A few years ago I had a gig in San Francisco for a couple months. I was surprised to see how popular rotisserie chicken restaurants were and the really good ones we Peruvian. My favorite was (and still is) Limón Rotisserie in San Francisco’s Mission District. Many nights after a long day I would stop by on my way home and pick up a half chicken to go.
This is a quick and easy recipe that you can actually prep a day or so in advance. Typically, this style chicken is served with a secret “green sauce” which you can find several recipe versions of throughout the interwebs. The Peruvian aji sauce does call for a couple of special ingredients – huatacay paste (Peruvian black mint paste) and aji amarillo paste (Peruvian yellow chile paste). Don’t think you can’t make this without the green sauce… for the sake of simplicity – and because it is also served this way at Limón – a good chimichurri sauce will get the job done.
For a complete meal, roast some whole baby potatoes in the drip pan below the chicken!
Peruvian-Style Rotisserie Chicken
serve four to six
One 4- to 4 1/2 pound whole chicken
3/4 teaspoons kosher salt per every pound of chicken
2 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground achiote or substitute paprika
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
3 cloves garlic, creamed or pushed through a garlic press
3 tablespoons white vinegar
2 tablespoons neutral oil, such as canola or vegetable
1 recipe Chimichurri Sauce (optional), for serving
Rotisserie, beer can roaster, or indirect heat
Remove giblets from inside the chicken cavity and reserve for another use. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and set aside. Combine the remaining ingredients to form a paste. Loosen the skin of the chicken over the breasts and thighs. Using 1/3 of the spice paste, rub under the where you loosened the skin. Use the remaining spice paste to thoroughly coat the chicken. Transfer to a plate, loosely cover with plastic wrap, place in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 4 hours and up to a couple days.
Prepare the grill for indirect or rotisserie cooking by lighting the outer burners to medium. The inside temperature of the grill should be 300°F to 350°F. Place a drip pan below where the chicken will spin or sit.
If desired, use a piece of butchers twine to tie the legs together and then tuck the wings under the back. Skewer and center the bird onto the spit and secure tightly with the tines. Place the loaded spit onto the motor over the drip pan. Start the rotisserie and cover the grill. Depending on your grill (and the outside temperature), the chicken will take somewhere between 75 to 90 minutes. After 60 minutes or so, stop the rotisserie motor and check the internal temperature to gauge how fast it is cooking. Once the breast hits 160°F and the thigh registers 170°F, turn off rotisserie motor and transfer the spit and roast to a cutting board. Leave the bird on the spit. Tent loosely with foil and let rest 10 minutes before removing the spit. Cut away the string used for trussing and cut the chicken into serving pieces.
Cheers and Happy Grilling!