Peri Peri Grilled Chicken
Why This Recipe Works
The first step in making this spicy African grilled chicken dish is producing perfectly cooked meat and crisp skin. To do this, we add plenty of salt to the spice rub and let the chicken sit overnight, which seasons the meat throughout and helps it stay juicy and moist when cooked. We then set up the grill with a cooler side and a hotter side, as well as a pan of water to help regulate the temperature. After rendering the skin and charring it on the hotter side, we move the chicken to the cooler side to finish cooking gently, placing the dark meat closer to the heat and the white meat farther away. The next step is giving the chicken robust flavor. We start with a paste of garlic, shallot, bay leaves, lemon zest and juice, and pepper. Five-spice powder, tomato paste, and finely chopped peanuts give the dish complexity, depth, and richness. Finally, we use more commonly available—and just as fruity-tasting—arbol chiles, along with some cayenne pepper, in place of hard-to-find peri peri peppers, including a range to accommodate different heat-level preferences.