Monday, April 27, 2015


Portuguese chicken is a favorite at our house.  It is great roasted in the oven or on the grill - it is moist, tender, yummy and spicy all at once.  Because you butterfly a whole chicken it cooks evenly.
The first thing to do is to get a good quality whole chicken - I happen to love these chickens from Trader Joe's.
It is really easy to butterfly the chicken - the most important thing is to have a sharp knife and sharp shears.  After washing and patting dry the chicken, turn it over and using the tail as a guide  you can see where to cut out the backbone.
Once the backbone is cut out just turn the chicken over and you can see the breast/keel bone, using the knife slice it open and you can cut around and remove the bone.
Now you have this beautiful, butterflied whole chicken.  Trim off any excess skin, etc.  I also like to cut out the rib bones when I cut out the breast bone.  It's that easy - a couple of cuts and now the chicken is ready for the marinade and you can either cook on the grill or in the oven.
I like to place my chicken on a rack over a Silpat mat on a cookie sheet.  Brush the marinade on both sides and place in a 425 ° hot oven.

Here is a link to a YouTube video showing how to butterfly the chicken: 

Roast the chicken for approximately 45 minutes - turn once and baste the back, then turn again and baste the top for the last few minutes.  You will need to take the chicken out of the oven and be careful when you turn to baste. As I mentioned one of the best things about this chicken whether you are roasting in the oven or cooking on the BBQ is that by butterflying the chicken it cooks evenly.
Here it is rested and ready to be served with pilaf, green beans and salad.

Portuguese Chicken Recipe

1 Medium to large whole chicken


4 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
5 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
 1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp Jerk seasoning
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp hot paprika
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp salt
4 packages sweet n' low

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine and using a pastry brush, brush both sides of the chicken, place in the oven and brush again after a few minutes, then take out of the oven and turn over and brush the back and let cook for a little more and then remove again and brush on the top one final time.  Because it is such a hot oven this will be done in 40-45 minutes, depending on your oven and the size of the chicken.

Cooks Notes:  Most recipes for this chicken (called Piri Piri, I think) will call for red pepper flakes so I have tweaked this recipe and eliminated the flakes but added the hot paprika - some recipes call for corriander which I don't use but I added the Jerk seasoning just because I like the flavor and I added the sweetner because I think it balances the vinegar. As I have said before - unless it is baking, most recipes are a "suggestion" to me.

Thank you for stopping by.



    1. Thank you Anonymous. This is delicious chicken and really cooks better than any other way we have ever roasted or BBQ'ed chicken. If you do not like spicy you could just use the lemon, oil, salt, garlic and a combination of whatever spices you like - I think some oriental spices would be good too - like five spice, etc. Thank you for stopping by.