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Chicken Pinchos with Pineapple-Guava Barbecue Sauce

Cook Time:
15 mins
Prep Time:
20 mins

Chef notes

These savory marinated skewers, known as pinchos, are a Puerto Rican staple. In Puerto Rico, pinchos are traditionally cooked over wood fires and sold at roadside stands throughout the island, or made by home cooks for family and friends on their backyard grills. They’re also a popular menu item at most fast food and casual barbecue restaurants. Pinchos are typically made from juicy chicken thighs or cuts of fatty pork (but also mushroom or seafood) without any additional vegetables added to the skewer. The protein is tenderized with a marinade of herbs, spices, citrus and aromatics, then basted with spicy sweet barbecue sauces made from local tropical fruits like guava, tamarind, and pineapple. The name pinchos comes from the Spanish word pinchar, which means to puncture, and originated in the Basque country of northern Spain, where pinxto is the name for small tapas-like snacks, which are often served with toothpicks.

Technique Tip: Sazón with Coriander and Annatto is a spice blend that is a staple of Puerto Rican cuisine. It contains a mix of spices including salt, cumin, coriander, oregano, garlic, black pepper and annatto (also known as achiote). You can make a DIY version if you prefer by combining these spices, or can buy the pre-made version online or your favorite grocery store. 

Soak the skewers in water for 6 hours before using

Storage Tip: The guava/pineapple barbecue sauce can be stored in a covered jar in the fridge for up to a week.

Swap Option: Substitute a French baguette or a loaf of soft-crust Italian bread in place of the Puerto Rican pan sobao or Cuban bread.

Get Ingredients: If you don’t have everything you need on hand, you can easily purchase all of the ingredients (just click the orange button below that says ‘Get Ingredients’). You can pick and choose exactly what ingredients you need based on what’s in your pantry and they’ll be on your doorstep before you know it.


For the Chicken and Marinade
  • 3 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 5 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • teaspoons sazon with coriander and Annatto seasoning
For the Pineapple-Guava Barbecue Sauce
  • cups pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 14 ounces guava paste, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon smoked spanish paprika
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, finely minced
  • 1 small bunch cilantro leaves, finely minced (about 1/4 cup)
  • 5 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 scotch bonnet or habanero pepper, finely minced (optional)
For the Skewers
  • wood skewers soaked in water, at least 6 hours
  • vegetable oil, for brushing
  • 1 cup pineapple-guava barbecue sauce (see above)
  • 1 loaf Puerto Rican pan sobao or Cuban bread, cut on the bias into 1½-inch thick slices
  • lime wedges, for serving
Fulfilled by



Marinate the chicken: Place the cut chicken into a gallon-sized zipped bag. Add the oil, orange juice, lime juice, grated garlic, salt, oregano, black pepper and Sazón. Seal the bag and massage the marinade into the meat. Place the bag into a bowl and chill for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.


Make your sauce: Combine all the ingredients in a heavy-bottom saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally until the guava paste is fully melted, all the ingredients are smooth and the sauce is thick enough to fully coat the back of a spoon, but still pourable (about 15 to 20 minutes). Remove from heat let cool.


When ready to cook, preheat the grill to 450 F or heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush with vegetable oil.


Thread the marinated chicken pieces onto the prepared skewers, allowing 2 inches at the bottom for holding and 1 inches at the top for the bread.


Grill the skewers for 3 to 5 minutes on one side then flip, and grill for another 3 to 5 minutes. Baste the skewers on all sides with the barbecue sauce, and grill for another 3 minutes. Flip and baste again with the bbq sauce for another 2 minutes. The sauce should char slightly and the chicken should be fully cooked through.


Serve the skewers immediately with a slice of bread pierced on the end, additional sauce for dipping and lime wedges.