Saudi Baharat BBQ Chicken

As I noted in the Great Jerky Experiment – Round 5, I’m in love with Saudi Baharat.  It’s along the same lines as Ras el hanout (another favourite of mine) but it’s nowhere near as hot (although spice blends can vary drastically so maybe its just the one I’ve been buying that has extra kick).  It has a lot of spice, in the ‘there are lots of spices in this’ sense but it lacks a chilli punch, which I find makes it a much better companion to lighter meat such as chicken, or vegetarian dishes such as zucchini tagine.

The following recipe is so easy that I feel a little silly even typing it up, but the end result has such a spectacular flavour that I feel compelled to share it anyway.


  • 500-600g chicken thighs (I use boneless, if using with bone in, cooking time will be greater)
  • 2-3 dessert spoons Saudi Baharat. A blend of pepper, coriander, paprika, cumin, ginger, clove, cassia, chilli, cardamom and nutmeg banda
  • 2-3 dessert spoons of olive oil (or thereabouts – I don’t really measure, I just pour)
  • 2-3 palm fulls of flaked salt.  You can also use ground salt but you wont need anywhere near as much.  I prefer flaked salt as it’s delicate and melts in your mouth and while it can be expensive you only need to use it for ‘special’ dishes and I reckon on BBQ it’s magnificent).
  • Squeeze of lemon juice if you feel like it


Place chicken thighs in glass or other non-reactive dish.  Sprinkle Saudi Baharat over chicken, ensuring even coverage on both sides.  I generally don’t measure the spice, I just use enough so that the chicken has a fine layer over all surfaces.  Add olive (and lemon if using) and mix to ensure even coverage over the chicken (just enough to lightly coat the chicken, it doesn’t need to bathe in it).  Add the salt a handful at a time, turning the chicken over to ensure fairly even coverage.

Cover and allow to marinate for at least an hour.  If using within 60-90 mins, I usually leave it on the bench so the chicken is at room temp before I cook it.  If using it later than this, marinate in the refrigerator.

BBQ temperatures vary … i use a little Weber baby Q and set it to the ‘middle’ on the temp dial – I’d call it a medium to high temperature, but this is a little bbq – a larger bbq is likely to kick out a lot more heat.  I pre-heat the grill for about 5-10 minutes before putting on the meat.  My bbq holds up to 6 thighs quite nicely so the amount I specified above fits perfectly.

Place meat (if it has skin, skin side down first – sadly I can’t get organic thighs with skin on) onto the bbq grill plate and close the lid.  Leave for 6 minutes (I like to set a timer, and I’m not allowed to open the cover until the timer has gone off, otherwise I fiddle/poke at the meat and let all the heat out).  Once the timer has gone off, open the cover, flip the meat, close cover, and set timer for another 6 minutes.

Once your timer has gone off for the second time, open cover, remove meat from grill and place in a warm spot to ‘rest’ for at least 5 minutes.

Your chicken should be tender, juicy and absolutely delicious. Serve with Broccoli and Kale ‘slaw.