Pollo a la Brasa
Are you looking to feed a family of four, with leftovers for the week? Or are you in need of a hearty meal to entertain a group of friends? This recipe for pollo a la brasa, also known as Peruvian grilled chicken, blackened chicken, or rotisserie chicken in the U.S. and charcoal chicken in Australia, is a perfect solution for your next dinner gathering. Now you can make it at home and it’s so simple.
Full of flavor and history (the dish originated in the city of Lima, Peru in the 1950s), this recipe calls for a full chicken and will feed a party of eight. The key to great pollo a la brasa is the actual cooking method. And with multiple ways to cook this chicken (see below), from grilling to roasting, you can choose your preparation option dependent on your time schedule, the weather, your mood, or the guests you are entertaining. A perfect recipe for any one, any time!
Pollo a la brasa is typically served with a creamy, mayonnaise-based sauce, but I served mine with a chile honey glaze made with homemade red chile sauce. This sauce makes a perfect base for the chicken and adds just the right amount of spice. However, if you’re short on time – canned enchilada sauce will work just fine.
Normally served in restaurants with a side of french fries this dish can be accompanied with other side dishes to include a small salad, quinoa, black beans and rice, or crispy spicy tostones and you can’t forget the cebollitas.
The ultimate secret to this recipe is the wet rub mixture that the chicken cooks in. The seasonings are few but they definitely bring the entire dish together.
No need to marinade the chicken for hours, this simple marinade will tenderize the meat and absorb all the delicious flavors.
The skin will crisp, the meat will stay tender and juicy, and it’s a beautiful centerpiece. And with the leftovers, you can make a few extra meals, with minimal work.
Pollo a la Brasa (Oven Roasted Peruvian Chicken)
- Tuck the wing tips under the chicken body. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine.
- In a bowl combine red chile sauce, pepper, oregano, and honey.
- Rub about 1 cup of the mixture all over the chicken (reserve the rest for the sauce at the end).
- Using your fingers, carefully loosen the skin from the breast and legs and massage the mixture under the skin.
- Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with paprika to get a reddish color and crispy crust. Roast or grill chicken according to directions below.
- Add the remaining sauce to the saucepan and stir until well combined. Boil over high heat until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Transfer the chicken to a carving board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Carve the chicken and serve with the chile honey glaze alongside.
- Place the chicken upright, with the legs pointing down, on the roasting rack of an electric rotisserie according to the manufacturer's instructions. Set the roasting rack inside the drip tray, and then transfer to the rotisserie. Roast at 400 degrees F. according to the manufacturer's instructions, about 55 minutes.
- Set up grill for indirect grilling. Clean and lightly oil hot grates.
- Place chicken, breast side up, on opposite side of grill from heat. Cover and grill until cooked, about 1 1/2 hours, rotating halfway through cooking (if using a charcoal grill, add a couple of handfuls of charcoal every half hour to maintain heat).
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Place chicken breast-side up in a roasting pan or large ovenproof skillet.
- Roast the chicken for 45 minutes uncovered. Tent lightly with aluminum foil and bake for an additional 45 minutes until it has finished cooking.
- To test for doneness, insert into the thickest part of the breast, away from the bone, registers 160 degrees F. and the thigh registers 170 degrees F.
Recipe developed for Las Palmas Sauces. Opinions are my own.
Photos by Jeanine Thurston