Pollo a las Brasas (Charcoal-Grilled Chicken on a Stick) Recipe

Chicken on a Stick
Marty Snortum


  • 4 half chickens, 1-1 ¼ pounds each
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 guajillo chiles, toasted, seeded, and finely chopped or ground
  • 12 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon whole toasted cumin
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, chopped or 1 tablespoon toasted Mexican oregano
  • 2 sticks cinnamon, lightly crushed (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons whole allspice, lightly cracked (optional)
  • 2/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil

A simple way to cook chicken over the coals outdoors, pollo a las brasas uses sticks or large skewers to control the distance of the chicken from the heat. This version is from Sinaloa on the Pacific Coast in northwest Mexico and uses citrus, chiles, garlic, and spices as a marinade. Originally cooked over an open fire, this dish can also be made using a grill, smoker, rotisserie, or indoor oven. The sticks are optional. 

Polla a las Brasas accompanied by a salsa fresca, white rice, some charred jalapeño or poblano chiles, and fresh lime, avocado, and homemade flour tortillas is a combination relished throughout the country. 

Click here to see 7 Simple Grilling Recipes for Father's Day.


Rinse the chickens and pat dry. Arrange in a non-reactive pan and season with the salt and pepper.

Combine the remaining ingredients and cover the chicken with the mixture. Cover the pan and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 12 hours.

Remove from the refrigerator ½ hour before cooking. Skewer if desired.

Cook over a low-heat charcoal fire or indirect heat in a covered grill or smoker, turning frequently (every 7-10 minutes), until chicken is cooked through, approximately 1 ½-2 hours. 


Calories per serving:

2,620 calories

Dietary restrictions:

Low Carb Sugar Conscious, Specific Carbs, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Wheat Free, Egg Free, Milk Free, Peanut Free, Tree Nut Free, Soy Free, Fish Free, Shellfish Free, Alcohol Free, No Sugar Added

Daily value:



  • Fat 748g 1,151%
  • Carbs 30g 10%
  • Saturated 202g 1,009%
  • Fiber 3g 12%
  • Trans 5g
  • Sugars 4g
  • Monounsaturated 327g
  • Polyunsaturated 158g
  • Protein 858g 1,717%
  • Cholesterol 3,445mg 1,148%
  • Sodium 7,882mg 328%
  • Calcium 632mg 63%
  • Magnesium 956mg 239%
  • Potassium 9,133mg 261%
  • Iron 44mg 244%
  • Zinc 61mg 406%
  • Phosphorus 6,849mg 978%
  • Vitamin A 1,918µg 213%
  • Vitamin C 134mg 224%
  • Thiamin (B1) 3mg 192%
  • Riboflavin (B2) 6mg 330%
  • Niacin (B3) 313mg 1,566%
  • Vitamin B6 17mg 831%
  • Folic Acid (B9) 296µg 74%
  • Vitamin B12 14µg 237%
  • Vitamin D 9µg 2%
  • Vitamin E 26mg 132%
  • Vitamin K 77µg 96%
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