if you’re not careful.
I tend to use wooden skewers when cooking meat simply because I cannot seem to source any short metal skewers. I have metal skewers, but they’re quite long and I use them only when grilling vegetables. When grilling vegetables, it’s easy to remove them from the skewer and pile them into a serving bowl. They still look fine; they still have those lovely grill marks; and, of course, they taste great.
Meat, on the other hand, does not have the same appeal when you remove it from the skewer and serve it in a bowl. Leaving the meat on the skewer is a better look for grilled meat. For some reason – even though it still tastes great – it does not look so good when you remove it from the skewer. So, use shorter skewers and serve the meat just like that. Everyone loves to bite or pull the meat from a skewer.
If you’re preparing these Mexican Dry Rub Grilled Chicken Skewers on a grill pan on your stove top, you can probably skip the part in the recipe card below that tells you to soak the wooden skewers. These chicken skewers don’t take very long at all and will cook quite quickly, so there’s very little risk of a wooden skewer getting scorched or catching on fire.
Preparing these chicken skewers on an outdoor grill though might result in burned skewers. Be sure to soak them if that’s how you plan to grill the chicken. The reason is simple – chicken thighs have some fat on them and on an outdoor flame grill, that fat is going to melt down into the fire. The fire will shoot up and will burn your skewers. It just does not look as presentable with a black stick of charcoal sticking out of your chicken!
MAKE IT MILD OR SPICY
Before you get to the recipe, I wanted to mention that you can increase the heat level in this recipe to suit your personal tastes. To keep the flavour mild, I added only 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper. You certainly add more if you want more heat.
Do you have a question or comment?
Would you like to leave a review?
Scroll down to the comment section and write me a message.
I will personally respond as soon as possible!
INGREDIENTS NEEDED TO PREPARE THIS RECIPE
The following is a list of the ingredients needed to prepare this recipe. For exact amounts and measurements, refer to the printable recipe card located near the bottom of this post.
FOR THE DRY RUB:
- Sugar – You will need just a little bit of sugar to balance out the strength of the other ingredients in the rub. The sugar will also help with caramelization and charring.
- Chili Powder – Different brands of chili powder have different heat levels. Use one that you know and trust.
- Onion Powder
- Paprika – There are three types of paprika – sweet, smoked, and hot. For this recipe, use sweet or smoked.
- Garlic Powder – Use garlic powder and not granulated garlic. There’s a big difference in the taste!
- Cayenne Pepper – This is optional, but if you don’t mind a little bit of heat, you can always add more if you want. I like a bit, but not extreme.
FOR THE CHICKEN:
- Chicken – For best results, use boneless skinless chicken thighs. Lay the chicken flat and cut it into one inch pieces.
- Cooking Oil – Use a light tasting oil like vegetable, canola, or peanut oil.
HOW TO MAKE MEXICAN DRY RUB GRILLED CHICKEN SKEWERS
If you are using wooden skewers, place the skewers into a flat baking dish and cover with water. Allow the wooden skewers to soak while you prep the recipe. If you’re using metal skewers, you do not need to pre-soak. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, chili powder, cumin, onion powder, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and cayenne. Set aside.
In a larger bowl, add the chicken and the dry rub mixture. Toss well to coat. Rest the chicken in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Skewer the chicken pieces onto the skewers being careful not to place them on too tightly. Push the pieces together so that they are touching and flush with each other, but not tight.
While you are skewering the chicken, preheat an indoor grill pan or an outdoor grill to medium heat. Use a pastry brush to brush the grill with some of the cooking oil. Place the prepared chicken skewers onto the grill pan. Leave about half an inch between each skewer. Grill for 3-4 minutes per side. Once done, remove from the grill and garnish with chopped parsley. Serve immediately with lime wedges.
When it comes to my Mexican Dry Rub Grilled Chicken Skewers, you cannot go wrong with going all out with a fully inspired Mexican meal. I would suggest serving some cooling sides, like this Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad – especially if you increased the spice level with extra cayenne in the chicken dry rub! If you want something less carb laden, you could try my Mexican Corn and Black Bean Salad. It’s made with sour cream, so it will be nice and cooling as well.
Rice is good with just about anything, and, whenever I have chicken, I tend to want rice as well. You could most certainly go the plain route with some steamed white rice and just keep it simple, or you can try my Mexican One Pot Instant Rice. I love this stuff! It’s absolutely delicious!
Coleslaw is also quite good with spicy Mexican inspired chicken. Whenever I think of spicy chicken, I always think of coleslaw. Now, if you were to serve coleslaw with this chicken, I have a few options for you. You can keep up the spiciness with my Jalapeno Buttermilk Ranch Coleslaw, or you could go with a more mild option, like this Homestyle Cream Coleslaw. Either way, it’s going to be a very delicious meal!
Do You Like This Recipe?
You should consider trying these other delicious recipes too!
Mexican Dry Rub Grilled Chicken Skewers
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 10 whole boneless and skinless chicken thighs, cut into one inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- 1 whole lime, cut into eighths
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, for garnish (optional)
- If using wooden skewers, place the skewers into a flat baking dish and cover with water. Allow the wooden skewers to soak while you prep the recipe. If you’re using metal skewers, you do not need to pre-soak.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, chili powder, cumin, onion powder, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and cayenne. Set aside.
- In a larger bowl, add the chicken and the dry rub mixture. Toss well to coat. Rest the chicken in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Skewer the chicken pieces onto the skewers being careful not to place them on too tightly. Push the pieces together so that they are touching and flush with each other, but not tight.
- While you are skewering the chicken, preheat an indoor grill pan or an outdoor grill to medium heat. Use a pastry brush to brush the grill with some of the cooking oil.
- Place the prepared chicken skewers onto the grill pan. Leave about half an inch between each skewer.
- Grill for 3-4 minutes per side. Once done, remove from the grill and garnish. Serve immediately with lime wedges. Allow guest to spritz the desired amount of lime over their chicken skewers.
Did you make this recipe?
Upload a photo and tag me so that I can see it!