Pollo al Carbon with Wasakaka
A few years ago I was filming in the Dominican Republic and stumbled across a small stand serving the most incredible version of pollo al carbon I’d ever had. I watched the cook’s technique and took notes on the marinade and basting sauce. When I returned home, I immediately went about recreating the grilled chicken with wasakaka, an easy, citrusy Caribbean condiment that marries beautifully with the dish. For a juicy bird with crispy skin, use a rotisserie attachment for a charcoal grill.
Pollo al Carbon Recipe
- 1 whole chicken
- 2 serrano peppers, thinly sliced
- 10 garlic cloves, smashed
- Juice of 2 limes
- Juice of 2 oranges
- 4 sprigs fresh oregano
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 2 cups orange juice
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 1 teaspoon chile flakes or cayenne
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire
- 1/4 cup mirin
Wash and dry the chicken. Place the Serrano peppers, garlic, lime juice, orange juice and oregano in a large Ziploc bag. Season the chicken with salt and place in the bag. Squeeze or withdraw as much air out of the bag as possible to intensify the marinade. Marinate in the fridge for 24 hours.
Remove the chicken from marinade, reserving the liquid for basting. Tuck the wings under the bird and tie legs together with butcher’s twine. Thread the chicken onto a rotisserie spit, securing with the forks.
Prepare a grill for medium direct cooking. Place the spit with the chicken on the rotisserie attachment, cover the grill and cook over medium direct heat for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the internal temperature of the dark meat is 160 degrees F. Baste the chicken with the reserved marinade frequently, but not during the last 10 minutes of cooking.
While the chicken is cooking, combine all of the wasakaka sauce ingredients in a pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer, and cook for 20 to 25 minutes. You want the sauce to reduce by about 40 percent. Allow to cool.
Remove the chicken and let it rest for 10 minutes. Serve with the Wasakaka sauce.
Photographs by Madeleine Hill.