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Updated: Jul 25
Easy to make traditional Latin “Pollo Al Carbón” marinated with Chimichurri Sauce and grilled to perfection!
If you are looking for a delectable and amazing grilled chicken recipe: look no more! This delicious and easy to make grilled chicken is infused in aromatics and develops a really deep flavors in less than 30 minutes! It is a favorite in Latin countries...specially on Sundays when people gather to be with family, friends, or to celebrate life.
"Pollo Al Carbón" translates to "Chicken Grilled Over Coals" and it is another great recipe that can be found in every country, island, and state from Mexico to all the way down to Patagonia! You can use charcoal (preferred method), a gas or an electric grill. Whatever you choice, I recommend you fire up the outdoors grill, take your shoes off, grab either one of the great drinks I have shared in the website, and enjoy a day outside! Click here for drinks.
Traditionally, this is served with a "Chimichurri" sauce of sorts. Each country has a different version of the sauce: some add more garlic, some are more acidic, some are more spicy. Whatever the version of the sauce they use, it is still delicious and compliments the chicken.
For this particular recipe I will use the Argentinian Chimichurri sauce with parsley, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, oil, vinegar, and lemon juice. Simple but effective while packing a lot of flavor!
French fries are the preferred side dish for this delicious chicken. Although, rice, salads, or plantains are also good sides dishes. The preference is cultural in nature and varies from country to country.
So...are you ready?
Let's make it!
Prep time 40 minutes
Cooking time 45 minutes (charcoal method)
Serves 4 people
A whole Chicken
1/2 cup of olive oil
4 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
2 cups of fresh parsley
3 tablespoons of dried oregano
10 garlic cloves (peeled)
2 lemons (juice of)
2 teaspoons of salt
2 teaspoons of pepper
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (optional)
Start by rinsing the chicken with cold water. Pat dry with a paper towel (Figure 1).
On a flat surface, place the chicken breast down and using kitchen sheers or a sharp knife, carefully cut the chicken in half alongside the backbone (Figure 2). Set aside.
In a food processor or blender, add the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, parsley, oregano, garlic, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper (optional). Blend well until it becomes a green "smoothie). That is your Chimichurri sauce. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust if necessary.
Divide the Chimichurri sauce into thirds. It is important you do this. One third will be divided into half and will be used for marinating the chicken. One third will be used to baste the chicken while cooking. And the last third will be served as a side dip with the final product.
Place each chicken half in a large ziploc bag. Pour the Chimichurri marinade that was divided in half into each bag: one half per bag. Close bag and massage the marinade into the chicken (Figure 3). Place the bags in the refrigerator and allow it to marinate for at least 30 minutes. Keep in mind the longer it marinates, the better the flavor. You could do this hours or days ahead if you wish to.
Heat up your grill as instructed by the manufacturer. If using charcoal (preferred method) make sure the charcoal is ready before grilling the chicken. The charcoal is ready when the flames have died out and all you can see is embers. If you cannot hold your hand about the grill for 3 to 5 seconds: your grill is ready. Make sure you have greased your grill. That will prevent the chicken from sticking to it.
Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and transfer to a plate/plater. Pour the marinade in the bags over the chicken (Figure 4).
Place the chicken on the hot grill with the breast facing up (Figure 5). Allow it to sear for 5 minutes before flipping the chicken. Once you flip the chicken, use the third of the marinade set aside for basting and with a brush, baste the chicken with it. You are going to repeat this process every time you flip the chicken..about every 5 minutes. This will ensure a consistent and even char on all sides (Figure 6 and 7).
After 45 minutes have passed, remove the chicken from the grill and let it rest for 10 minutes before serving. This will allow the chicken to remain moist inside.
Serve with a side of Chimichurri sauce and fries... and enjoy!!!
Printable PDF Recipe below: