Green Chile Chicken Under Bricks

Mexicans keep chicken breasts moist by grilling them under stones. Here’s a New Mexican version, redolent with garlic, cilantro, and lime.


Green Chile Chicken Under Bricks

Recipe Notes

  • Advance Prep: 30 minutes to 1 hour for marinating the chicken
  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Method: Direct Grilling
  • Equipment: 2 bricks, wrapped in aluminum foil (shiny side out)


  • 2 whole skinless, boneless chicken breasts (each 12 to 16 ounces), or 4 half breasts (each half 6 to 8 ounces)
  • Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and cracked or freshly ground black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 New Mexico green chile, or 2 to 4 serrano or jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped (for hotter chicken, leave the seeds in)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus 4 cilantro sprigs for garnish
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice, plus 4 lime wedges for serving
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Recipe Steps

Step 1: If using whole chicken breasts, cut each in half. Trim any sinews or excess fat off the breasts and discard. Rinse the breasts under cold running water, then drain and blot dry with paper towels. Place the breasts in a non-reactive baking dish.

Step 2: Generously season the breasts on both sides with salt, pepper, and the cumin seeds. Sprinkle both sides of the breasts with the garlic, chile, and chopped cilantro. Pour the lime juice and olive oil over the chicken breasts, turning to coat both sides. Let the chicken marinate in the refrigerator, covered, for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Step 3: Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat to high.

Step 4: When ready to cook, brush and oil the grill grate. Arrange the breasts on the hot grate, placing them on a diagonal to the bars. Pour any remaining marinade over them. Place one brick on top of each two breast halves. Grill the breasts for 2 minutes, then rotate them a quarter turn to create an attractive Crosshatch of grill marks, if desired. Continue grilling the breasts on that side for 2 minutes longer. Turn the breasts over, place the bricks on top, and grill until cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes longer, again rotating them after 2 minutes to create a Crosshatch of grill marks, if desired. The total cooking time will be 8 to 10 minutes. To test for doneness, poke a breast in the thickest part with your finger; it should feel firm to the touch. Transfer the grilled chickento a platter or plates. Garnish with the cilantro sprigs and serve with the lime wedges.

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