On my recent holiday in Mexico I saw and smelled this awesome barbecued chicken at roadside stands, but whenever we happened to be near one, it was around breakfast time and I really wasn’t in the mood for chicken. One day, shortly before we came home, I found this place called Polleria Alba just down the road from our apartment in Tulum. They’ve got a barbecue outside and then some tables inside and outside of a garage. I ordered chicken for one, and out came this huge portion – a whole chicken on one plate, and a platter of rice, pasta and salad on another, and some fresh tortillas. It was amazing, so I promised myself I’d learn to make it at home. I found a recipe on this site. It’s pretty easy to make, and surprisingly moist, even the breast. I served it with Mexican rice and beans, with various sauces. And Mexican beer, Negra Modelo, my fave.
What you need:
1 roasting chicken
1 & 1/2 tablespoons ground ancho chile powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (I didn’t use these because I didn’t have any)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 garlic cloves, peeled & minced
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tsp. salt
What you do:
1. Combine all the ingredients for the marinade.
2. Start the barbecue.
2. Rinse and then pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Turn the chicken so it is breast-side down. Cut through the middles of the back, then turn the chicken breast-side up. Give it a bang with your fist so it lies flat. You are going to barbecue the chicken whole. (see terrible picture below)
3. Spread some of the marinade all over the chicken and let it sit until the barbecue is smoking hot. Place it breast-side up on the barbecue. Let it roast for about 45 minutes with the lid down. Baste with the marinade every 10 minutes. It’s really important to leave the chicken alone, other than the basting, so don’t go flipping it or anything. When it is done,you can turn it breast-side down for a few minutes to get some colour if you want, but I found it was nicely browned from facing up the whole time.
4. To make sure it’s done, pierce the thigh with a fork and check if the juices are clear; if not, leave it on for a little longer. Remove the chicken from the barbecue to a serving plate and cover with foil for 10-15 minutes so the juices can settle back into the chicken, then carve it up!