Sunday Grilling: Pollo Asado al Carbon

I’m going to try something different for a change. I’m going to document some of my Sunday grilling experiments. Tonight’s experiment was a Puerto Penasco style Pollo Asado al Carbon. For the uninitiated, pollo asado is roasted chicken, and the al carbon means that it is grilled. I adapted a recipe from here. My variations were mainly to increase the marinade to account for roasting two chickens and to provide an ass-load of marinade to baste with during roasting, and to replace the orange juice with lemon juice.


6 Tbsps. ancho chilie powder

4 tsp. dried oregano

4 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. ground cloves

1 tsp ground cinnamon

As many garlic cloves as you can handle, minced.

12 Tbsps. cider or wine vinegar

1 cup lemon juice

1 cup lime juice

Mix the ingredients in a bowl. It isn’t rocket surgery.


2 large roasting or frying chickens (duh)

Clean up the fowl. You can part them out, but it’s more fun to roast the whole damned things. Use kitchen shears to remove the spine, flip those bastards over and snap their breastbones so they lay flat. Find something to contain your little salmonella factories and douse them with about half of the marinade. Let those fuckers rest (in the fridge moron) for an hour or so.

Now it’s time for the grillification. The key to this operation is indirect heat. If your all purist and shit and using charcoal, then you’ll want to get your coals started, then shove those fuckers out of the center. Now me, I’m a propane man myself, so I just fired the two outer burners on my grill up and set them on medium-low. Your aiming at a temperature of 325-350. That’s in Fahrenheit, because fuck you Celcius loving bastards.

Slap your birds down on the grill, breasts up, in the spot where there fire ain’t. At this point my babies looked like this:

Raw chickens on the grill

You may notice the foil pouch next to the bird. Since propane does lack in the smoke area, I often like to stick a pouch of mesquite chips on the grill to add to the flavor. It’s not a requirement.

At this point there ain’t much else to do but to open a cold one and kick back. You’ll want to baste the birds ever ten minutes or so to ensure that a tasty crust develops. Here are the birds after about an hour:

Chicken after one hour

All told it took about 2 hours for the breast meat to reach 180, at which point it was eatin’ time. Some recipes call for flipping the chickens over to sear the breast, but I found that I didn’t need to.

Chicken has finished cooking

I served my birds with chile-roasted corn and home made cole slaw. Yum yum mother-fuckers.

Plated chicken