Cooking With My Cook Books – Darren Robertson’s Cheat’s Smoked Chicken with Cumin and Coffee

This will be my last recipe in the Cooking With My Cook Book series. You can click here to see all of the recipes in this series.

It’s my last recipe for the series, so I’m changing it up a little and I’m actually cooking a recipe of Darren Robertson’s from my new favourite cooking magazine, magazine.

I subscribe to a digital copy of magazine, so I don’t have any pictures of the physical magazine for you like I usually do with this series. I have a post here explaining how I subscribe to my favourite Australian magazines while living in Singapore. I love the quirky style of the magazine. There is lots of text on photos which is something I’ve come to love from food blogs and the food photography is amazing.

This cheat’s smoked chicken recipe is from the October issue and I changed it a little but all credit goes to Darren Roberston. It cheats a smoky BBQ flavour, by using coffee and smoked salt. Key said that this was some of the best flavoured chicken that he has ever had. Win!


I made this in the early afternoon so that it would have enough time to marinade. You could definitely marinate it in the morning as well if that’s more practical for you though. A longer marinate will not hurt at all.


smoked sea salt

Smoked salt is pretty easy to come by these days. I know that Maldon also has a version which I’ve seen in supermarkets in both Canberra and Singapore.



The original recipe had a smaller amount of lime zest in it, but I put the zest from a whole lime into it. A half zested lime seems like a bit of a waste to me.



Grind the spice mix in the mortar and pestle until the cumin is mostly broken up and everything combines well.



Marinating in these resealable plastic bags is so easy. You can kind of rub and massage the marinating meat through the plastic and then when you’re done, you can just throw it in the bin.



I used a lightly greased ovenproof dish to roast the chicken, but a lined baking tray would work fine as well.


cheat's smoked chicken

Crispy skin, juicy meat and an intense smoky flavour.


Darren Robertson’s Cheat’s Smoked Chicken with Cumin and Coffee

Ingredients – Serves 3-4

  • 2 chicken marylands with the skin on (about 580g in total)
  • 3 chicken drumsticks with the skin on (about 400g in total)
  • 1 tsp of cumin seeds
  • 3 tsp of brown sugar
  • 2 tsp of smoked salt
  • 1 tsp of ground coffee beans
  • 1 tsp of dried garlic
  • 1 tsp of smoked paprika
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 2 tbs of light soy sauce



  1. Place the chicken into a large, sealable plastic bag.
  2. Heat a frying pan over medium heat and toast the cumin seeds until they are fragrant. This should take around 1 minute.
  3. In a mortar and pestle, grind the toasted cumin seeds, sugar, coffee, salt, garlic, paprika and zest until most of the cumin is broken up and it’s all well combined.
  4. Stir the soy sauce into the spice mix and then pour it over the chicken in the bag. Seal the bag, removing excess air and then rub the marinade all over the chicken.
  5. Marinate in the fridge for 4 hours, turning and massaging the bag occasionally.
  6. With half an hour of marinating time left, remove the chicken from the fridge and let it sit in the plastic bag at room temperature.
  7. Preheat the oven to 220°C and lightly grease an ovenproof dish with olive oil.
  8. Place the chicken into the dish, skin side up in a single layer. Roast for 15 minutes in the 220°C oven. After 15 minutes, reduce the heat to 180°C and roast for another 15 minutes for a total 30 minute cooking time.
  9. Rest for about 7 minutes before serving with a crunchy green salad.


smoked chicken



Like The Wooden Spoons on Facebook

Subscribe by Mail

Follow on bloglovin


Hi! I’m Taryn. The Wooden Spoons is a food blog and collection of wooden spoons, recipes and stories. I’m a Canberra fan-girl with a passion for all things food. I love South East Asian food, fusion food done well and slow cooked anything. I don’t get quinoa, have a mild phobia of milk touching my skin and custard from a package freaks me out. Thanks for joining me on my cooking and food adventures.
  1. C-John Reply

    This looks delicious! We have been loving baked chicken lately, including your slow cooked crispy skin chicken which your bro made :) Not sure if he’s mentioned the number of your other recipes we’ve tried, the list has grown in the past week and at the moment looks like this:
    – Sesame soba noodle bowl
    – Eggy breakfast muffins
    – Salted chocolate two ways (and I made it both ways!)
    – Roast chicken with green olives, almonds, and oregano (because we love Karen!)
    – Spicy pork mince salad with thai basil and nuoc cham (unfortunately could not find thai basil, obviously too exotic for Hobart)
    – Spiced chickpeas with spinach and haloumi
    So just quickly, thanks for blogging, we’ve been loving it and can’t wait to see you both in only a couple of weeks! :)

    • Taryn Reply

      So glad you have been cooking so many recipes, it gives me the warm and fuzzies :) Can’t wait to see you guys, not long now!

Leave a Comment


captcha *