Grilled Pollo Asado, Spicy & Mild
If you’re looking for the PERFECT base chicken recipe to add to any dish and serve anybody, anytime, you can stop looking now!
We have served our Mild Pollo Asado version at children’s birthday parties. We have brought our Spicy Pollo Asado to multiple taco nights at friends houses and even used grills (sometimes in the pouring rain) to ensure they got perfectly crisp.
The result? Always rave reviews. Like, ALWAYS. I mean, when a 9 year old girl pipes up in the middle of a busy birthday party to look your way and go “This chicken is GOOD!” then you know you’ve got a winner.
These grilled chicken thighs, whether you go Mild or Spicy, literally cannot disappoint. Our favorite use for them of course is to recreate our fave PQN tacos at home. But we also use the (Mild Version) recipe in our Chicken Ramen, put it on top of any sort of grain/veggie bowls, stir in with rice, add to creamy tomato or lentil soup for extra protein…heck I’ve even eaten it cold out of the tupperware.
The basic method is the same between the Mild & Spicy versions.
- Start with a pound to two pounds of boneless, skinless, organic chicken thighs. I recommend two, because it’ll go fast.
- A grill preheated nice and hot (around 450 degrees F) so you get that nice exterior crispness and the extra fat renders and melts
- Lay the thighs out flat and thin (don’t let them curl up on themselves like how they come in the package) on the grill, moving quickly and closing the lid between each one so you don’t lose heat
- Grill for 5 minutes each side (or 6 and 4, you choose) then pull them off on a cutting board and let them rest 3-5 minutes
- Use a big chef’s knife to cut them crosswise into thin strips
- Refrigerate the unused portion and the strips reheat super well in a small skillet, sauteed a few minutes
(it’s embarrassingly simple)
- Head to Trader Joe’s and buy a Garlic Salt Grinder or three. They’re like…$1.99. You’ll be using it ALL the time. (It HAS to the be this grinder! You won’t get the same results with finely ground garlic salt!)
- While you’re at Trader Joe’s, pick up some Smoked Paprika. Also…I think $1.99.
Season both sides of the chicken thighs GENEROUSLY with each of the above. Let rest on the counter while the grill preheats, and slap those puppies on.
Spice It Up!
…And here’s the Spicy Version (Warning: Also embarrassingly simple)
- Use the same TJ’s Garlic Salt Grinder to season both sides well
- In place of Smoked Paprika, use ample ground Chipotle Powder (don’t think TJ’s has that – try Penzey’s!)
And what if you want it EVEN spicier and/or a little fancier for dinner guests? Well then, you’re absolutely entitled to marinate that meat. Also super simple, it just adds one step. You’s simply place that garlic salt/chipotle powder in some oil to infuse it over time:
- Mix 2T avocado oil and 2 tsp of the Chipotle powder per pound of chicken meat, in a small bowl. Add 1/2 tsp fine sea salt and 1/2 tsp garlic powder per pound of meat (so for 2 pounds you’ll use 4T oil, 4 tsp Chipotle Powder, and 1 tsp each salt & garlic powder)
- Place the chicken in a shallow glass/non-reactive dish and pour the chipotle marinade over the top
- Using your clean hands, massage the spicy oil into the chicken well, making sure to get every nook and cranny
- Cover with clear wrap and set in the fridge up to 8 hours
- When ready, Grill as described above
This is EXACTLY, by the way, the recipe that our favorite taco restaurant Por Que No uses for their Pollo Asado Chicken Tacos. One caveat: They recommend grinding dried whole chipotle peppers by hand before adding to the oil.
(Side Note): Not only have I done that multiple times using mortar and pestle, food processor, and spice grinder, but every single freaking time I have gotten chipotle dust under my fingernails, in my nose and even my eyes and let me tell you it is just miserable. Those peppers are HOT and even a hint of oil residue in any sensitive surface can make you miserable. It also takes SO much time. I admit the results are incrementally hotter and more intense but – I found after multiple
Chipotle Pepper Torture Sessions Por Que Imitation Techniques (including one I had to walk to pick up my daughter from school right after I practically pepper-sprayed myself) that using pre-ground Chipotle Powder is a total hack with 98% as good of results. We use Penzey’s Spices and their flavor is always on point.
So anyway. If someone has a great spice grinder that contains the dust and makes this a tad safer and saner, feel free to let me know. And if you wanna do the super-authentic, from-scratch route, feel free! Until then: We are using the time-saving hack. 😀
Grilled Pollo Asado
Nutrition Per Serving