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Obama's Favorite Grilled Chicken Tacos

Chef Rick Bayless prepared these for the White House State Dinner with Mexico.

Obama's Favorite Grilled Chicken Tacos Photo
Yield: Serves 4


  • 12 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 6 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 big pinch ground cloves
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • Salt
  • 1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 2 bunches knob onions or large green onions
  • vegetable oil or olive oil
  • 12 corn tortillas, warm
  • lime wedges
  • 1 cup tomatillo salsa


  1. In a small skillet over medium heat, cook the garlic until soft, about 10 to 15 minutes. When cool, peel and place in a food processor or blender along with oil, vinegar, pepper, cinnamon, cloves, oregano and 3/4 tsp. salt. Process until smooth.

  2. Lay the chicken in a Pyrex or non-aluminum baking dish. Cover with half of the marinade and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 6 hours.

  3. Heat a gas grill to medium-high or light a charcoal fire and let it burn until the coals are covered with gray ash and still very hot.

  4. Brush or spray onions with oil and sprinkle with salt to taste. Lay the onions on the cooler side of the grill, bulbous ends toward the heat. When the onions start to soften and turn golden (about 10 minutes), flip them and cook other side. Remove onions and chop into 2-in. pieces.

  5. Brush or spray oil over both sides of the chicken and lay over the hottest part of the grill. Grill for 6 to 8 minutes per side, turning once. Remove and cut widthwise into thin strips.

  6. Fill tortillas with chicken and onions. Garnish with lime wedges and salsa.

Source: Chef Rick Bayless via People Magazine

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(Page 1 of 1, 4 total comments)


Marinade that HAS NOT had the raw chicken in it can certainly be used to baste during cooking, pour over cooked chicken, or frozen for later.

Any marinade that has had raw chicken in it should disposed of to prevent illness.

posted Aug 11th, 2011 11:15 am


I was confused as to how the unpeeled garlic was to be prepared. Should I add oil to the pan or water? I was unfamiliar with this technique. I added water to the pan and simmered the garlic until soft. I then squeezed the cooked garlic out of the peel. As for the quantity of oil I matched the quantity of vinegar. It seemed correct in proprotion.

posted Aug 21st, 2010 1:43 pm


I too wish the amount of oil were included. I used 1/4 cup. Looking at the photo in People Magazine - the remaining marinade appears to be used as a sauce of sorts on the chicken when served.

posted Jun 7th, 2010 11:27 am


I made this and it was good; however, I would have liked to have a quantity on the oil (to add to the marinade). Also, there was no instruction on what to do with the other 1/2 of the marinade (I used it to baste).

posted Jun 4th, 2010 5:24 pm


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