Have you ever eaten at an El Pollo Loco? Good stuff, right? Ever since my first bite of their chicken, I have been searching for the real recipe. Believe you me, I’ve tried plenty and none has hit the mark. Guess what? Neither did this one.
I know what you are thinking – if it’s not “the one” then why am I sharing it with you? It’s not a bad recipe, it just doesn’t have the same depth of flavor that El Pollo Loco chicken has. I consider this to be a work in progress. Maybe next summer, I’ll try grilling the chicken on the barbecue. Maybe an open flame will help. That and a long soak in the marinade. Brushing it on during the cooking process just didn’t penetrate the meat as it should have. One thing, I’ve never “boiled” chicken to finish it in under the broiler. It really does keep the meat tender and moist. That much I did like.
I did make one tiny change to the original recipe. When I tasted the basting sauce, it was just a little too tame for us. So I added a few drops of Ghost Pepper Sauce. That really can bring on the heat. When adding Ghost Pepper Sauce, do it a little at a time. It can get hot quick. Taste between additions.
Oh, and one last thing – the basing sauce contains Turmeric. If you have never worked with this spice before, don’t panic when everything it touches turns yellow. That’s just the nature of the spice.
Pollo Asado Loco
The Crazy Chicken
1 Fryer, cut into 8 pieces
Chicken Broth, as needed
Cut chicken into 8 frying pieces, 2 thighs, 2 legs, 2 breasts. Splint the breast meat in half width-wise to be more uniform in size to the thighs. Discard wings or reserve for another use. Pat chicken dry with a paper towel.
Pour the broth into a deep-sided skillet to about 1-inch deep. Arrange the cut-up chicken in the skillet, keeping pieces in single layer without crowding them. Cook over medium heat until the meat appears milky white and the juices run clear, no longer pink. Add broth as necessary to keep chicken simmering rather than frying. This should take about 20 minute or so depending upon size of the chicken pieces.
Allow chicken to cool in the broth, uncovered, while you prepare the basting sauce.
The Basting Sauce
1/3 cup Lemon Juice
1/3 cup Lime Juice
1/3 cup Vegetable Oil
1 teaspoon Turmeric
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Salt
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper or to taste
Ghost Pepper Sauce to taste (optional)
To make the basting sauce, mix together the citrus juices, oil and seasonings. Whisk well, then set aside until ready to use.
To Broil the Crazy Chicken: Place the oven rack so that the chicken can broil about 6-inches from the heat source. Heat to broil.
Arrange the chicken pieces skin-side up on broiler pan in single layer and baste with enough of mixture to evenly coat skin side. Turn and baste meaty side. Turn again so that the chicken is skin side up and broil 6-inches from the heat, brushing with additional sauce every 3 minutes until skin is really crispy and golden brown, approximately 8 to 10 minutes for large pieces. Turn chicken over, brush with basting sauce and continue to broil until cooked through, about 3 minutes on the meat side. Turn and baste one last time, place under the broiler for that last kiss of crispness before serving.
This is great with spicy whole pinto beans, warm tortillas and plenty of Margaritas!