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Grilled and Lightly Smoked, Peruvian Chicken and a Chile Spice Rub

I know summer is almost here because I’ve already had to fill the grill with gas. Or should I say, Manservant had to fill the grill with gas. Yes, the first nice days of Spring found me grabbing the first chance I had and heading to the grill. Hopefully, by now warmer days have found you and your grill is starting to see some action too. 

So after my last post with Green Sauce you are probably wondering  what came first – the green sauce or the chicken. Or is that the chicken before the egg? Well, you know what I’m thinking, right? Yes, that green sauce rocks. It isn’t too creamy and rich and  but has loads of flavor and can be put on just about anything. I believe it was designed especially for this chicken but the fun thing is that it works with so many other foods. 
Guess what? The chicken rocks, too! Peruvian chicken seems to be the rage right now, or maybe it has been the rage and I’m just finding out. Well, I’m always looking for a good simple chicken recipe and one that requires the grill and no oven is so much the better. Yes, I have got the perfect chicken. Loaded with flavor, it is easily dribbled with green sauce or simply on it own. It is easy to prepare and could take the place of that roasted chicken from your store’s rotisserie. Yes, you could make this into chicken salad or enchiladas or shred it for use in tacos, though my favorite way is with the green sauce. But with or without, this is one flavorful chicken that is loaded with some heat, some spice and some smoke.
Peruvian Grilled Chicken
Yield: 4-6 servings
1 whole chicken
Rubbing Mixture:
2 T white vinegar
2 T soy (This gives color and salt and no taste of soy.)
1 T olive oil
1 T lime juice
1 T chopped garlic
2 T spice mixture (below)
Hickory or Mesquite Chips for smoking
It starts with a whole chicken. Now if you are like me, you will have a pair of kitchen shears. If you aren’t like me, you need to get some. Trust me on this. They are one of my favorite tools in the kitchen. Once you get used to having them around, you will wonder why you had never owned them before. Now wash that bird and throw away the insides. Unless you want to keep the insides. Sometimes I do, but then I never end up using them! Dry the bird well. Now turn it over so the backbone is up. Take your shears and starting at either end, cut alongside the backbone to remove it. Now cut up the other side of the backbone. You should now have a backboneless chicken in front of you, which means your chicken can be laid flat. Yes, you have a butterflied chicken, but not a butterfly.  And they work really well on the grill. Tuck the wings of the chicken around to the back and now you have a very open chicken. Press it down a bit if you want it flatter.  Run skewers from the bottom to the top if you want extra stability.
Smear the rub all over the chicken. Under the skin. Over the skin. Let it sit as long as you can to soak up all that spice. But no worries. The rub imparts a lot of spice so a long marinading period is not necessary, though it will give it more flavor. When you are ready to cook this bird, preheat both sides of your grill to high. While it is preheating, prepare a foil packet of smoke chips. I used hickory, but if I had had mesquite I would have used those. Take a double thickness of foil and put a large handful of chips on one side. Now fold the other side over and fold up all the edges twice to make a foil packet. Take a fork and poke some holes in the top. Of course, you could skip this step and not smoke this bird, but you are missing out on adding a bit of richness and flavor. Once you start grilling this way you will want to add a touch of smoke to everything!
Once the grill is preheated, turn one side off. Leave the other side on high. Oil the grill grates on both sides and please make sure they are clean. Put your foil packet of chips on the side that will remain hot. Put the bird, meat side down and sideways on the grill with the dark meat towards the hot part of the grill. Keep the lid down. Let cook for about 35 minutes or until the white meat reaches 110 degrees. (Yes, the meat thermometer is also one of my favorite kitchen tools. It prevents a dried up bird or an overcooked piece of meat.) Now flip the bird over so the skin side is down and place it on the hot side of the grill,  keeping the white meat to the cool side of the grill. Cook 10 to 15 minutes more and use your thermometer to check for doneness or until the bird reaches about 145 degrees. Don’t let it burn!
Remove from grill when temperature is reached. Cover with foil and let rest about 10 minutes. Serve with green sauce or not.
Chile Spice Rub
1 1/2 t ground cumin
1 t salt
1/4 t cayenne
1 T mild Mexican red chile
1/4 t ground coriander
1/4 t turmeric
1/2 t oregano
1/4 t onion powder
1/4 t ground black pepper
Zest of 1/2 of a lime
Mix together. Great for beef and fish, too.
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  • Reply
    Karen Harris
    May 5, 2014 at 11:24 pm

    boy if this doesn't get you in the mood for summer nothing will. Grilled chicken is one of may favorite meals and this is ust what I need to spice up the old chicken dinner. Love the green sauce too.

    • Reply
      Abbe Odenwalder
      May 6, 2014 at 2:29 am

      It is a good chicken as all grilled chicken is! The sauce is heavenly! If you like cilantro and jalapenos!

  • Reply
    Holly @
    May 5, 2014 at 11:39 pm

    I need to clean up my grill and get it ready for the grilling season! I think I have to replace the starter but otherwise it should be good to go. I was lacking creativity planning meals this week and bought chicken already seasoned from Whole Foods yesterday. It is in the oven right now. I wish I had taken your lead and made this beautifully spiced chicken and on the grill no less!

    • Reply
      Abbe Odenwalder
      May 6, 2014 at 2:28 am

      That's so nice, Holly! Frankly, I need to clean my grill, on the outside and the deck! Just make the sauce. It will make your chicken extra good!

  • Reply
    May 6, 2014 at 1:10 am

    Abbe, can this be done in an oven. What temperature would you use for the oven? Thank you.

    • Reply
      Abbe Odenwalder
      May 6, 2014 at 2:27 am

      Most definitely, Tammy! Instead of butterflying the chicken, leave it whole and truss it. Place it on a rack, breast side up in a preheated 425 degree oven. Bake for about 45 minutes or until the chicken is crisp and reaches 165 degrees internally. If it starts to turn golden before it is finished, cover it with foil. If you want you can add a few drops of liquid smoke to the spices when you rub it on. Or add some smoked paprika. let me know how it turns out. Oh-this is for about a 4lb chicken!

  • Reply
    Kitchen Riffs
    May 6, 2014 at 1:32 am

    I agree with you on kitchen shears — impossible to live without! I've yet to get on the Peruvian chicken bandwagon, but I should — this looks terrific! Gotta get more propane for my grill, though — it's empty. Although I have plenty of charcoal on hand for the kettle grill. This looks like such a great dish — thanks.

  • Reply
    Angie Schneider
    May 6, 2014 at 4:19 am

    My my my…Abbe, you make me want to rush to the supermarket and get a chicken to try this recipe. The green sauce pairs so perfect with the grilled chicken. Thumbs up for you, Abbe.
    Have a beautiful day!

  • Reply
    Sharon D
    May 6, 2014 at 5:33 am

    Wow…am totally drooling. This is some serious grilling. I wish I could join the fun but apartment grilling is banned here 😛 I'm missing out a lot, aren't I?

  • Reply
    Barb | Creative Culinary
    May 6, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    Did you know a chicken prepared like this to lay flat is called a spatchcock chicken. I share this because I giggle every single time I see that word. 🙂

    I have a dish for Mexican rice that uses cilantro and serrano peppers for seasoning and I can 'almost' taste this Abbie. Time to get the grill going for sure!

  • Reply
    mimi rippee
    May 6, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    Oh, this looks so good. And with the green sauce it's absolutely spectacular!!!

  • Reply
    Nazneen Hamilton
    May 6, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    Wow! That looks great!! Our grill is out of gas too, from last year though so I need to send out my hubby to get some. We have a charcoal grill too which I love so I am waiting to go to town on both! This is going on my summer to do list, looks SO good!

  • Reply
    Sugar et al
    May 7, 2014 at 12:05 am

    Both the chicken and the green sauce sound delicious.I can eat this all year round but your post certainly makes me crave summer and the barbecue.

  • Reply
    technology capitalists
    May 7, 2014 at 12:31 am

    Actually I didn't do it… I delegated to my boy servant.

  • Reply
    Liz Berg
    May 7, 2014 at 1:31 am

    Oh, yeah, this could become a new summer favorite! Now if I could just convince the hubby that I need a gas grill…grrrrr….I love the taste of charcoal, but don't like having to wait to grill!

  • Reply
    May 7, 2014 at 8:44 am

    Like you until recently, I've never heard of Peruvian chicken. It really does sound good, though, and with that green sauce, it must be fantastic! I need to give both a try. My grill has been in use for much of the Winter, Abbe — except when the polar vortex hit and then my grill was an extension of my freezer. It's empty now, though. 🙂

  • Reply
    Daniela Grimburg
    May 7, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    Oh boy, I just stored my grill cause autumn has started here in Peru!
    Anyhow, this chicken is the first thing I'll prepare when our grill season starts again.
    Had this often in restaurants here but never prepared it myself and I bet it' s far better home made.
    Your grilled chicken rocks, Abbe!

  • Reply
    Lea Ann (Cooking On The Ranch)
    May 10, 2014 at 2:14 am

    Abbe this looks wonderful. Perhaps I'll make this Sunday ……. oh, that's right it supposed to SNOW!!! 🙂 At some point I need to jump on that Peruvian chicken band wagon, and also buy a pair of shears.

  • Reply
    Paula @ Vintage Kitchen Notes
    May 25, 2014 at 10:07 am

    Peruvian food took center stage here a few years ago, and it's rocking now, just like this chicken! I love their green sauce, usually have it with pasta, but as a topping of spicy chicken is just perfect Abbe!

  • Reply
    Timothy Schroeder
    February 25, 2017 at 3:04 pm

    What would be some good sides (with recipes please) to serve with this.

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