El pollo al carbon chicken is a great, traditional Mexican recipe for grilled chicken. 

Servings            4

Prep                 20 minutes

Ready in          65 minutes


·         2 small chickens (about 3 pounds/1.4 kg each), cut in half down the middle

·         ½ cup/120 mL orange juice

·         1 small onion, chopped

·         4 cloves garlic, minced

·         2 tomatillos, husks removed, chopped

·         2 tablespoons/30 mL vegetable oil

·         2 tablespoons/30 mL lime juice

·         2 tablespoons/30 mL lemon juice

·         ½ teaspoon/2.5 mL hot chili powder

·         ½ teaspoon/2.5 mL cinnamon

·         ½ teaspoon/2.5 mL ground cloves

·         salsa and tortillas

·         1-2 limes, halved


  • Sauté onion and tomatillos in oil until soft. About 5 minutes over medium heat.  Add garlic and cook for another 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add citrus juices and spices. Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat and let sauce cool for 20-30 minutes.


  • Place chicken halves in a large container or large resealable bags. Cover with sauce and refrigerate for 3-6 hours. You can marinate a little longer if necessary, but not longer than 8 hours.


  • Preheat grill. Remove chicken halves from marinade and place on medium hot grill. Grill for about 45 minutes turning occasionally and basting with reserved sauce every 10 minutes, for the first 30 minutes of cook time. Do not baste in the last 15 minutes of grilling. Chicken is done when juices run clear and the internal temperature reaches 175 degrees F. in breast and 185 degrees F. in thigh meat. This higher temperature will help with shredding.


  • Once cooked, remove chicken halves from grill.  Place onto a large cutting board and cover loosely with aluminium foil.  Let meat rest for 10-15 minutes. Squeeze fresh lime juice over cook halves. Traditionally, the chicken is shredded and served in warmed tortillas accompanied by Spanish rice and re fried beans.


Recipe Sourced From The SpruceEats

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