El Pollo al Carbon

El Pollo al Carbon
Mark Thomas/Getty Images
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Total: 65 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
137 Calories
9g Fat
9g Carbs
8g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 137
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 9g 11%
Saturated Fat 1g 7%
Cholesterol 27mg 9%
Sodium 36mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 9g 3%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 8g
Vitamin C 25mg 125%
Calcium 30mg 2%
Iron 1mg 5%
Potassium 211mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This is a great, traditional Mexican recipe for grilled chicken. It is best to use smaller birds, so if you need a lot, just buy more, not bigger. This will help to keep down the cooking time. Serve with seasoned rice, warmed tortillas, and refried beans.


  • 2 (3-pound) chickens, cut in half down the middle

  • 1/2 cup (120 milliters) orange juice

  • 1 small onion, chopped

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 medium tomatillos, husks removed, chopped

  • 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) vegetable oil

  • 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) lime juice

  • 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) lemon juice

  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 milliliters) hot chili powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 milliliters) cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 milliliters) ground cloves

  • 1 to 2 limes, halved

  • 1 cup salsa, optional

  • 4 (approximately 7-8" diameter) warm tortillas, optional

  • 1 cup rice, optional

  • 2 cup refried beans, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Sauté onion and tomatillos in oil until soft. About 5 minutes over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for another 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add citrus juices and spices. Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat and let the sauce cool for 20 to 30 minutes.

  2. Place chicken halves in a large container or large resealable bags. Cover with sauce and refrigerate for 3 to 6 hours. You can marinate a little longer if necessary, but not longer than 8 hours.

  3. Preheat grill. Remove chicken halves from marinade and place on medium hot grill. Grill for about 45 minutes turning occasionally and basting with reserved sauce every 10 minutes, for the first 30 minutes of cook time. Do not baste in the last 15 minutes of grilling. Chicken is done when juices run clear and the internal temperature reaches 175 F in breast and 185 F in thigh meat. This higher temperature will help with shredding.

  4. Once cooked, remove chicken halves from the grill.  Place onto a large cutting board and cover loosely with aluminum foil.  Let meat rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Squeeze fresh lime juice over cook halves. Traditionally, the chicken is shredded and served in warmed tortillas accompanied by Spanish rice and refried beans.