Peruvian Roast Chicken

Remember Sunday dinners? Everybody gathered around the table over a big ol’ hunk of meat with mashed potatoes, gravy, and pie for dessert. A meal so good it often required a nap and almost made it worth having to get up and go to church first.

While today it’s just the two of us (and we don’t get pie for lunch anymore), I still like the idea of making a big meal on Sunday and then having the leftovers for lunches or weeknight meals. So, when my dear wife found this MONSTER roaster chicken on sale, we knew that it would make the perfect Sunday dinner.

1 (6-8 pound) roaster chicken
1/3 cup soy sauce
Juice of 1 lime (about 1/4 cup)
6 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (or better yet, Achiote oil)

Rinse the chicken inside and out. Remove the giblets and any excess fat, then pat dry with paper towels. Put the chicken into a large zip-top bag.

Toss the garlic in a food processor and pulse until finely minced. Add the soy sauce, lime juice, cumin, paprika, pepper, and oil and give it a whirl to combine. Pour the marinade over the chicken, turning to coat. Squeeze the air out of the bag, seal it, and stash in the fridge while you get the grill ready.

Set your grill up for an indirect cook at 400°F. On the Big Green Egg, I use about half a fire box full of lump charcoal, an inverted plate setter to diffuse the heat, and put a trivet on the plate setter for the roasting pan.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and put breast side up on a rack set in a shallow roasting pan (an old 9×13 cake pan works fine).  Pour the remaining marinade over the chicken and then add about a cup of water to the pan.

Put the roaster full of bird (it’s so big it looks like a turkey, doesn’t it?) on the trivet. Close the lid and let the bird roast for 40 minutes.

Flip the bird breast side down and cook for another 20 minutes. Then flip breast side up and start checking for doneness by measuring in the temperature of the thickest part of the thigh. While the chicken is done at 160°F, I like to let it go until the thighs are at least 180 to 200°F, depending on how crispy the skin is getting. On a bird this big, I don’t really worry about the breast drying out too much.

This beast of a bird took 90 minutes to cook. I removed it from the heat and let it rest for 15 minutes before carving. I served it with some Crack Sauce, black beans, and sauteed peppers for a south-of-the-border feel.

The Verdict: ★★★★★
This was a truly wonderful roast chicken – juicy, tender, just a little smoky, and very flavorful. What makes it Peruvian? Heck if I know. The crack sauce is impressive and makes this dish unique, but the chicken itself was just straight-up good. Without the sauce it just tasted like great roast chicken with no real hint of cuisine or country of origin.

I haven’t done a lot of big roasters like this one, but really like the way they cook up. There is way more meat on one of these versus a regular chicken and the large amount of breast meat means that it takes longer to cook, so I get fall-apart dark meat and juicy white meat.

The Nutrition: Leave off the sauce and it’s just chicken – 1 Weight Watcher’s Point per ounce of skinless white meat and 2 points per ounce for skinless dark meat.

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