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El Pollo Loco Flame-Broiled Chicken Copycat Recipe
El Pollo Loco Flame-Broiled Chicken
By Todd Wilbur

Recipe Type: Entree
Calories: 179
Cook Time: 2 hours
Recipe Rating: 4.7 (13 reviews)
 

El Pollo Loco, or "The Crazy Chicken," has been growing like mad since it crossed over the border into the United States from Mexico. Francisco Ochoa unknowingly started a food phenomenon internacional in 1975 when he took a family recipe for chicken marinade and opened a small roadside restaurante in Gusave, Mexico. He soon had 90 stores in 20 cities throughout Mexico. The first El Pollo Loco in the United States opened in Los Angeles in December of 1980 and was an immediate success. It was only three years later that Ochoa got the attention of bigwigs at Dennys, Inc., who offered him $11.3 million for his U.S. operations. Ochoa took the deal, and El Pollo Loco grew from 17 to more than 200 outlets over the following decade.

Source: More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

2 cups water
4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 garlic clove
1 teaspoon yellow food coloring (or a pinch of ground saffron)
2 tablespoons pineapple juice
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 whole frying chicken with skin, halved or quartered

1. In a blender, combine the water, salt, pepper, garlic, and food coloring (or saffron). Blend on high speed for 15 seconds. Add pineapple juice and lime juice to marinade, blend for 5 seconds.

2. Marinade the chicken in the liquid in a bowl or pan for 45 minutes. Turn and marinate for 30 minutes more.

3. Preheat a clean barbecue to medium-low grilling heat.

4. Cook the chicken on the open grill for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the skin is golden brown and crispy. Be sure the flames are not scorching the chicken, or the skin may turn black before the center is done. Lower the heat if necessary. (If you do not have a gas grill, you can spray a little water on the charcoal to keep the flames at bay.) Turn the chicken often as it cooks.

5. Cut the chicken into 8 pieces, with a large, sharp knife, cutting the breast in half and cutting the thighs from the legs.

Makes 8 pieces.





        
Direct HIT!
Jonathan  
Submitted on: 07/09/16
Bullseye! This clone does it! The taste of the chicken, is almost exact! The El Pollo Loco Salsa Recipe, is just that good, too! Great job, Todd!
El Pollo Loco
Ted Smith  
Submitted on: 05/13/16
Forget the lime juice and reduce water to 1 cup and use one cup pineapple juice, It'll step it up acee.
Not The Same
LVBirdLady  
Submitted on: 08/22/15
While this was good, it was not even close to El Pollo. Keep trying, I love EPL
I was amazed!
Dianna Carter  
Submitted on: 02/21/15
Since we moved from California to Tennessee, I've been craving El Pollo Loco! In desperation, I tried this recipe. When I combined the ingredients as directed, I thought, "This isn't going to work--this looks to watery to be a decent marinade." Wow, was I wrong!! It does taste just like El Pollo Loco!
Something missing
Ms Footer  
Submitted on: 01/11/14
Recipe for this marinade turned very bland and there is obviously something missing. Will not use again.
Tastes Great!!!
David Fryer  
Submitted on: 12/11/13
I love this recipe. I can't wait to try it with game hens.
Great!
Dawn Morgan  
Submitted on: 07/27/13
Tastes just like the real thing!
Pollo Loco
Gloria  
Submitted on: 07/01/13
We had Pollo Loco in California and often bought their chicken. Since we have moved to New Mexico and we missed the Pollo Loco experience. Had this chicken last night and it was fantastic! Thanks for the recipe.
The Real Thing, no dout!
Michael  
Submitted on: 06/27/13
I had been looking for a good recipe for El Pollo Loco's chicken marinade for years. When I saw this recipe Todd's book, I bought it immediately. Best investment I ever made! In spite of the relatively few ingredients, this marinade brings the wonderful taste of El Pollo Loco chicken to my grill at home. THANKS TODD!
Finally!!!
John Newcomb  
Submitted on: 05/08/13
This is the real deal. I've tried many others who say they're the real deal...this is it. Exactly Best 79 cents I've ever spent. Life is good.
BACK TO MEXICO
VICTOR GONZALEZ  
Submitted on: 03/25/13
I used to eat at El Pollo Loco back in the 90's in Monterrey, Mexico. I remember it was good but yesterday I made his at home and it is very good.
GRANT MAY  
Submitted on: 07/04/11
Yum, I have made this 4 times now..and make as soon as i type this message...i use chicken wings :)
Pollo Loco
Raquel Michel  
Submitted on: 02/22/11
Absolutely delicious. I used about 12 chicken legs instead of a whole fryer.