Pollo al Ajillo (Panamanian Garlic Chicken)

This is a dish that is served throughout Panama. It is heavily spiced and garlicky. Serve with rice and avocado. Recipe does not include four hours marinating time.

Pollo al Ajillo (Panamanian Garlic Chicken)

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1 (3-4 pound) chicken, quartered
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 25 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 cup sherry vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoon ground allspice


  1. Place the chicken and bay leaves in a bowl. Puree the garlic, salt, and 2 tablespoons of water using a food processor or blender.  Add the juice, vinegar, black pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and allspice; puree again until smooth. Rub the marinade all over the chicken, cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
  2. Heat a grill to high heat. Make sure you save a little space on the side to place any chicken that is cooking too fast, a.k.a. burning.
  3. Remove the chicken from the marinade and grill until slightly charred and cooked through, about 25-30 minutes. An instant read thermometer should read 165 degrees F.


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