Pollo Asado

pollo asado

Total time: 8 Hours 45 Mins (including marinating time)

Serves 4

In Mexico and Cuba, cooks marinate chicken in a mixture of cumin, oregano, garlic, and citrus to make it juicy and flavorful. Adding achiote paste, as cooks do in Mexico, adds depth and sweetness, but the chicken is good without it too.


  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons each ground cumin and kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon achiote paste (optional)
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 (5-lb.) whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • 2 medium-size white onions, cut crosswise into 1-in.-thick slices
  • 4 jalapeno chiles


  1. Heat 1/2 cup oil in a small frying pan over medium-low heat. Whisk in garlic, cumin, salt, oregano, and achiote paste (if using). Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes.
  2. Put garlic mixture, orange juice, and lime juice in a large resealable freezer bag. Add chicken, seal bag, and massage it to kick-start marinade. Chill 8 hours.
  3. Preheat a grill to medium (350° to 450°) with a large cast-iron skillet on one side of grill. Remove chicken from marinade; discard marinade. Grill chicken, covered, until an instant-read thermometer registers 165° when inserted into thickest portion of each piece, 20 to 30 minutes; turn often and move to a cooler area of grill as they reach temperature.
  4. While chicken cooks, swirl remaining 1 tbsp. oil into hot skillet on grill. Add onion slices and jalapeños and cook, in batches if necessary, until onions are golden brown and tender, about 5 minutes per side, and jalapeños are blistered on all sides, about 8 minutes. Serve onions and jalapeños with chicken.


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