Grilled Chicken with Piri Piri Sauce

Grilled Chicken with Piri Piri
When I decided to add this blog to, I thought it would be a good forum for occasionally writing about other types of food.  The main focus will always be Italian cuisine, but I do branch out and would like to share my experiences with cooking in general.  My wife, Sandy, is Portuguese and since we have been together I have been exposed to a lot of great dishes from a culinary tradition I did not know much about before we met.  Continuing the grilled chicken theme from last week, I thought I would share one of my favorite Portuguese grilling recipes, Grilled Chicken with Piri Piri Sauce.

Piri Piri Sauce is named after the very hot chile that is the main ingredient, the piri piri pepper.  The pepper, also known as malegueta is kind of hard to find here in America, so you can substitute any small hot pepper.  Bridgeport, Connecticut where Sandy’s family is from has a few Portuguese specialty food stores where I am able to find the jarred maleguetas from Brazil that I use.  You can adjust the heat to your own taste by increasing or decreasing the number of chiles.

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Grilled Chicken with Piri Piri Sauce Recipe

  • Total Time: 45 mins
  • Yield: 4 1x


  • 12 piri piri or other small hot chiles, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 whole chicken, 3 1/2 to 4 pounds, cut into eight serving pieces


  1. Combine chiles, garlic, salt, extra virgin olive oil and vinegar in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Cover, shake well and let rest in refrigerator for at least 24 hours. The sauce will keep for about 1 month.
  2. Place chicken in a baking dish and pour half the piri piri sacue over. Cover and let marinate in refrigerator for 4-6 hours, turning chicken once.
  3. Start a fire in a charcoal grill, or pre-heat a gas grill to medium-hot. If using a charcoal grill, arrange the charcoal on one half of the bottom of the grill and leave the other half empty for indirect cooking. If using a gas grill once the grill is pre-heated, turn off the burners on on one side of the grill.
  4. Place chicken on grill directly over the fire and cook for 5 minutes, turning once. Move chicken to the side of the grill that is not directly over the fire, brush with piri piri sauce and cover the grill. Cook chicken covered over indirect heat, turning occasionally and basting with remaining piri piri sauce, for about 20 minutes, until the juices run clear. Serve warm.
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins


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