Pollo al Horno (Chile-Spiced Grilled Chicken)

  • Serves

    serves 6-8


Stained deep orange with achiote paste, this spice-slathered grilled chicken pairs well with fresh, bracing salsa verde, which cuts through the dish's garlicky richness. This recipe first appeared in our August/September 2012 issue with Beth Kracklauer's article In Full Bloom.


  • 2 tbsp. prepared yellow mustard
  • 2 tbsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp. achiote paste, such as El Yucateco (available at
  • 10 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 5 dried guajillo chiles (available at, stemmed and seeded
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 (3–4-lb.) whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • Salsa verde, for serving


Step 1

Combine mustard, salt, achiote paste, garlic, chiles, juice, and 1 cup boiling water in a blender, and purée until very smooth, at least 1 minute. Transfer to large bowl, and add chicken; toss to coat, and then cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Step 2

Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill or heat a gas grill to medium. (Alternatively, heat a cast-iron grill pan over medium heat.) Remove chicken from marinade, and working in batches, add chicken to grill, and cook, turning once, until charred in spots and cooked through, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, and serve with salsa verde on the side.

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