Carlos' Pollo a la Brasa

This recipe comes by way of our good friend Carlos. His recipe is so good you might want to be careful that is not your arm you are eating after you chowed your bird. The lime in the recipe really offers a different dynamic. We love it and hope you do too. Say a little Holy Pollo prayer of thanks to Carlos for coming through for us on this one. Let us know what you think. After making this recipe a few times, you may want to improvise the marinade paste to 'make it your own'. Please experiment and let us know how it goes. Remember one thing: this is supposed to be a paste, so keep you liquids to a minimum. In our Substitutions section, we offer some tips on how to achieve the best results from even the humble oven. In this section we also offer alternatives to other hard to come by ingredients



  • 1 (2 1/2 to 3 1/2 pound) broiler-fryer chicken
  • 2 tablespoons huacatay (many substitues - check substitutions)
  • 1/2 tablespoon rosemary
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon mexican oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons Ground Achiote(Annato) (substitute Paprika)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste
  • 1/2 tablespoon aji (either fresh or minced fresh - check substitutions)
  • lime juice from 3 limes
  • 2 tablespoons garlic paste (about 3 garlic cloves grated)
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup beer (any ale will do)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Oil for the grill


  • Upright or Immersion Blender (or mortar and pestle)
  • Grill with rotisserie or a grill setup for indirect grilling
  • Chef's Knives
  • Grill Utensils
  • Spray water bottle for flare-ups
  • Cutting Board
  • Meat Thermometer


    Carlos' Pollo a la Brasa

  1. Step 1

    Rinse chicken well inside out, pat dry, cut off excess fat, tuck the wings

  2. Step 2

    Combine the reaiming ingredients in an upright mixer (or in a bowl if using an Immersion blender)

  3. Step 3

    Pulse mixture until you have a paste. If necessary, thin the mixture with water or more lemon juice.

    Step 4

    Taste it. Add more lime juice and salt accordingly.

  4. Step 5

    Rub the chicken with mixture inside and out, making sure you covered all parts of the chickens. Flavoring cannot naturally penetrate chicken skin. Where ever possible, it is important to seperate the skin and apply the paste directly to the meat.

  5. Step 6

    Seal them up in a large zip-top bag (or in a large bowl covered in plastic wrap) and put them in the fridge for 6-24 hours.

  6. Step 7

    Prepare your Grill. We of course like to use wood char rather than gas, but use what you have. In our "Alternative Methods" section, we even explore Deep Fried Pollo. But for now, we'll stick to the Brasa bro. If you lack a Grill Rotisserie, you will need to setup your grill for indirect grilling*. Be careful not to 'smoke' the chicken. We are not here to smoke anything. The best Pollo a la Brasa has a slight charcoal flavor but NOT a smokey flavor.
    *See tips below

  7. Step 8

    Maintain the pollo and the fire. It will take in a semi-open grill about 1 hour to 1 1/4 of an hour at medium heat (180 - 200 degrees F.) on an open Grill will take a little longer and temperature must be between 200 - 240 degrees F. Chicken should be about 12 inches away from fire at least. Much of this depends on your grill and your personal experience, so feel free to experiment. If you are using a rotiserrie, you may want to have the coals closer. Remove the bird from the Grill and place on a large cutting board when it has reached an internal temperature slightly over 170 degrees*.
    *See tips below

  8. Step 9

    When the bird has sat for 10 minutes, quarter the bird with a butcher knife and serve with the condiments, maybe some french fries, and who knows...maybe a salad.
    See our post on quatering chicken here

    • If you lack a grill rotisserie, the "Beer Can" method of grilling chicken works great in a pinch. For details on the Beer Can method, see our post here.
    • Because your bird has been thoroughly tenderized, it can withstand the high internal temperature. It is necessary to reach this high internal temperature in order to achive Pollo Perfection.
    • If you don't have fresh Huacatay or any Huacatay at all, fret not. Run to Latin market and you will likely be in luck. If you don't have one of those either...don't worry about it. If you have a garden or grocery store near-by, you may be in business: pulverize fresh mint with corriander and a little basil.
      Alternativly, if you are so inclined, grow the stuff. Its easy and grows like a weed, Check out our post on Huacatay.