Traditional Grilled Chicken Recipe

Last night Ricardo and I grilled dinner in the garden. He baked potatoes in the dutch oven, and I marinated and grilled chicken. I used a recipe from my friend Jazmin, who grew up in rural Guerrero. The simple guajillo-based marinade packs a powerful punch, and the chicken turned out juicy, with a lip-tingling spice and a smoky undertone.

Jazmin butterflies thicker pieces of chicken before grilling. “The secret to barbecuing chicken is to make sure the flame isn’t too hot,” she says. “And it’s double good when you grill it over real coals; gas grills have nothing on real charcoal. Keep turning the chicken over and over again. It’s a totally different style. Not as juicy maybe, but more flavorful.”

If you try the recipe below and like it, you may want to also check out this recipe for Jazmin’s take on classic pollo guisado or read her tips on killing and stewing iguanas.

Pollo Asado


  • 1 chicken, cut into pieces
  • Salt
  • Soy sauce (optional)
  • 7 dried red chiles guajillos
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cloves
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin seed
  • 1 teaspoon of whole peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon of powdered oregano


  1. Butterfly chicken.
  2. Splash chicken with soy sauce and sprinkle with salt.
  3. Rinse chiles and put them in a bowl. Fill the bowl with water until the chiles are covered. Let soak for 10 minutes. Reserve water.
  4. When the chiles are the consistency of wet satin, grind or blend them with the garlic and spices.
  5. Add the water left over from soaking the chiles to the spice/chile mixture.
  6. Pour liquid over raw chicken and leave to marinate for an hour.
  7. Heat your grill.
  8. When chicken is marinated and grill is hot, throw your chicken on the grill.
  9. Turn the chicken every minute or two until it’s done.

One Response to “Traditional Grilled Chicken Recipe”

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  1. -el codo- says:


    Cut, pasted, saved on hard drive! Where you live in Oregon, Churpa, you can split finger width lengths of madrone, soak them in salt water (don’t ask me why) for a couple of days then add the sticks to a glowing bed of coals of roble (oak). In Michoacan we use guisaxche, other places Uña de Gato or Mesquite. The Mennonites of Cuauhtemoc told me they use apple wood.

    Real wood is far superior to charcoal but it is more difficult to throttle temperatures. Celso my neighbor builds a fire de leňa around an iron engine cylinder head and he claims the iron helps to even out temperature spikes. I have not tried this yet.

    Your recipe sounds outrageous. Thank you.