Peri-peri chicken

Peri-peri chicken

Ben's BBQ Bible
Billy Law

Cooked with a touch of smokiness, I think this recipe is one of the best barbecue chicken dishes in the world. It has Portuguese roots and is common throughout Africa due to Portugal’s colonial interests. Peri-peri is the name used for the African bird’s eye chilli, and in marinades it usually refers to a beautiful blend of paprika and other spices, combined with the acidity of lime or vinegar. It doesn’t have to be outrageously hot.

The peri-peri marinade will keep for up to a week if stored in an airtight container.


Quantity Ingredient
12 chicken thighs, bone in, trimmed of excess fat
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 limes, cut into wedges
1 quantity Aïoli

Peri-peri marinade

Quantity Ingredient
2-3 scotch bonnet or other hot chillies, roughly chopped
4 long red chillies, roughly chopped
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 garlic cloves, crushed
5cm piece fresh ginger, roughly chopped
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground paprika
100ml white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons chopped oregano

To smoke

Quantity Ingredient
1 branch bay leaves
1 large bunch rosemary
1 large bunch curly or flat-leaf parsley
1 bunch thyme
1 bunch sage


  1. To make the marinade, place the chopped chillies and salt in a mortar or food processor and make a paste.
  2. Add the garlic, ginger and spices, and pound or grind to a paste. Add the vinegar and oregano.
  3. Make two or three slashes in each chicken thigh, cutting to the bone.
  4. Add the chicken to the marinade. Marinate in the refrigerator overnight, or for a minimum of 3 hours.
  5. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature.
  6. Prepare your barbecue for direct grilling over a medium heat. Barbecue the chicken thighs for 5–8 minutes, just to colour on each side, then remove from the heat. Wet your smoking herbs liberally and place them on the barbecue, arranging the chicken over the top. Continue to cook the chicken with the lid on until cooked through. This may take 20 minutes.
  7. When cooked, drizzle the chicken with olive oil and serve with the lime wedges and a spoonful of aïoli.
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