Smoked Grilled Peruvian Chicken is bathed in a citrusy marinade and then cooked on the grill, using smoke as an ingredient. This is one of my favorite grilled chicken recipes, and many of my friends have shared it with their families. The key is to marinate the chicken in a mixture of fragrant spices and lime juice.
Have you ever tried smoking food on the grill? I don’t have a charcoal grill, but I have smoked food on my gas grill using a smoke box as well as foil packs filled with wet wood chips. Smoke generated from flavorful wood can add an extra complexity of flavor when you’re grilling, whether it’s an animal protein or vegetables.
My dad used to wok-smoke meats on the stove top. I’ve made tea-smoked chicken in wok, and tea-smoked fish in a wok, which is a common Chinese method of smoking.
However, smoking foods on the grill is better for smoking larger quantities of food, and you don’t have to worry about creating smoky odors in the kitchen.
The recipe for this Smoked Grilled Peruvian Chicken comes from Barton Seaver’s cookbook, Where There’s Smoke, which is all about simple, sustainable, delicious grilling.
Barton views smoke as an ingredient (each type of wood has its own unique aroma and flavor), as basic as stock or olive oil, using it to add richness and fullness to the foods he prepares. The key is to manage the smoke properly.
Although there are some health concerns when it comes to grilling, Barton does a nice job suggesting safer, healthier, and greener ways to grill, including using indirect heat and serving smaller portions of protein alongside lot of vegetables (animal protein naturally contains compounds that become carcinogenic when subjected to high heat, something that vegetables do not contain).
Typically, you might expect mostly meat lover recipes in a grilling cookbook, but Where There’s Smoke is packed with vegetable dishes, some grilled, some not, as well as a variety of protein dishes (he suggests sustainably raised). In fact, Barton makes a point to make vegetables center stage, with enticing recipes such as Charred Brussels Sprouts with Orange-Pecan Dressing, Grilled Cauliflower with Mint and Parmesan, Grilled Lacinato Kale and Grilled Portobello Mushrooms with Mint Pesto.
This Smoked Grilled Peruvian Chicken is an easy dish to make, with a short list of ingredients. Serve with this Guasacaca Avocado Green Sauce if you like.
Although my gas grill has a small smoker box on the right side, I decided to use a second smoker box, both filled with cherry wood chips (you could also use foil to wrap the chips). I placed the second smoker box on the left side of the grill, and the chicken in the middle of the grill. For the first five minutes of grilling, the chicken lay over direct heat, after which I moved the chicken to the right side of the grill and shut off the burners on that side. I let the chicken finish cooking over indirect heat, yielding a moist chicken with a light smoky flavor.
I had some fun playing around with Smoky Grilled Carrots too (this recipe is also in Barton Seaver’s cookbook). I’m looking forward to experimenting more with smoke as an ingredient.
Smoked Grilled Peruvian Chicken Recipe
- Juice of 2 limes
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon organic sugar
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons smoked sweet paprika
- 2 teaspoons powdered chile pepper I used ancho
- 3 1/2 pounds chicken parts on the bone, with skin
In a large mixing bowl, mix together lime juice, vinegar, garlic, salt and sugar.
Combine olive oil, cumin, paprika, and chile powder in a small saucepan; heat over medium heat until aromatic and oil begins to bubble, about 3 minutes. Add hot oil mixture to lime juice mixture. Let cool. Add chicken pieces to bowl and coat well with marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight. Let the chicken come to room temperature before cooking it, about 30 minutes.
Build a medium fire in a grill and add chunks of a flavorful wood such as maple, oak or hickory. When the wood has burned down to embers, place the chicken, skin side down, directly over the coals. Cook for 2 minutes, then rotate the grill grate so the chicken is away from the fire. Cover the grill and cook until an instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees F when inserted along the leg about, about 20 minutes.
Transfer chicken to a platter and serve.
Looks simple enough! I will add more garlic too!
Katie @ Dishin & Dishes says
OK, first we post the same recipe for Summerfest last week and now I find out you bought the same cookbook as me! We must be kindred spirits. I am just starting to read Smoke. Glad to know this one is a winner! I love all his takes on grilled/smoked veggies! Gorgeous pictures!
I think it is a great idea to eat healthy to stay healthy. Food has a big effect on health!
Katie – that is too funny! Wish we lived closer so we could cook together. Let me know what you end up making from the cookbook – there are so many recipes I want to try.
Helene D'souza says
Interesting cook book. Not sure if I missed it somewhere, is the giveaway only US or worldwide?
Good point to eat protein rich meat with vegetables to balance it out. This is usually our approach to.
I like the idea of the Peruvian smokey chicken. Anything smokey grilled can only be addictive anyway. =)
Alyssa (Everyday Maven) says
Printing this! I think food is medicine and while it may not heal or cure every single ailment or disease, there is no better way to boost your immune system and have a fighting chance at health!
Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking says
Oh gosh, Jeanette. This chicken looks GORGEOUS. So smoky, tender and perfectly flavored and charred. Great recipe!
Thanks Georgia – this is one of the best grilled chicken dishes I think I’ve come across – it was a huge hit with the kids!
Kathleen Faulkner says
Recipe looks fabulous. Can’t wait to try. We have been smoking or own meats and veggies for some time now. Always love to come acrossa new book or blog . Thanks for sharing!
this looks like such a great meal, i’ve gotta try it
Gail R says
Yum Yum Yum Jeanette you post the best recipes . All the ones that I have made my family has loved. We love peruvian food. I’m drooling just looking at this dish.
Bethany C. says
I think it is definitely worth a try.
Bethany – I hope you give this a try. The marinade is so good!
I think there are so many things we can prevent by our diet, why not cure as well?
I didn’t realize you could actually smoke things on a regular grill! Super cool…I’ll have to check out that veggie chapter!
Oh my goodness! I have got to get my hands on this cookbook! This chicken recipe alone makes me drool! I can’t wait to delve into the others in the book.
Margot C says
I think it’s quite possible to consider preventing Alzheimer’s through diet; in my case it may be a bit late though, ha!
Jeff S says
I love cooking with smoke. Can’t wait to try this one.
Christopher Sorel says
I think many problems are diet related and not getting what you need for you body
Jen @JuanitasCocina says
I think diet is a very important part of health, and especially for brain health. People underestimate the importance of a healthy diet!
I definitely think it should be explored.
I’m all for eating healthy foods to prevent or minimize disease.
Lisa P says
Our mental health is related to our digestion (as scientists are just beginning to realize), so it would definitely make sense that diet would be related to it and other diseases.
Super delicious looking chicken.
Thanks Ash – this was really good, and I’m looking forward to making it again.
Oh. My. Goodness. Just made this today while we have a little break from the rain. While it may not have been sunny the overcast Oregon sky held back the rain long enough to light some coals and throw on some soaked cherry wood chips. The flavors are amazing and well balanced. I used a combination of Ancho Chile and Chipotle Chili powders, bringing just a touch of heat. I like the idea about the garlic. Thanks for sharing the recipe.
Millie l Add A Little says
This looks amazing Jeanette! Definitely going to try this out for the barbecue in summer!
nancy artesi says
This is a five-star winner. Everyone raved about it. Served it with chimichurri, lime rice and roasted asparagus. Oh, yes, please.
Nancy – so glad you enjoyed this recipe. Love the idea of chimichurri, lime rice and asparagus to complete this meal!
I have a Weber charcoal grill & I love grilling on it. when we lived back home on the gulf coast in the 50’s through the 70’s, I used to go surf fishing on south Padre Isle, Brown Cedar Cut or fishing out in the gulf. We always took food to cook on the grill in case we didn’t catch any fish. We’d make burgers or hot dogs & we’d slice the wiener about 3/4’s through lengthwise put in a garlic cheese mixture wrap it up with bacon and grill until the bacon was crisp. We would filet the fish we caught and I’d fix my grill so that I could smoke them. I never had heard about doing fish on a cedar plank at that time but I’d make an aluminum boat. with barely a turned up edge all around. Make a lemon/butter sauce with a bit of liquid smoke if I had no wood chips, dip my filets in it and place them in the boat and allow them to smoke. Sadly that’s been many years ago for I’ve been a DP from Texas for at least 20 years & from the Gulf coast even longer. I get to go home to Texas on June 3rd, I haven’t been back to Texas in a year. I’d love to move back, I had a close friend once that said “every Texan I’ve ever met that lived here was like a fish out of water”. I guess she’s right. Try smoking some fish on your grill, it loses the fishy taste and is simply scrumptious. You can bathe it with a lemon/butter sauce(equal amounts) add a good bit of liquid smoke, before cooking, add your seasoning, salt, pepper and a few slivered almonds & baste it with a bit of white wine or a nice rose wine. delicious! I am making your Peruvian tonight, I just took some chicken breasts out to thaw. Today’s a perfect day for grilling chicken and some veggies with a salad.I’ll be trying your Asian ones too, maybe use my brother-in-law’s grill and treat them to some! You have so many recipes to try in this blog, the tropical shrimp and I want to try your Chinese Black Bean sauce, I’ll be trying every single one of these within the next month!I can almost taste them now. Every recipe of yours that I try always ends up being five stars! My husband & I both love them. I’m putting a recipe book together for my youngest,he will love these! I’ve been under the weather this past month but this blog was just the right one to put a smile on my face and a yearning in my li’l ol’ Texas taste buds! Thanks heaps Jeannette!
Margo – love hearing about all the grilling you’ve done – I’m going to have to grill some fish you way you suggested – it sounds delicious – just need to get my hands on some super fresh fish. I hope you enjoy the Peruvian Chicken and have a chance to try some of the other recipes on my blog. Thanks so much for your feedback and I hope you’re feeling better!
Thank you Jeanette! My family simply adored how the chicken tasted, your idea to add garlic was brilliant. I did not have the smoking wood chips handy but decided to give it a try anyway and boy I’m ever happy I did. This recipe is simple yet outstanding. I’m hooked so now I’ll have to buy the cook book. I’ll be definetly doing this dish again, and again, and again…
What an excellent book review. A smoke cookbook with a decent number of vegetable recipes is definitely something I’d like to have. Thanks for the chicken recipe, it looks delicious.