Pollo Asado means roasted/grilled Chicken and it's one of the tastiest ways to make chicken.
The secret is in the marinade; a blend of citrus, spices and chili that gives this chicken amazing color, taste and texture.
You can make this recipe in many different ways; you can use the grill, the oven and the air fryer. I love the air fryer because it the chicken cooks evenly and fast, it turns out juicy and chicken skin is super crispy.
Why brine a chicken? To infuse it with flavor and keep the chicken moist.
A brine is a salty liquid that we use to submerge the chicken anywhere from 4 to up to 24 hours.
For this recipe I brined the chicken overnight, I love the that brining the chicken gives it an even taste throughout but the citrus marinade alone will do.
If you have the extra time to spare I highly recommend brining the chicken overnight.
The brine is simple, you could probably use it for turkey as well and it will work perfectly. This blend includes salt, sugar, garlic and rosemary.
You can brine your chicken for a minimun of 4 hours but preferably overnight.
Pollo Asado citrus marinade
Here is the secret sauce! This marinade is what makes the chicken outstanding and here is why.
- Adding citrus to your chicken/poultry removes that characteristic after taste that sometimes chicken has and that is very notorious when you re heat it. With this marinade you will minimize it!
- Using mild chili powder helps give color and smoky flavor to the chicken. You will create a golden/orange crust full of flavor.
- The use of onion, garlic and cilantro adds aroma and flavor to the chicken.
What to eat with Pollo Asado
Pollo asado is great on its own but the possibilities are endless. Think of a rotisserie chicken but a much more smoky and citrusy flavor. It works great in dishes like the following:
How to roast a whole chicken
For this recipe I used a whole chicken. Fist you need to remove the giblets and the neck and back bone of the chicken.
Remove any excess fat before submerging the chicken in the brine.
I found my whole chicken at ALDI and scored it on sale, which was a great deal for an organic young chicken (Foster Farms brand).
You could also use this recipe with chicken tights and chicken breast.
If I were to use chicken pieces instead of a whole chicken, I would probably brine it for a shorter amount of time or skip the brine and just cover the chicken with the marinade.
This chicken was about 5 pounds and took about 1 hour to roast in the air fryer. However the best way to tell your chicken is cooked is a meat thermometer which should read 165 Fahrenheit.
In order to get the meat throughly cooked, you would want to place the chicken breast side down first. This ensures that the high heat cooks the meat without burning it.
You'd want a golden, crispy skin that is dark in color with some crusty pieces throughout.
I personally don't eat the chicken skin, although delicious, I prefer to save those calories for dessert.
However do not remove the skin before cooking the chicken, the skin acts as a protective layer that allows you to cook at very high temperature without burning or drying out the inside of the bird.
Air Fryer Pollo Asado (Grilled Chicken)
- Air Fryer
- 4 cups water
- ½ cup salt (kosher preffered)
- ⅓ cup white sugar
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- 3 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 Rosemary springs or 1 teaspoon dried
- 2 Thyme springs or 1 teaspoon dried
- 4 cups water with ice
Pollo Asado Chicken Marinade
- 1 cup orange juice fresh juice preferred
- ½ small yellow onion
- 3 cilantro springs
- 1 Tablespoon Chipotle powder or 1 small chipotle in adobo
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup Avocado oil
- Bring the 4 cups of water to a boil, add the salt, white sugar, brown sugar, minced garlic, oregano, rosemary and thyme.
- Once boiling, remove water from the heat and let it come to room temperature for about 1 hour.
- Add the water with ice and allow it to melt.
- Add the chicken to a large bowl and add the cooled brine. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight, no longer than 24 hours.
Pollo Asado Chicken Marinade
- Using an inmersion blender add the orange juice, onion, cilantro, chipotle and salt. Blend until well incorporated.
- With the blender still running, start pouring the avocado oil slowly until the marinade emulsifies and becomes thicker in texture.
- Set aside until ready to roast your chicken.
- Remove the chicken from the brine and add the chicken marinade. Make sure to get the chicken well covered in the marinade, loosen the chicken skin a bit with your fingers and spread the marinade in between the skin and the meat.
- Refrigerate the chicken in the citrus marinade for at least 20 minutes
- Preheat the air fryer at 375°F for 10-15 minutes
- Place the chicken in the air fryer basket breast side down. Air Fry for 25-30 minutes checking for a golden brown color at the 25 minute mark.
- Flip the chicken breast side up and cook until internal temperature reads 160°F and skin is crispy and golden in color
Recipe Notes and Tips
As I mentioned you could skip the brine and just use the marinade for 2-4 hours. Make sure you add more salt to the marinade if you skip the brine. I would add 1 tablespoon of kosher salt.
You could use any oil in the marinade but avocado oil is a healthy and high temperature resistant oil.