Peru is known for a plethora of delectable foods, but perhaps none of them is so widely beloved (especially within Peru) as pollo a la brasa, or Peruvian-style rotisserie chicken.
No matter where you are in the country, you’re never too far from a restaurant constantly cooking chickens on rotating spits, giving them the perfect texture and juiciness. But don’t worry: you need not venture all the way to Peru to enjoy this staple of Peruvian food. You can make it in your own kitchen, and it’s not even complicated!
The rotisserie, or “spit,” has been used to cook meat evenly for centuries. Medieval castles used to have servants manually turn the spit to cook the meat, and in some places, you’d even hear of “Turnspit dogs” — pets trained to run on a primitive treadmill-type device that would mechanically turn the rotisserie over the fire. Needless to say, rotisserie technology has made some advances since those days, but the fact that remains it’s not common to see rotisseries in household kitchens today. Fortunately, you can still make a proper rotisserie chicken in your oven, and it’s guaranteed to be a cut above the average grilled chicken.
Peruvian Rotisserie Chicken Recipe
The key to a crispy, moist roasted chicken is the marinade. Every restaurant has their own recipe, but we like this one, which uses soy sauce, vinegar, and a dark beer as the base for the marinade.
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp mustard
- 115 ml of malt beer (half a bottle)
- 2 tbsp red vinegar
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp ground panca chili (available in powdered form or paste in Peruvian specialty shops)
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 whole chicken
- Salt to taste
- In a bowl, mix the cumin, black pepper and a spoonful of salt. Place aside.
- In another bowl, mix the mustard, the malt beer, the vinegar, the soy sauce, the ají panca and the garlic. Incorporate the dry mixture. Place the chicken in a high roasting pan and bathe with the previous preparation. Refrigerate for 12 hours, turning the chicken occasionally so that each side bathes in the marinade.
- Preheat your oven to 180 ° C between 45 and 50 minutes, approximately.
- Remove, cut the chicken into four pieces and serve.
- Then, the most important part: Marinate the chicken for 12 hours, making sure every square inch is covered. Some people even go to the effort to spread the marinate under the chicken skin. After the chicken has marinated, cook it in the oven at 350°F for about 50 minutes.
- When it’s ready, take the chicken out of the oven and serve with your favorite sides. If you want to make it extra Peruvian-style, serve it with crispy french fries, a simple side salad (lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, and carrots), and some spicy ají chile sauce.
Of course, if this seems like too much work, there is another option: Get on the next flight to Peru and try this amazing dish directly from the source. There are countless places to get excellent roasted chicken in Lima, but a few of our favorites include Don Belisario, Don Tito, Pardo’s Chicken and La Granja Azul.