Fresh-Pressed Olive Oil Club

Portuguese Barbecued Chicken (Frango no Churrasco)

Portuguese Barbecued Chicken (Frango no Churrasco)

Centuries ago, the seafaring Portuguese established trade routes throughout the world, an endeavor that brought them into contact with many exotic foods. Among them was a potent little chile called piri-piri. Today, incendiary piri-piri sauce is a popular condiment in Portugal and on the African continent. If you can’t find it in the international aisle of your local supermarket, it is available online.


  • One 3 1/2 to 4 pound chicken, preferably organic, giblets removed
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • Sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons piri-piri sauce or your favorite hot sauce, plus extra for serving
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Sprigs of parsley, for garnish
  • Lemon wedges, for garnish


Step 1

Light a grill, set it up for indirect grilling, and preheat to medium-high. (Alternatively, the chicken can be roasted in a 400°F oven on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Cooking time will be 45 to 50 minutes—the same as if the bird was grilled indirectly.)

Step 2

Butterfly the chicken: Using a sharp knife or kitchen shears, remove the backbone from the bird. Turn the chicken skin side up and gently flatten it with the palm of your hand. Transfer to a rimmed sheet pan.

Step 3

On a cutting board, smash the garlic cloves with the flat of a knife. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of salt and mince the garlic to a paste. Add the garlic and salt to a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Add the paprika, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, and piri-piri sauce, cover, and shake vigorously. Pour about 2 tablespoons of the mixture over the chicken and use your hands to rub it on both sides. (You’ll use the remainder as a baste after the chicken has cooked for 30 minutes.) Season the chicken with freshly ground black pepper.

Step 4

Arrange the chicken skin-side up directly on the grill grate away from direct heat. Close the grill lid. After 30 minutes, baste the bird with the olive oil mixture. Replace the lid and continue to roast the chicken for 15 to 20 minutes more, basting once or twice, until the bird is golden brown and cooked through. (There is no need to flip the chicken as it’s being grilled over indirect heat.) The internal temperature of the thickest part of the thigh should be 165°F when read on an instant-read thermometer.

Step 5

Transfer the chicken to a clean sheet pan. Let it rest for 5 minutes before carving. Arrange on a platter or plates and garnish with parsley and lemon wedges. The dish is especially nice when served with rice and/or a green salad.

Serves 4 — Recipe adapted from