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Homemade BBQ peri peri chicken is what’s going on at AnotherFoodBlogger’s house and on the weber kettle right now. The sauce is smokey from charring the veg on the bbq, spicy from all that chili and balanced out with the acidity from the lemon juice and sherry vinegar. Marinade your chook overnight if possible and baste it during the cook and TRUST ME you shan’t be disappointed!
I’m sitting at the office desk AKA dining room table staring out the window trying to find inspiration. The last few weeks/days my little terrorist has been waking me up at 3am. Don’t they understand I need to sleep off my alcohol intake from the previous night? How else will I calm my nerves after a day of playing in the park, playing babies, begging them to eat some food or drink some water. Let’s not forget about the daily sun cream struggle here in Brisbane!! People sometimes ask what’s the secret to being a stay at home parent. Well here it is. Red wine is my 1st answer, followed by white wine being my 2nd and bubbly coming in a close third 😉
I can already feel today is gonna be a pinot noir day. It’s POURING rain today and doesn’t look like it’s gonna let up all week. It’s much needed rain at the moment but boy does it SUCK being stuck indoors all day playing babies!! Luckily I’m being given 15 minutes to write this rant. I’m on minute 11 so probably best I get back to the topic at hand – bbq peri peri chicken!!
WHAT IS PERI PERI?
When we think of peri peri most people jump straight to Portugal and the Portuguese chain Nando’s. Their worldwide chain has brought chicken to many and now their range of sauces are found in most grocery stores too. For the “younger generation” who probably think that these guys created peri peri – sorry to say they didn’t! There are many fights around the world as to whose national dish it is. The truth is it originated in Africa, Mozambique to be exact. Their use of the African birds eye chili and cooking over charcoal was the backbone of this cracking dish. The Portuguese who weren’t adapt at cooking over charcoal discovered this method of cooking and marinading chicken and it was soon taken back to Portugal where they added acidity like lemon & garlic too it. Over in South Africa they will claim it’s their national dish and that knowing how to cook peri peri is a right of passage. They talk about it’s not just the cooking style but the sauce, marinade and basting too that makes the chicken dish what it is.
Nowadays though people (including yours truly) have taken the basis of the dish and put their own twists on it. Some people add red win vinegar, others more lemon. Some add red pepper/capsicum to balance out the heat where others will lather on the hot African chilis. Most dishes we see on restaurant menus or on the interweb are adaptations of the original but DAMN tasty nonetheless. I hope you enjoy my version!!
So clearly it’s ALL about the chilis! My version uses a mix of the African red chili which is pretty darn hot. Not as hot as the infamous ghost pepper but packs 175,000 units on the scoville scale.
By adding onion and red pepper/capsicum to mine it mellows the chili out a little. I like to grill my veggies to begin with to bring out that smokey charred flavour. Hit it with oregano, garlic, ginger, lemon juice, olive oil and a splash of red wine vinegar. The beauty of the sauce is it’s simplicity – just blend it all up! You can use the sauce straight away but I find leaving it 30 minutes to 1 hour really helps everything come together a little better. It kinda gives the spices a chance to sort themselves out after being churned about in the blender. At this point you can use the sauce to drip chicken in, dunk some potatoes or in the case of peri peri chicken mariande!
MARINATING YOUR BIRD (CHOOK/CHICKEN)
This is key. Granted you can often just grill a piece of meat and add sauce on the side or chuck it in sauce afterwards to get the flavour BUT in dishes like this, fried chicken, chicken wings etc it’s best to marinade in advance. By adding a marinade to your meat whether it’s salt, a brine, buttermilk or a peri peri sauce you will add extra layers of flavour and help tenderize the meat. This helps to make it moister and juicier. After all that’s the aim when cooking isn’t it? That is unless you are a well done kinda person…………………….no comment!!
For me, I like to slice a little into the chicken, not to deep but just a small slice. Rub the chicken in 1/3 of the sauce and place it on a tray covered in clingfilm or into a ziplock bag. I try my best to do this overnight – that way when I wanna cook the next day I’m ready to go! In this recipe you can cook the chicken whole, use it for chicken thighs or drumstricks but my favourite way to do it these days is to spatchcock the chicken. Take the back bone out of the chicken and lay it flat. You will need a VERY sharp set of kitchen scissors but nowadays most butchers or markets will either sell it spatchcocked or are happy to do it for you.
GRILLING & BASTING BBQ PERI PERI CHICKEN
This is where it’s at. You have done the hard work by making a kick ass homemade peri peri sauce no point in ruining it. Firstly split the remainder of your peri peri sauce into 2 jars. One is to baste during the cook and the other to finish the cooked chicken with. You may have figured it out already but if not……… One you baste with is going onto raw chicken so it will get cooked in your oven/bbq where as the other will be added at the end to finish the cooked chicken. Therefore no contamination!
PERSONALLY when making a dish like this it’s best done over the bbq. More importantly a charcoal bbq. You honestly can’t beat the flavour and juiciness of chicken cooked correctly over coals. I’ve got a gas bbq too for quick cooks when I’m feeling lazy and it does a cracking job too but charcoal all the way for me. If you aren’t fortunate enough to live in sunny Queensland where you can bbq pretty much everyday then the oven will defo work too.
Basting – during the cooking process using a basting brush add some of the peri peri sauce to both the top and bottom of the chicken. This allows the flavours to enhance and keep the meat moist. The final layer of sauce is to make sure you get that sticky, spicy glaze that will hit you with a punch of deliciousness.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH BBQ PERI PERI CHICKEN
Keep it simple with this one. For me I like to continue the bbq/outdoor theme so I did a little coriander yoghurt which helped balance out the spice without taking over, some pickled onions and a sprinkle of coriander garnish. On the side some grill veggie skewers would work a treat, maybe some grilled corn or even a simple salad. Often peri peri chicken can be served as a sandwich or wrapped in pita too. Rice is a good starch to have with the chicken drizzled with extra sauce of course 😉 or even some crispy smashed potatoes would be killer. The aim of the game is to keep the accompaniments simple and complimentary. You have such great bold flavours with bbq peri peri chicken that you don’t want the sides to take over!
ALTERNATIVE BBQ CHICKEN RECIPES & BBQ CHICKEN SAUCES
Grilled Chicken w/ Corn & Avo Salad by Yours Truly
Honey Chipotle BBQ Sauce by Kellie Hemmerly of ‘The Suburban Soapbox’
Blackberry BBQ Sauce by Cynthia McCloud Woodman of ‘What a Girl Eats’
Indonesian Cantaloupe BBQ Sauce Chicken by Mireille Roc of ‘The Schizo Chef’
Grilled Chicken Satay Sandwich by Yours Truly
BBQ Chicken Pizza by Susie Anderson Williams of ‘We Are Not Martha’
Pineapple Glazed Chicken Wings by Yours Truly
Baked BBQ Chicken Legs & Thighs by Kelly Anthony of ‘The Anthony Kitchen’
Happy Cooking and Happy Eating Friends!!
- 1 whole chicken spatchcocked
Peri Peri Sauce
- 2 red peppers / capsicums
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/2 tsp ginger grated
- 1 tsp oregano
- 2 tbsp lemon
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 4 red cayenne chilis
- 2 African birds eye chilis
- 1/2 onion
- 150 ml olive oil
Peri Peri Sauce
- Grill the onion, chilis and red peppers on a bbq or grill pan until charred (5-10 minutes).
- Remove seeds from peppers and slice, slice onion and slice up chilis too (removing pith if you don't want it too spicy).
- Place all peri peri sauce ingredients in a blender and blend into a paste. Adding more olive oil if necessary. Allow to cool and refrigerate until use.
- Once sauce has cooled split it into 3 equal amounts. 1 to marinade the chicken, 1 to baste the chicken with and the other to finish the cooked chicken with.
- Rub the marinade all over the chicken and leave to marinate 1 hour but overnight if possible.
- On a charcoal bbq grill on indirect heat @ 160c for 45 minutes, basting twice. Then char it on direct heat for the final 10 - 15 minutes until the internal temp of the thigh/leg is 75c (see tips/tricks)
- Once cooked add a final coating of per peri sauce and ENJOY!!
- bbq/grill pan (for veggies)
- chopping board
- chef knives
- measuring utensils
- basting brush
- when working with chili peppers removing the inner white pith/membrane will soften the spice level of the chili
- when cooking it's important to measure the thigh/leg over the breast for temperature and to make sure not to touch the bone with the thermometer.
- In this recipe I like to cook chicken at a lower temp on indirect heat to keep the bird moist and then char it over coals afterwards. You can cook it at a higher heat over coals or in the oven which will cook the chicken a little quicker - approx 45 minutes cook time.
- When asking the butcher to spatchcock the chicken also ask them to remove the breast bone. Makes for a quicker cooktime and easier to eat too!