Whether you are at home or staying at our villa rental in Algarve you might want to try your hand at authentic Portuguese chicken Piri Piri.
First of all, if you don’t have a charcoal BBQ and charcoal then it simply will not turn out right nor taste the same.
Here is how we do it at Villa Vida Nova!
Buy the smallest and most tender chickens you can find and the more yellow the skin is the better. Dissect the chicken through the joints and cut the breast into manageable pieces, keep the skin and bone on but cut off any excess fat and discard. You can just buy drums and thighs if you like the dark meat, IMO they taste better than breast anyway.
There are many Piri Piri sauces in the local supermarket in Monchique, buy one and pour it over the chicken. You can add some fresh Piri Piri seeds from the garden if they are ready, be careful, don’t touch your eyes or anything sensitive after handling them! Add a handful of coarse salt, a shot or two of whiskey, half the juice of a lemon from the garden and leave for 24 hours in the fridge, turning the pieces over several times so that they get a good coating all over.
Chicken needs 40-45 minutes on the BBQ to make sure it is cooked through and not pink on the bone. So for this a supermarket bag of charcoal is not going to do it, 2 maybe but you don’t want to run out, so buy a big sackful from the vegetable shop with the plastic donkey on the Alferce road about 1/3 of a mile from the Intermarche on the left. A big sack is about 10-12 Euros whereas the Intermarche bags are about 5 Euros for about 1/6th of the quantity. You will then have plenty for several BBQs and what is left over the next guests will appreciate. Don’t skimp on the charcoal.
Use plenty of charcoal in the BBQ with a couple of fire lighters get it going and put the griddle in as low as possible so any fat on it burns off. Use the wire brush to give it a good clean, turn it over and do the other side. After about 20 minutes it should be ready but still too hot, level out the hot coals and damp it down by splashing cold water from a plastic drinking bottle. Keep that full and handy.
Put the chicken on the griddle the thickest pieces in the middle at the back and the thinnest and smallest pieces at the front and place at the highest level, make a note of the time and observe the underneath of the chicken. Don’t walk away from the BBQ you will need a helper to top up your beer or wine and your handy water bottle! Keep damping the coals if the chicken is cooking too quickly, the damping is to make the cooking period last the full 45 minutes. Keep turning the chicken every 3-5 minutes, it must not burn.
As the charcoal burns away keep pushing it to the back and add more charcoal at the front which in turn will be pushed back and more added at the front to replace it. After about 25-30 minutes you should be able to move the griddle down a notch or two, keep adding charcoal as required and or water to dampen, keep turning, it should not be burnt but the skin should be turning crispy and brown and the skin on the drumsticks should be pulling upwards from the end.