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Sunday BBQ: 16-Spice-Rubbed Chicken Breast

All too often, chicken breast isn't marinated and winds up tasting flavorless. Not in this recipe: Chicken gets a wake-up call with a rub that calls for 16 different spices, including ginger, allspice, and garlic. It's topped with a peppery vinegar sauce and served with green onion slaw. To fire up the grill and make this super flavorful chicken,


16-Spice-Rubbed Chicken Breast

16-Spice-Rubbed Chicken Breast

16-Spice-Rubbed Chicken Breast


  1. For Green Onion Slaw:
  2. 1 cup coarsely chopped green onions, white and green parts
  3. 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  4. 2 teaspoons honey
  5. 2 serrano chiles
  6. 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  7. 1/2 cup canola oil
  8. Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  9. 1 small head of purple cabbage, finely shredded
  10. 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  11. 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
  12. 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  1. For Chicken:
  2. 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
  3. 1 tablespoon pasilla chile powder
  4. 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  5. 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  6. 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  7. 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  8. 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  9. 2 teaspoons onion powder
  10. 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  11. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  12. 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  13. 1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
  14. Heaping 1/4 teaspoon chile de arbol
  15. Kosher salt
  16. 2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
  17. Heaping 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  18. 4 (8-ounce) boneless chicken breasts, skin on
  19. 1/4 cup canola oil
  20. Black Pepper Vinegar Sauce (recipe follows)
  1. For Black Pepper Vinegar Sauce:
  2. 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  3. 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  4. 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  5. 2 teaspoons honey
  6. 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  7. 3/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper


  1. Black pepper vinegar sauce: In a blender, combine the vinegar, oil, mustard, honey, salt and pepper, and blend until smooth. The sauce can be made 1 day in advance, covered and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before serving.
  2. Green onion slaw: To make the dressing, combine the green onions, vinegar, honey, chiles, mayonnaise, oil and salt and pepper to taste in a blender and blend until emulsified. Combine the cabbage, red onion and poppy seeds in a bowl, add the dressing, and stir until combined. Fold in the cilantro and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate while you grill the chicken or for up to 1 hour.
  3. Grilled chicken: Heat grill to high. Stir together the ancho powder, pasilla powder, cumin, coriander, ginger, brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, allspice, cinnamon, cloves, fennel, chile de arbol, 2 tablespoons salt, black pepper and cayenne in a small bowl.
  4. Brush both sides of the breasts with the oil and season with salt. Rub the top side of each breast with a few tablespoons of the rub and place on the grill, rub side down. Grill until golden brown and slightly charred, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the breasts over and continue grilling until just cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes longer.
  5. Remove the chicken from the grill and drizzle with the black pepper vinegar sauce. Tent loosely with foil and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve the slaw on the side.

Serves 4.

Join The Conversation
tigr3bianca tigr3bianca 9 years
You can reduce about 4 spices from the list by having Chinese 5 Spice powder. It includes the cloves, cinnamon, allspice and ginger. But I do agree that so many spices maybe overwhelming to prepare and for taste. I think the Black pepper vinagrette is enough to flavor the chicken. But thats just me.
CoconutPie CoconutPie 9 years
That sounds sooo good!
JaeB JaeB 9 years
Wow, I'm glad it requires so much. Otherwise, that would make it even harder for me to stay a vegetarian. I try, I really do.... Show me some more veggie dishes, please?
shoneyjoe shoneyjoe 9 years
I don't have room in my kitchen for 16 different canisters of spices in my kitchen! I'd very much like to make do with significantly fewer ingredients. Bobby "15-sous-chefs-and-a-giant-kitchen" Flay may have space: I really don't.
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