Pollo Asado

In Spanish, Pollo Asado means “Chicken on the Grill.” It’s *almost* as simple as that to whip up a delicious Mexican Fiesta in your own backyard – I’ve got all of the tips and tricks you need to take a good recipe and turn it into a great meal.

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The Perfect Marinade for Pollo Asado

The components of a perfect marinade always include an acidic base that will help break down the connective tissues and skin of the chicken. In Mexican cooking, fruit juices are a great way to start a marinade. Mix up some orange juice and lime juice with minced garlic, Mexican oregano, red achiote paste (I use adobo sauce as a substitute), and onion powder. Blend until it’s as smooth as butter.

Tip: Chicken thighs are a mix of dark and light meat and have a lot more flavor than other parts of the chicken.

Coat the chicken thighs well with the marinade. Cover with saran wrap and marinate in the ice box for a minimum of 4 hours, but if you can let it sit there for 12-24 hours you’ll get better results. When it’s time to cook, allow the chicken thighs to warm up to room temperature before grilling.

Grilling Chicken with Indirect Heat

When you are adding hardwood lump charcoals to the grill, load them all over to one side. This side of the grill will be for cooking the chicken directly overhead. The other side will be for an indirect cook. An indirect cook is for when you want the fire’s heat and the smoke’s flavor but don’t want to sear the meat the entire cooking time.

Tip: When cooking chicken, add a few chunks of fruit wood for extra flavor.

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Cook the chicken to an internal temperature of 165 – 170 degrees Fahrenheight. Start the chicken thighs over indirect heat for ten minutes or until they reach around 145-150 degrees, then move them directly over the hot coals. Sear both sides, and cook until they reach that temperature of 160-170. Remove from grill to cool.

How to Make Pico de Gallo at Home

Pico de Gallo is a type of chunky salsa that makes a perfect topping for most Mexican dishes. A mixture of fresh diced tomato, onion, jalapeno, and cilantro is coated with lime juice. Mix well, and let chill in the fridge until serving time. This is a delicious salsa and requires no cooking at all.

Tip: You can make the mixture hotter by leaving in the jalapeno seeds, or milder by using less jalapeno.

You can save the extra pico de Gallo for up to a week, or until the tomato starts to turn.

Tip: Try pico de gallo on a hamburger or hot dog sometime!

Pollo Asado Quesadillas

If you can keep yourself from eating the chicken as soon as it comes off the grill, add some lime juice and fresh cilantro. Dice it up and grill between two tortillas with some cheese until the cheese is melty and the tortillas are crispy. Top with pico de Gallo!

This meat can be used in tacos, burritos, and chimichangas, or you can serve fajita style with bell peppers and onions. It’s a great versatile recipe and is delicious no matter how you serve it.

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Pollo Asado – Cowboy Kent Rollins

Prep Time 3 hours
Total Time 4 hours 15 minutes
Servings 6 to 8 servings



  • ½ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • ½ cup fresh squeezed lime juice
  • ¼ cup avocado oil
  • 3 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 3 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 ounces Achiote Paste or Adobo Sauce
  • 3 pounds boneless and skinless chicken thighs

Pico de Gallo

  • 1 small white onion diced
  • 4 roma tomatoes diced
  • 1 jalapeno seeded and diced
  • ½ cup finely chopped cilantro
  • ¼ cup fresh squeezed lime juice
  • Sea salt and coarse ground pepper to taste


  • Put all the marinade ingredients, except the chicken thighs, in a blender and blend well.
  • Place the chicken in a large pan. Pour the sauce evenly on top and turn the chicken to thoroughly coat. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, but preferably 12 hours.
  • Preheat the grill to 350 degrees F. I prefer to use fruit woods when grilling chicken (apple, cherry, etc.). Clean the grates and spray with oil. Cook the thighs for about 10 minutes over indirect heat, or until the internal temperature is between 140 and 150 degrees F.
  • Move the chicken to the direct side of the grill and continue to cook for about 4 to 5 minutes, or until the internal temperature is 165 to 170 degrees F. Serve in pieces with pico de gallo, or chop or shred and use in tacos, quesadillas, etc.
  • For the Pico: Mix all the ingredients in a medium bowl. Cover and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour before serving.
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