South American Roast Chicken

Summer and barbecued chicken go hand in hand. The open flame was made for bird on the bone, to keep it moist and succulent. Flattening, or butterflying, the chicken aids in keeping it moist by greatly reducing the cooking time. Another trick that I learned was place a hefty salt rub under the skin. This in effect brines the meat, keeping the juices locked in by the laws of chemistry.

Deconstructed Southwestern Chicken

Deconstructed South American Roast Chicken and sides.  Pop it on the barbecue and serve with warm tortillas and your best guacamole for a light summer’s meal.

We prefer the flavours of Valli Little’s South American Roasted Chicken. The slightly smoky paprika and cumin mature magnificently over the open flame, or gas in our case. Serve it up in thick slices and let everyone make mini tacos with fresh tortillas, your best guacamole and homemade salsa. Add some simple sides like frijoles and some grilled corn for a light finish to a hot day. Enjoy my friends.

South American Roast Chicken

  • Servings: 4 hungry adults
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Succulent grilled chicken evokes the flavours of South America.


Required skills: forward planning so you can marinade the chicken; barbecuing at low temperatures.

You need to plan ahead with this dish as it must marinade overnight. I like to get it started while Stuart and the boys are doing the dinner dishes. This has the added benefit of lessening the “What’s for dinner?” inquisition to “Oooh, that chicken tomorrow night.”🤓

This recipe was adapted to be Migraine-friendly from Valli Little’s original recipe that you can find here.

You'll Need

  • 5 cloves of garlic roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp high quality rock or flake sea salt
  • 1 free to roam whole chicken flattened. Ask your butcher to flatten or see this video.
  • 1 lime
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 2 tbsp smoky paprika
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • Juice of ½ lemon and preservative free apple juice to make 100ml
  • Mortar and pedestal
  • Non-metallic dish that can hold the flatten chicken and marinade or a large ziploc bag
  • BBQ grill
  • Basting brush


  1. Pound the garlic with 1 tsp of sea salt in a mortar and pedestal into a paste.chopped garlic and saltgarlic and salt paste
  2. Rub the outside of the chicken with the cut side of the lime.
  3. Carefully run your hand under the skin of the chicken taking care not to tear the skin of the chicken (video here). Rub the garlic-salt paste into the meat of the chicken under the skin.
  4. Place the vinegar, oil, paprika, cumin, oregano and apple-juice lemon mixture into a bowl and whisk.
  5. Pour marinade over the chicken in either it’s dish or ziploc bag. Ensure it is coated well. Refrigerate overnight. In the morning flip the chicken 180 degrees so that the other side is mostly in the marinade.
  6. Heat the grill on high heat and then bring down to a medium heat.
  7. Remove the chicken from the marinade reserving the marinade.
  8. Place the chicken on the grill skin side down over the fire/coals and brown well to crisp up the skin, about 15 min.
  9. Baste undercarriage with marinade and flip chicken. Baste grilled side with marinade. Turn down heat to low or move to indirect cooking if over a fire. Close the lid.
  10. Baste chicken every 15 min with more marinade and cook for an additional 30-45 minutes until cooked through and the juices run clear when the thigh is pierced.
  11. Remove from BBQ and allow to rest covered in baking paper and a towel for 15 minutes.
  12. Serve with warm tortillas, homemade guacamole and some refried beans.

So my friends, what is your favourite filling for tortillas?

Informed by science, cooked by you.

9 thoughts on “South American Roast Chicken

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