El Pollo Loco Chicken - 067

Someone recently mentioned on the GrillinFools Facebook page that they were doing an El Pollo Loco chicken recipe.  After a google search I found a bunch of recipes and combined a couple into one of my own, so here is my version of El Pollo Loco chicken.


½ cup olive oil
¼ shallots, minced
1 tbsp green onion, minced
2 tbsp garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
¼ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp ancho powder
juice of one lemon
juice of one orange
1 chicken, cut into parts
2 tbsp butter

El Pollo Loco Chicken - 003
The Ingredients


Combine all ingredients except the butter and refrigerate over night:

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The Marinade Mixed
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Chicken Ready for the Fridge

For this recipe, prepare the grill for two zone grilling, heat on one side and nothing on the other.  As I will be doing this on a Char-Broil Tru Infrared, I will turn the burners on the right side on and leave the left off (you could do the inverse if you like).  I set the burners I turned on to medium high heat.

I removed the chicken from the bags and kept the remainder of the marinade:

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Chicken Ready for the Grill and the Marinade Off to the Side

I put the marinade in a pot with the butter and brought to a simmer. Since my Char-Broil Infrared has a side burner, I did this outside:

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Making the Brush on Sauce

Prior to making the grilled chicken, when I was simmering the sauce, I noticed that I had a very nervous observer in that plant pot next to my grill:

The Bird
One Nervous Dove

Anyone got any dove recipes?

First, I put the thighs on the grill:

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Why the Thighs First?

Some of you are asking why not put all the chicken on at the same time? Because it takes the thighs the longest to cook. But aren’t the breasts bigger? They are, but they have far less fat and cook much more quickly. When doing grilled chicken, always put the thighs on first.

Normally I sear the thighs on both sides before I put the breasts on, but the breasts were so huge I seared the thighs on one side and then put the breasts on:

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Breasts and Thighs on the Grill

Guess who didn’t clean his grill before he put the chicken on?  I lost some of the skin on one of the thighs.

Once the thighs are seared on each side, I moved them to the side with no heat to bake while the chicken breasts continued to cook:

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Breasts Searing, Thighs Baking

The breasts are browning up nicely:

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Browned Breast

Yes, I cross hatched my grilled chicken breasts:

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Cross Hatch Breast

Once the chicken breasts are seared on each side put them over with the thighs and hit them with the brush on sauce:

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Brush with the Sauce

Then I threw on the wings and legs:

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Sear the Wings and Legs

When the grilled chicken reaches 155-160 degrees internal temperature, take off the heat and allow to rest for a couple minutes where it will continue to cook a little:

El Pollo Loco Chicken - 083

For such a simple grilled chicken recipe, I really enjoyed this, The El Pollo Loco chicken had layer upon layer of flavor.  About the only change I would make is maybe hit it with a little more heat.  Spice, not temperature. A minced jalapeno in the marinade next time, but it’s good enough to stand on its own.

Many El Polo Loco chicken recipes call for yellow food coloring to be added to the marinade. I added the food coloring to half of the chicken (hence the two bags near the top) and put a breast, leg, thigh and wing in each bag. Can you see any difference between the two legs, two thighs, or two breasts? The wings were part of the quality control test by the griller before plating for the final shot so you can’t judge the color of those 😉

If you have any questions, feel free to leave them below or shoot me an email.

If you would like this El Pollo Loco chicken recipe, and would like other grilling recipes with chicken, click here.

Also, you can follow the Grillin Fools on their Facebook page where you can post your own grilling pictures, share a grilling recipe or two, or join the general grilling conversation.  Also, you can follow them on Twitter @GrillinFool

El Pollo Loco Chicken Grillin' Fools Style
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: BBQ
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
Chicken breasts prepared El Polo Loco Style and grilled
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼ shallots, minced
  • 1 tbsp green onion, minced
  • 2 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp ancho powder
  • juice of one lemon
  • juice of one orange
  • 1 chicken, cut into parts
  • 2 tbsp butter
  1. Combine all ingredients except the butter and refrigerate in a resealable plastic bag over night
  2. Remove from the marinade but do not wipe the sauce off
  3. Pour the rest of the marinade in an small sauce pan with the butter and simmer for a few minutes
  4. Prepare the grill for two zone grilling, heat on one side and nothing on the other
  5. Put the thighs on the grill
  6. Sear the thighs on one side, flip and then place the breasts on the grill
  7. Once the thighs are seared on both sides, move to the side with no heat while the breasts continue to grill over the heat
  8. Once the breasts are seared on both sides, put over to the side with no heat, and brush on the simmering sauce
  9. Place the legs and wings on the hot side of the grill and sear on both sides
  10. Once seared on both sides, place on the side with no heat, slather with the sauce and close the lid
  11. When the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160-165, remove from the heat, plate and allow to rest for a few minutes
  12. Serve

Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas, the Original Grillin’ Fool, was sent off to college with a suitcase and a grill where he overcooked, undercooked and burned every piece of meat he could find. After thousands of failures, and quite a few successes, nearly two decades later he started a website to show step by step, picture by picture, foolproof instructions on how to make great things out of doors so that others don’t have to repeat the mistakes he’s made on the grill.
Scott Thomas


https://t.co/lVWgniik3V - #GrillPorn abounds here. All meat, all the time!
Dinner last night. Massive cowboy rib eye! Pic and steak courtesy of me! . . . #Grill #Grihttps://t.co/1ZkPga1SV1 https://t.co/qXDngUUAFL - 2 hours ago
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one comment

LMAO over the dove picture, that is hilarious!


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