2 ratings

Harissa Grilled Chicken

Adds some fun sauce to an ordinary chicken
Courtesy of Chicago Tribune

Homemade harissa sauce adds some fun to your grilling experience when you incorporate it with grilled chicken. 

This recipe is by JeanMarie Brownson and was originally published in the Chicago Tribune.

Ready in
55 m
15 m
(prepare time)
40 m
(cook time)
Calories Per Serving


For the chicken:

  • 1 1/2 Cup maple, cherry or apple wood chips for grilling
  • 3 to 4 Pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken parts such as thighs, breast halves, drumsticks, wings
  • 1 Cup harissa seasoning sauce and marinade, see recipe below
  • Chopped fresh cilantro, chives or a combination

For the Harissa seasoning sauce and marinade:

  • 2 medium-large red bell peppers
  • 1 large lemon
  • 1/4 Cup olive oil
  • 1/4 Cup ground mild, red New Mexico chile powder or gochugaru (or sweet paprika with 1/4 teaspoon cayenne)
  • 3 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 Tablespoons plain Greek yogurt, optional
  • 3 to 5 cloves garlic, peeled, crushed
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoon salt
  • 1 Teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 Teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 Teaspoon ground caraway seeds


For the chicken:

Put wood chips in a bowl of water; let soak several hours or overnight.

Place chicken pieces in a large bowl. Add the harissa seasoning sauce. Use clean hands to thoroughly coat all sides of the chicken pieces. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.

Prepare a charcoal grill and let coals burn until they are at medium heat and covered in gray ash (an oven thermometer will register 325 to 350 degrees). Or, heat a gas grill to medium-hot.

Drain wood chips and sprinkle over the hot coals. Or, set on a double thickness of foil on the grate over the gas burner. Cover the grill to heat the grill grates thoroughly.

Use tongs to arrange chicken, skin side down, in a single uncrowded layer on the grates. Cover grill; cook without turning, 20 minutes.

Gently loosen chicken and flip. Move pieces around as necessary to adjust for hot spots and so chicken cooks evenly without excess browning.

Cover the grill; cook until the juices run clear, 15 to 20 minutes.

Transfer to a serving platter. Sprinkle with herbs and serve.

For the Harissa seasoning sauce and marinade:

Put bell peppers directly over a gas burner (or 6 inches from the broiler element) and roast, turning often, until the skin blisters and blackens on all sides, about 10 minutes. Put peppers into a bowl; cover with a towel and let cool. Rub off the blackened skins; rinse the peppers. Discard the core and seeds. Roughly chop the peppers and put into a blender.

Use a rasp grater to zest the lemon into the blender. Cut the lemon in half; squeeze the lemon juice into the blender. Add remaining ingredients. Process until mixture is very smooth.

Transfer to a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Sauce keeps in the refrigerator at least 2 weeks.