Sonoran Style Grilled Chicken Drumsticks

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Sonoran Style Grilled Chicken
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Category: Taste of Tucson: Sonoran Style Recipes

Cuisine: Sonoran

Author: Jackie Alpers

Sonoran Style Grilled Chicken

There are Southwestern regional influences that vary from New Mexico to Arizona, Texas, and Southern California. Here in Tucson, our regional cuisine is defined by fresh veggies, grilled meats and all of the delicacies that a mid-sized, sunshine filled desert city/college town, 60 miles from Mexico, has to offer. It’s summertime eating all year round.

For my Tucson style grilled chicken I used sweet Hungarian smoked paprika mixed with hot New Mexico chili pepper, some ground unsweetened chocolate (inspired by molés), and a good California red wine blend.


For me, healthy chicken is based on happy chickens. Look for free range, organic chickens who were raised without added hormones.


  • 4 chicken legs
    For Marinade
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup good quality red wine (something you’d actually drink)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon ground hot New Mexico chili pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sweet smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened ground chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon oregano, preferably Mexican
  • 1 teaspoon taco seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon minced cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon course ground salt
  • 1 tablespoon onion flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    For Serving
  • Chopped cilantro, hot peppers, salsa.


  • Secure all of the marinade ingredients in a large re-sealable plastic bag along with the chicken. Massage the marinade into the chicken legs until well combined and coated. Marinate for at least 4-6 hours or overnight
  • Heat grill or grill pan to medium. Grill for 15-to 20 minutes per side, covered, until the juices run clean.
  • Serve with fresh cilantro, sliced hot peppers and your favorite salsa.