Pollo Al Ajillo (Panamanian Garlic Chicken)

  • Serves

    serves 4

Heavily spiced and intensely garlicky, this charcoal-grilled chicken can be found at roadside restaurants all over Panama, served with rice and fresh avocado. This recipe first appeared in our June/July 2013 issue with Todd Coleman's article Garlic and Flame.


  • 1 (3-4-lb.) chicken, quartered
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 25 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 12 cup sherry vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp. ground allspice


Step 1

Place chicken and bay leaves in a bowl. Purée garlic, salt, and 2 tbsp. water in a food processor to a smooth paste. Add juice, vinegar, black pepper, Worcestershire, and allspice; purée until smooth. Rub mixture over chicken. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or up to overnight.

Step 2

Heat a charcoal grill or set a gas grill to high; bank coals or turn burner off on one side (see Grilling 101. Remove chicken from marinade; grill on hottest part of grill, flipping once, until slightly charred and cooked through, 25-30 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh reads 165°. If the outside starts to burn before the chicken is fully cooked, move to the cooler side of the grill until done.

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