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Piri Piri Chicken at

It was New Years Day. It was minus 14 here in the Rockies. There was a foot of snow on the ground. Of course, I decided I would smoke a Piri Piri Chicken for New Years dinner.

Piri Piri Chicken 2015 4

I started by mixing all the ingredients, except the chicken, in a blender or food processor until they are a paste, scraping down the sides often.

Then I divided the paste into two halves.

Piri Piri Chicken 2015 1

I spatchcocked the chicken. Spatchcocking means cutting the back bone off the chicken (save it for making stock) and then cutting out the breast bone so it lies flat. I spatchcock a chicken in video in my post on Rosemary Chicken.

Piri Piri Chicken 2015 2

I rubbed 1/2 of the paste under the breast and thigh skin and over all surfaces of the chicken. To get it under the skin, carefully work your pointing finger between the meat and skin a little bit at a time.

Cover the chicken loosely and put it in the fridge for at least 7 hours, up to a day.

Piri Piri Chicken 2015 3

I preheated my Louisiana Grills pellet smoker to 350 F. You could do this in a rack over a tray in a 350 F oven but that wouldn’t get you out into the brisk minus 14 air.

Here, I made a mistake. I always put my chicken on the grill with the skin side up for a while. If I put the skin side down right away, I have problems with some of the skin sticking no matter how much I oil the grill. I tossed this one skin side down. I figure the cold had killed my few remaining synapses. So, sorry, the skin isn’t perfect on this cook.

While the chicken was smoking, I microwaved the remaining 1/2 of the paste to make it liquid.

I smoked the chicken for 15 minutes. Then I brushed it with the liquefied paste. I continued cooking, brushing and turning every 15 minutes for an hour.

I used my instant read thermometer to make sure the internal temperature was over 165 F in the thighs and breast. In my case, the thigh meat was 175 F and the breast was 165 F.

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I took it inside and let it rest for 10 minutes.

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I cut it into serving size pieces. Cut off the wings and drumsticks. Then cut the thighs off. Separate the two halves of the breast and then cut them in half with a large knife to get through the bone.

Piri Piri Chicken 2015 8

The Verdict

I had made Piri Piri Chicken before but She Who Must Be Obeyed said it had too much garlic (she was wrong but I didn’t say that). So, I have been experimenting until I came up with this method. I make it with only 15 ml (1 tablespoon) of Sriracha and it has a nice touch of heat, a pleasant lemon brightness and a decent garlic taste that doesn’t offend the boss.

I have to admit, I would use at least 25 ml (2 tablespoons) of Sriracha but I like more heat than the missus.

This is my go to Piri Piri Chicken from now on.

The Old Fat Guy

Piri Piri Chicken

Yield: 4 servings

Piri Piri Chicken


  • 1 kg (2 pound) whole frying chicken
  • 50 ml (1/4 cup) melted butter
  • 50 ml (1/4 cup) olive oil
  • 25 ml (2 tablespoons) bottled lemon juice
  • 15 ml to 45 ml (1 to 3 tablespoons) Sriracha sauce depending on desired heat
  • 7 ml (1 1/2) teaspoon paprika
  • 2 ml (1/2 teaspoon) ground coriander
  • 10 ml (2 teaspoons) finely chopped garlic
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 10 ml (2 teaspoons) dried parsley or 25 ml (2 tablespoons) chopped fresh parsley
  • 5 ml (1 teaspoon) ground ginger
  • 2 ml (1/2 teaspoon) fresh ground pepper


  1. Put all ingredients except chicken in a blender or food processor. Mix until a paste is formed, scraping sides often.
  2. Divide the paste into two halves.
  3. Spatchcock the chicken by cutting the back bone out and removing the breast bone.
  4. Rub half of the paste under the skin of the breast and thigh and over all surfaces of the chicken.
  5. Cover loosely and put it in the fridge for 7 to 24 hours.
  6. Put the chicken in a preheated smoker or on a rack over a tray in the oven at 350 F.
  7. Microwave the remaining half of the paste to make it liquid.
  8. After 15 minutes, brush the chicken with the liquefied paste and turn.
  9. Cook for an hour in total, turning and brushing every 15 minutes.
  10. Use an instant read thermometer to make sure the thickest part of the thigh and breast meat is at least 165 F.
  11. Let the chicken sit for 10 minutes.
  12. Cut into pieces and serve.
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