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el pollo “what”?

When my kids were young, there was a chain of restaurants called El Pollo Asado, in our area. I don’t know what happened to them or exactly when they went away. But we really loved their chicken.

Lorts BackyardPhoto credit – stolen from Ty’s Facebook page

Fast forward to this past Sunday when I was over at my cousin, Ty, and his wife Michelle’s, home for potluck Basketball & BBQ.  Since it was a smaller crowd than they’ve had in the past, Ty brought in chicken instead of grilling.

Three it was – that chicken we loved so much – way back when.

oil and citrus

Ty said he got the chicken from El Pollo Asado, but when I went to look up the location, I could only find El Pollo Loco. I’m guessing that is what he meant, and where he bought the chicken.

I decided to try and recreate it at home.

This comes pretty close. Not exactly that same distinctive flavor – but close enough – in a pinch.

P.S. Ignore the fact that in the photo above, I have only 2 oranges and 3 limes. I flipped that ratio after the photo was taken and conveniently forgot to take another picture. Please forgive.


Pollo Asado

1/3 cup olive oil
3 oranges, sliced in half
3 lemons, sliced in half
2 limes, sliced in half
4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 onion, peeled and cut into 6 wedges
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
8 chicken leg quarters (which are the drumsticks and thighs attached) rinsed under cold running water and patted dry with paper towels

save citrus

In a 2-cup glass measuring cup, combine the olive oil and the juices from the oranges, lemons, and limes; reserve the juiced-out citrus halves.

Whisk in the garlic, salt, pepper, and cumin.


Divide the chicken leg quarters, the juiced-out citrus halves, and the onion wedges between two large (gallon size) plastic ziplock bags.

in the bag

Whisk the marinade again and then evenly divide it between the two bags. Zip the bags closed and toss to combine. Refrigerate.


Marinate for at least 6 hours or up to overnight. Longer is better! Toss and turn over the bags several times throughout the marinating process.

Preheat broiler to high. Arrange the oven racks on the bottom two levels of the oven.

skinside down

Lay four chicken quarters, skin side down, and 3 of the onion wedges on a broiler pan or on a rack set over a baking sheet. Place the other four leg quarters and remaining onion wedges on another broiler pan or rack over a baking sheet. Save the marinade.

Place the pans in the oven, one on each oven rack.

Broil for 12 minutes; switch the position of the pans on the oven racks. Broil for another 12 minutes.

after 24 minutes

Turn the chicken pieces over and brush with the marinade, then again change the position of the pans on the oven racks. Broil for another 12 minutes.

Change positions one last time and broil for a final 12 minutes (for a total of 48 minutes of cooking time), or until the juices run clear when poked with a knife between the joint of the leg and the thigh.

The skin should be blackened and crispy and the inside moist and juicy.

Serves 8

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1 Sharon { 10.16.13 at 8:02 AM }

I thought they also used pineapple juice? I loved their chicken but loved their cole slaw with marshmallows even more. Will try the recipe tonight. Looking forward to it. The photo looks luscious.

2 Linda Hopkins { 10.16.13 at 8:15 AM }

Sharon, please add pineapple juice to your batch and let us know how it turns out… I think that may be what mine was missing. If you think it works, I’ll adjust the recipe. Thanks!

3 Bobbi gisler { 05.21.20 at 4:24 PM }

How about the recipe for the coleslaw.

4 Linda Hopkins { 05.21.20 at 8:24 PM }

Hi Bobbi, I don’t have a recipe for the El Pollo Loco coleslaw because I don’t like coleslaw, never order it and to figure out a recipe, I have to not only examine it but taste it. Sorry!

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