Pollo a la Brasa

Pollo a la Brasa
Dimity Jones

From Edward Lee's Buttermilk Graffiti: "True pollo a la brasa is slow-cooked over charcoal, and if you have a charcoal grill, you should cook your chicken on it, rather than in the oven, as in this recipe. But it is the marinade that makes this dish so special. The chicken must be marinated overnight, which makes the chicken tender and juicy with a crust that is caramelized and salty, just the way chicken skin should be. I use Korean gochujang in the marinade because it closely resembles the Peruvian chile that is hard to find in the States."



  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons gochujang (Korean chile paste)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Juice of 3 limes
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 ½ teaspoons smoked hot paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 whole chicken (about 2 ½ pounds), preferably organic
  • Green Ají Sauce (recipe follows)


  1. To make the marinade: In a food processor, combine the soy sauce, gochujang, olive oil, lime juice, garlic, ginger, cumin, smoked paprika, oregano, rosemary, salt, and pepper and process until smooth.
  2. Put the chicken in a large casserole dish. Loosen the skin of the chicken over the breasts and thighs. Rub the marinade both under the skin and over it. Let the chicken sit in the marinade, covered, in the fridge overnight.
  3. The next day, remove the chicken from the fridge about 30 minutes before putting it the oven.
  4. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  5. Put the chicken in a roasting pan and roast for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and cook the chicken for 45 minutes, or until the skin is dark and caramelized. To test for doneness, insert a knife into the chicken where the thigh bone meets the backbone; if the juice runs clear, the chicken is ready. Let rest for 10 minutes before carving.
  6. Serve the chicken with the green ají sauce on the side.
Green Ají Sauce

Makes ½ cup

  • 1 bunch cilantro, root ends trimmed
  • 3 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  1. In a blender, combine the cilantro, jalapeño peppers, garlic, salt, olive oil, and mayonnaise and puree until just smooth (be careful not to overmix, or the sauce may break). Transfer to a glass or plastic container and refrigerate until ready to use.

Excerpted from Buttermilk Graffiti by Edward Lee (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2018.

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