How is it already almost the end of June?! I am still amazed how fast this year is going. Of course everyone is here for food and I am so excited to share this great dish with you all. As a bit of background of where this recipe came from: my husband works at a charter school in a Latin-American neighborhood, and over the years we have developed a taste for the region’s cuisine. From marinated carne asada to whole fried fish and pupusas, we’ve really expanded our palates! On a whim a few weeks ago, my husband was at a small local grocery store near his school to pick up some last-minute supplies, and bought some sazon and adobo on a whim. As luck would have it, our latest issue of Cook’s Illustrated arrived in the mail that day, with a promising recipe for “Nuyorican” grilled chicken that called for these classic Latin-American seasonings. We paired tonight’s dinner with rose and mixed salad.

I really enjoyed our dinner tonight and hope you enjoyed reading about it!


Adobo and Sazón


  • 4 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2½ teaspoons commercial sazón
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 (4- to 4½-pound) whole chicken, giblets discarded or 4 pounds of chicken thighs
  • 5 tablespoons distilled white vinegar, divided
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon table salt
  • 1 (13 by 9-inch) disposable aluminum roasting pan
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • ½ teaspoon pepper


Step 1  

FOR THE ADOBO AND SAZÓN: Combine all ingredients in bowl.

Step 2 

FOR Whole Chicken: Place chicken breast side down on cutting board. Using kitchen shears, cut through bones on either side of backbone. Reserve backbone. Using chef’s knife, cut through breastbone to split chicken in half.

Working with 1 half of chicken, slice through skin connecting leg quarter to breast, cutting close to leg quarter to ensure skin completely covers breast and rib meat. Leave split breast whole and tuck wing behind back. Flip leg quarter and remove and discard any rib bone connected to the thigh bone. Repeat with second half of chicken.

Place 1 leg quarter skin side up on cutting board. Using sharp knife, make 3 slashes: 1 across thigh, 1 across joint, and 1 across drumstick (each slash should reach bone). Flip leg quarter and make 1 more diagonal slash across back of drumstick. Repeat with second leg quarter.

For Chicken Thighs: Slash through the skin, down to the bone, in 1-2 places on each thigh. Proceed to step 3.

Step 3  

Toss chicken (including backbone if using whole chicken) with 1 tablespoon vinegar and 1 tablespoon oil in large bowl, using your hands to loosen skin from meat. Sprinkle adobo-sazón mixture over chicken pieces. Toss with your hands, rubbing mixture all over chicken, into slashes, and under skin. Cover and refrigerate chicken for at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours. (We did 8-10 hours of marinating)

Step 4  

Ready To Cook: Preheat Traeger to 500 degrees.

While grill heats, place garlic on cutting board and sprinkle with salt. Mash to paste with side of knife. (This can also be done using mortar and pestle or crushing garlic into cup and sprinkling salt.) Transfer garlic paste to disposable pan. Add cilantro, pepper, remaining ¼ cup vinegar, and remaining ¼ cup oil and mix to form paste. Cook on the stove (very low heat) for about 15-20 minutes. The idea is just to get the sauce simmering and then back off. You want to cook it just enough to take some of the harshness out of the garlic.

Step 5  

Clean and oil cooking grate. Place chicken, skin side down, on the grill. After 5-6 minutes, rotate chicken thighs 90 degrees (to create crosshatch grill marks) and cook for another 5-6 minutes. Flip thighs and cook for another 5-10 minutes, checking temp regularly, until internal temps reach about 180-190 degrees.

Remove disposable pan and place cooked chicken on top of sauce. Serve with rice & beans, salad or sides of your choice.

We hope you enjoyed our latest blog post. Please leave comments and likes! We would love to hear if you tried any of the recipes and anything you learned along the away.

5 thoughts on “Grilled Chicken with Adobo and Sazón

    1. I would make a hot, two zone fire. Crank a few of your burners up full blast, leave 1-2 of them off. This way, you can char them to a nice crispy crust over the high heat, and move them to the indirect side to get the inside temps up to 180 or so without continuing to burn the outside.

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