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A little help from the community.

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Just recently I was given a Weber charcoal grill. I wanted to use it for El Pollo Loco. The recipe sounded great and I followed it exactly. The chicken was in the marinade for over 24 hours. I then cooked it to temp and when I tasted the first piece I didn’t taste anything but the charcoal flavor. Don’t get me wrong that is a good flavor but I was expecting some of the Pollo Loco flavor too. Can anyone tell me if I didn’t let the chicken marinade long enough? I want this to work but cannot nail down what I was doing wrong. If more information is needed just say so and I will elaborate.

El Pollo Loco.
6 oz Pineapple Juice
2 tb Lime Juice
1 tb White Vinegar
2 Cloves Garlic; Minced
1/2 ts Salt
1/2 ts Dried Oregano; Crumbled
1/8 ts Ground Pepper
1/4 ts Mild Chili pepper (Anaheim
8 dr Yellow food coloring
1 tb Vegetable Oil
4 lb Frying chicken; Cut Up
post #2 of 12
It seems to me just looking at the recipe that there isn't enough marinade for the chicken.
post #3 of 12
I agree if you ever watch them take it out of the marinade and onto the grill it is fairly wet - You are talking about the El Pollo Loco chain correct?
post #4 of 12
I'd be interested to see how you cooked it as well. What temps for how long?

Did you inject marinade, could help distribute the flavor a bit better.

I agree that this seems very light on the marinade. I remember using 4 C of water or chicken stock in my marinade.
post #5 of 12
I agree with Downstate - how long did you cook it for and what temp?
How long did you let the coals get ready?
What kind of charcoal, direct? Indirect? Did you add any wood?
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
First I would like to say thanks for all of the replies.
Being the first time in several years I have used charcoal in this fashion I think I may have over done it a little on the amount of charcoal used. Second, I think I may not have waited long enough for the charcoal to be ready. Even though that was done wrong the chicken was still juicy and good. It just didn’t keep the flavor of the marinade. As for the portion of marinade to chicken I tripled the amount of marinade. I marinated the chicken in a gallon zip lock bag for over 24hrs. I also keep some marinade to the side which I basted the chicken with. The reason for not injecting is that I want to do this in a large amount for a party. I was thinking about 12 chickens quartered and using a 5 gallon bucket to marinade in. So this was a practice run and I have about four more weeks to get it correct.
I cooked it for a little over an hour.
I did not use wood.
Don’t know the temp. (No thermometer on this grill yet)
It was direct heat.
I did not inject the meat.
post #7 of 12
Im guessing you were using charcoal briquettes? Couple tips:

1. DONT use the insta-lite charcoal, OR lighter fluid.
2. DO use a chimney starter for your charcoal with newspaper only as your starter. Let them burn to ash color before you grill.
3. Use a good quality charcoal, not the cheapest stuff you can find.
4. Consider Lump charcoal...there are pros and cons to this tho

Im sure you will get more hints. This is a great site.

I get the heaviest charcoal flavor from briquettes, and usually its for several reasons. Normally it is when i add unlit charcoal to lit charcoal. It seems when you get the white smoke off charcoal your food with taste like it. Let it burn down and get hot, and start out with enough to get you through the cook, or add more LIT coal.
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks HDsmoke. And you are correct about the good hints. I have been smoking ribs for about 10 years and when I came across this site I imporved the quality 100 fold. I will take your advice and use the real charcoal next time. Also, the chimney starter is on the list to get at the next Lowes run.
post #9 of 12
The first time I used my Oklahoma Joe with charcoal I used a cheap brand from wal-mart and it left a nasty nasty taste on my hamburgers. I've always used kingsford since and never had a bad flavor from it. I think it's also important to have your charcoal really hot even if you are using the minion method, the coals that are lit need to be really hot. That's just my experience.
post #10 of 12
A coffee can with both ends cut our and some holes from a can opening along the bottom edge works in a pinch - hyst put it in your kettle and remove it with some pliers - this is what my dad did 30 years ago - he was way ahead of this time!

Good luck on your next cook.
post #11 of 12
Like pignit said I would always use a good band name charcoal when grilling.
post #12 of 12
It seems to me the liquid marinaide ingredients are all fairly subtle in flavor. Might want to extend the marinade time. Maybe try putting frozen chicken in the marinade and let it thaw slowly in the fridge turning it a couple times a day. I would also add liquid (water, more pineapple or lime juice to the mix) to wet as much of the chicken at one time as you can. Either that or try injecting. It sounds like a good recipe tho. I may give this one a try.
Also - I didn't think it was a good idea to use the marinade to baste with? Too big a risk of speading bacteria from the raw chicken. I always keep some of my marinade mix in a seperate container to baste with and throw the chicken mix away.
Good luck with your trial runs. I'm sure you'll have it perfect for the big cook.
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