Pollo a la Brasa with aji sauce

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Pollo a las Brasa or Peruvian chicken is one of the most widely consumed foods in Peru and is one of my favorites.  It’s normally a whole chicken slowly cooked on a rotisserie over wood charcoal after a long marinade.  While I have done it rotisserie style in the past, I decided to adapt this to leg quarters and cook it over indirect heat on my gas grill.  While I do miss the added smokiness of the charcoal grill, the marinade more than compensates by adding a huge amount of flavor and lending a beautiful color to the finished chicken.  With a little planning ahead for the marinating time, this makes a wonderful weeknight meal.  The tangy aji sauce may intimidate some with all the jalapeno, but I assure you it’s not nearly as spicy as you might think and it compliments the chicken perfectly.  Enjoy!

I started by making my aji sauce.  In my food processor I combined 2 chopped jalapeno chiles that were seeded, 3 chopped green onions, 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro, 1/2 of a small sweet onion chopped, 1 tablespoon lime juice, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.  I whirled it until just pureed but still had a few chunks for texture.  I poured it into a bowl, covered it and set in the refridgerator until needed.

I washed and patted dry four chicken leg quarters, then made a cut at the joint where the leg meets the thigh to aid in cooking evenly.  Any type of bone in chicken will work and of course a whole chicken is what’s traditionally used.

Using the food processor again, I got started on the marinade.  To the processor, I added 8 peeled garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons of the aji sauce, 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon sweet paprika, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and whirled it until evrything was minced.  I added 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons beer, 2 tablespoons lime juice, 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and whirled it again until well combined for about 30 seconds.

I placed the chicken in a resealable bag and poured the marinade over it and mooied around to caot the chicken (I’m pretty sure that’s the technical name for that procedure).  I put it in the refridgerator overnight to marinate.  You can let this marinate as little as 8 hours but 24 hours is best.

I heated my grill on high for 10 minutes the turned off the middle 2 burners and reduced the other burners to medium high.  I have a 5 burner grill but if yours has only 3, turn off the middle one.  I placed the chicken over the turned off burners and cooked it with the lid closed for 15 minutes then flipped them and cooked them for another 15 minutes with the lid closed until done.  Depending on your grill this may take a little more or less time, but the thigh should reach about 165 degrees.

And this was the result of my labor.  Perfectly moist, juicy chicken with amazing flavor.  And the aji sauce was out of this world good with this.  You can serve whatever side you like.  French fries are the normal accompaniment, but I chose to go with chile and garlic roasted potatoes.  Enjoy!

Pollo a la Brasa with aji sauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Peruvian chicken is one of the most popular foods in Peru. While traditionally done using a whole chicken cooked rotisserie style over wood, I've adapted it to chicken leg quarters grilled over indirect heat. However you choose to do it, the marinade along with the aji sauce is just amazing.
Recipe type: Entree, Main
Serves: 4
  • 4 chicken leg quarters washed and patted dry
Aji sauce
  • 5 jalapenos seeded and chopped
  • 3 green onions chopped
  • ½ small sweet onion chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • ½ teaspoon fresh black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons aji sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons beer(I used a dark beer)
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  1. Make a cut at the joint where the leg meets the thigh. Don't cut all the way through the joint, but just until your knife reaches the joint. This will help it cook more evenly. Set aside and start the aji sauce.
  2. For the aji sauce, combine all the ingredients in a food processor and whirl until just pureed but leaving a few chunks for texture. Pour into a bowl and keep in the fridge until ready.
  3. For the marinade, add the garlic, 2 tablespoons aji sauce, oregano, cumin, paprika, ginger and oil to the food processor and whirl until minced scraping down the sides as needed. Add the rest of the ingredients and whirl for 30 seconds until well blended.
  4. Place the chicken in a resealable bag and pour the marinade in and move around the chicken to coat. Place it in the refridgerator and let it marinate at least 8 hours but preferably closer to 24 hrs.
  5. Heat your grill on high for 10 minutes then turn off the middle burner and reduce the others to medium high. Oil the grates and place the chicken over the turned off burners and cook with the lid closed for 15 minutes. Flip the chicken over and cook another 15 minutes with the lid closed or until the thigh reaches about 165 degrees. Remove and cover loosely with foil for 10 minutes. Serve with the aji sauce.






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