2021-02SFC  Edible Austin Leaderboard

Pollo Papacho


Serves 4

By Ben & Liz Kweller • Photography by Melanie Grizzel


Pollo Papacho


For 1 Batch(es)


  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Liz’s chimichurri sauce (recipe in directions below)

Pollo Papacho Directions

  1. Prepare a wood fire about two hours before you’re ready to cook.
  2. First, julienne the green bell pepper into 2-inch-long by quarter-inch-wide spears. Make sure one end of each spear is pointed to make it easier to insert the pepper spears into the chicken. Set the pepper spears aside for later.
  3. Wash the chicken and pat dry. Liberally sprinkle salt and pepper over the entire bird. To butterfly the chicken, situate the bird on a cutting board with the breasts facing down. Using sharp kitchen shears, remove the spine from the chicken. Flatten the chicken out by placing the skin side up and applying firm pressure to the breastbone.
  4. Using a skinny bladed knife, pierce a tiny hole in the skin but not through the meat. Insert a pepper spear into the hole, pushing it up under the skin. Work the pepper in by rubbing the outside of the skin. Slide another spear into the hole. Once you’ve inserted enough pepper spears to fill that area, go to another part of the chicken and start the process again. Pierce small hole, insert pepper spears, move on. The more pepper spears the better. But beware, the more incisions you make, the more likely it is to tear up the skin.
  5. Once you’re done, rub the chimichurri sauce all over it! (Find the chimichurri recipe here.) Now you’re ready to cook.
  6. Out in the Hill Country we do our grilling with wood instead of store-bought charcoal or gas. When grilling with wood, give yourself two hours to let the wood turn to coals. Whether you’re using wood, charcoal or gas, get your fire up to temperature and lay the bird, bones down, on the grill. Slow-cook until ready. Times vary, especially with wood fires, but usually you’ll be ready to eat in about 30 minutes.

Recipe notes

This is my favorite way to grill chicken. I learned this from Liz’s uncle, Papacho. He is the one who gave me the custom gaucho knife that I use every chance I get.

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