Now that the outdoor temperatures are dropping and fall is here, I’m trying to get in as much grilling as possible before I have to shovel a path through the snow to get to my grill. Here’s a very tasty Mexican-style grilled chicken recipe called Pollo al Carbon. Most of the work takes place while preparing the marinade for the chicken, which can be done well in advance of the actual grilling.
3 ½ to 4 lb. chicken, butterflied and backbone removed
2 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp ground cumin
½ cup olive oil
2 tsp kosher salt
6 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 oz. achiote paste (found in the Latin American section of grocery stores)
½ cup fresh lime juice
2 tsp Mexican oregano
½ cup fresh orange juice
1. In a small skillet or saucepan, heat the olive oil, salt, black pepper, oregano, cumin, achiote paste and garlic over medium-low heat. Cook for a few minutes, stirring, until mixture begins to bubble slightly. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
2. Add the orange juice and lime juice to the marinade and stir to mix well.
3. Rub the prepared paste/marinade all over the chicken and place it into a Ziploc-type freezer bag. Marinade the chicken in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and as long as overnight.
4. Preheat a grill to 400 degrees F. Remove the chicken from the marinade and set aside.
5. Grill the chicken, covered, until an instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees F. when inserted into the thickest part of the chicken. This should take 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of your chicken. Flip the chicken over every 15 minutes or so so it cooks evenly.
6. When finished cooking, allow the chicken to rest at room temperature for 10 minutes before carving and serving.
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Originally trained as an anthropologist, Ted Scheffler is a seasoned food, wine & travel writer based in Utah. He loves cooking, skiing, and spends an inordinate amount of time tending to his ever-growing herd of guitars and amplifiers.
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