Posted on 05 May 2017 Back

This Delicious Barbecued Piri Piri Chicken Will Surely Make Your Day!

This piri piri chicken recipe is perfect for a summer barbecue. Chef Helen Graves uses the simple technique of spatchcocking her chicken before grilling it on the barbecue, to ensure it cooks quickly and evenly. The homemade piri piri marinade beats any shop-bought version hands-down.

This is a fantastic recipe for the barbecue, based on the Portugese piri piri preparation. Don’t be put off by the amount of chillies or vinegar here, they mellow out as the chicken cooks, forming an addictive sour and spicy glaze.

Serve with a green salad and chips or rice.


  • 1.7kg chicken, preferably organic
  • 1 tbsp. of salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 10 red chillies, the long, thin variety
  • 5 bird's eye chillies
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. of dried oregano
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tbsp of sweet smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp of brown sugar
  • 100ml of oil
  • 225ml of vinegar


First make the marinade. Crush the salt with the bay leaves in a pestle and mortar until you have something resembling a powder.

Combine in a blender with the chillies, oregano, garlic, sweet paprika and sugar. Blend to combine. Add the vinegar and oil and blend again to create a marinade.

Spatchcock the chicken by removing the backbone. To do this, place the bird breast-side down on a board with the tail towards you. Using a strong pair of scissors or some poultry shears, cut along each side of the backbone to remove it (this requires a little welly as you’re cutting through the ribs).

Turn the bird over and use the heel of your hand to push down on the breastbone so that it’s all one thickness. Alternatively, have your butcher do this for you.

Use half the marinade on the chicken, rubbing all over to fully coat the skin. Set the other half aside in a clean bowl. Cover and refrigerate the chicken for a few hours to marinate, then bring out of the fridge an hour before cooking.

When ready to cook the chicken, prepare a barbecue for indirect cooking by having the coals offset to one side.

Place the chicken on the grill away from the coals, breast-side up, and cook for 40 minutes. Regularly brush the chicken with the extra marinade, then turn over and cook for 15 minutes more, to crisp up the breast. Ensure the chicken is fully cooked before serving with fresh salad.


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