Mexican Roadside Chicken

I was watching a show called ‘Quest for Fire’ by Rick Bayless and he talked about Roadside Chicken in Mexico, which is basically a spatchcock (butterfly) chicken cooked over coals. The flavour comes from the spice rub, which I used first as a marinade before cooking unlike the method on the TV Show. I also changed the recipe just a little. The ancho chiles in this rub give the dish its unique taste of smokiness and sweet dried fruit.

Ancho Chilies

Ancho Chilies

The rub / marinade

  • 2 tsp ground ancho chile powder (dried Poblano chilis)
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp dried oregano (Mexican if you can get it)
  • 3 crushed cloves
  • 0.5 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 2 large crushed garlic cloves
  • 0.25 cups fresh orange juice
  • 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

How to Spatchcock a Chicken

First you need to spatchcock or butterfly your chicken so that it can cook for evenly. It is really easy.

  1. Place the whole chicken breast side down on a clean work surface
  2. Remove the backbone by using strong kitchen scissors or poultry shears. Start cutting the ribs on one side of the backbone and then the other side.
  3. Flatten the chicken

Mexican Roadside Chicken

Total time: 4 hours includes marinating time.

Once the bird was prepared, I stuck two long bamboo skewers diagonally between the breast and the leg to help stabilise it. It then rubbed the skin with some olive oil, covered both side of the bird with the marinade and then left it in the fridge for a couple of hours

Spatchcocked Chicken

Spatchcocked marinated chicken

I fired up the barbeque and once the coals were hot I moved them to one side before placing the chicken on the other side so that it would cook by indirect heat. I cooked each side for about 25-30 mins and re-applied the marinade ever 10 mins or so. Once the thermometer read 75 C (165 F) I removed the chicken from the grill to a board and covered it in foil to rest while I grilled some spring onions (green onions)

Mexican Roadside Chicken

Mexican Roadside Chicken

I cut it into 4 pieces and served it with the onions, salad and grilled tormatillo salsa. It was very moist and the ancho chilis added a real depth of flavour.

Mexican Roadside Chicken with Tormatillo Salsa

Mexican Roadside Chicken with Tormatillo Salsa

Essential Kitchen Supplies


    • john on April 15, 2015 at 4:25 pm
    • Reply

    are your sue of the cooked temperature 300 f is a bit high

    1. Good catch John,
      I think I meant to write 165F, but when writing the post I must have thought I meant Celsius and then converted it.

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