tequila, lime & honey chicken

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Tequila, lime & honey chicken

I have been dying to do a tequila & lime chicken recipe for ages, so when Leonista dropped off samples of their 100% Karoo Agave spirit (aka Mezcal tequila) for me to try, I knew this is what I would make with it.

Most recipes seem to use blanco tequila, but the Leonista honey reposado piqued my interest. I love the oaky smoked flavour of reposado and I thought the honey infusion would be perfect with the chicken & lime. I added jalapeno and more honey to the mix to give this recipe the finger-licking stickiness I wanted. It was delicious.

Leonista tequila for the best tequila, lime & honey chicken

I love the Maryland chicken cut which is the drumstick and thigh joined, and thank goodness this is now readily available at Woolies. In the past, I would have to joint 2 birds to get 4 of these cuts for a recipe, which was annoying. I prefer darker chicken meat. Slashing the flesh to the bone opens it up for the flavour to seep in and I let it marinate overnight in the fridge.

When you roast this, make sure the chicken pieces fit snugly into the roasting tray because you don’t want too much of the liquid to evapourate. The marinade becomes sticky on the bottom of the pan, so add a tablespoon or two of water at the end to loosen this delectable nectar.

This post is not sponsored but Leonista gave me a bottle of each of their 100% Agave Spirit to try. They are the first South African producer to make it in the traditional Mexican way of making Mezcal so I was super enthusiastic to try it and support it. I love tequila and Mezcal and found the honey reposado and reposado smooth and delicious. 

I shot this recipe on my new grey slab from WOMAG which is the only place you want to go to if you ever want to buy marble in South Africa. I’m rather obsessed with marble as a natural texture in my food styling and have two slabs from them. One is my Italian Bianco Carrera slab which has transformed my kitchen into something reminiscent of a Tuscan farm kitchen, and the slab in my studio which has more of a Parisienne grey vein. 

Tequila, lime & honey roast chicken

Recipe – serves 2 – 4 depending on how hungry and how  many side dishes

Tequila, lime & honey chicken

A delicious recipe for chicken roasted in a marinade of tequila, lime and honey
Print Recipe
Tequila, lime & honey chicken


  • 4 Maryland chicken cuts


  • 2 limes – zest and juice
  • 4 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 jalapeno chili deseeded and sliced
  • 80 ml tequila reposado for smokiness
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • a few sprigs of coriander/cilantro about 6

Finishing drizzle

  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • Garnish with fresh coriander and extra lime wedges


  • Cut a few slashes in the chicken down to the bone and season well with salt & pepper.
  • In a small bowl mix all the marinade ingredients together. Put the seasoned and slashed chicken into a large Ziploc bag and pour over the marinade ingredients. Rest this lying flat in a dish or on a plate in the fridge overnight.
  • The next day, remove the chicken from the fridge an hour before you roast to bring it to room temp and preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Place the chicken pieces skin side up in a roasting dish making sure they fit quite snugly. Cover the entire surface with a piece of dampened baking paper. This acts as a cartouche to prevent too much liquid evaporating and the chicken from over-browning.
  • Roast for 1 hour.
  • Remove the chicken from the oven and mix the remaining lime and honey together. Drizzle this over the chicken and return it to the oven to roast for a further 10 – 15 minutes – uncovered or uncovered for 5 minutes and covered for the remaining time.
  • My chicken was actually nice and brown so to prevent it from browning too much (I’m a food stylist so fanatical about this) I roasted it for 5 minutes uncovered and then covered it for another 5 – 10.
  • Remove the chicken and place it on a serving platter. Add a couple of tablespoons of water to the pan and scrape the bottom to release the sticky juices. Pour this all over the chicken.
  • Serve with fresh coriander sprigs and wedges of lime.
Author: Sam Linselll

You might also like my One-pot chicken and rice pilaf with orange & spices

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