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A spot-on sauce for turkey, pheasant, ruffed grouse, or chukar.

For those uninitiated to mole (pronounced mo-lay), the addition of cocoa powder to meat might be a head-scratcher. But trust me. Or, rather, trust Mexico. There, the sauce is a national dish, and particularly a point of pride for natives of the Oaxaca and Puebla regions.

My version isn’t traditional, but it is a good introduction to the flavors. The deep, rich chocolate, blended with a hit of sweet from the brown sugar, a bit of earthy cumin and the of warmth on the nose from the cinnamon does something magical when hit with fire from the coals. Here, I’ve used it on chicken quarters, but mole is a classic sauce for turkey, so feel free to try it on grilled breasts or any other white meat, including pheasants, ruffed grouse, or chukars.

Mexican Mole Grilling Rub

1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. cocoa powder
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. kosher salt
1-2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. olive oil

1. In a small bowl, mix together the dry ingredients until well blended. Stir in one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, then whisk in the olive oil to make a paste. Add more vinegar if necessary.
2. Brush a heavy layer of the paste onto chicken, turkey or other white meat. Refrigerate for up to four hours, then grill over a hot fire. Manage the fire carefully and move the meat to a cooler side of the grill to avoid flare-ups, which will burn the brown sugar and create a bitter taste.