Better Than El Pollo Loco Chicken

Kim and I have always really enjoyed El Pollo Loco.  This chicken doesn’t taste the same as the chicken from the El Pollo Loco down the street, but it’s still really good chicken.  Kim has always found it interesting that chicken from certain El Pollo Loco locations taste better than chicken from other El Pollo Loco restaurants.

Here are the raw chickens sitting on the warmed BBQ.

El Pollo Loco Chicken 1

One key part of this recipe is that the chicken is basted with the marinade while it is cooking.  Do not leave this part out.  Mike once made this chicken and forgot about the marinade, and it was on the more bland/tasteless side.

El Pollo Loco Chicken 2

We basted the chicken every time it was flipped, which turned out to the perfect amount.

El Pollo Loco Chicken 3

Here is what the chicken looked like after the initial flipping. The BBQ just has a way of making the chicken look soo yummy.

El Pollo Loco Chicken 4

I am trying to teach Kim how to use my Nikon camera, so she can help take pictures… She took this one of me flipping the chicken!

El Pollo Loco Chicken 5

Now the chicken has been cooked on both sides, this picture is skin side up and is about to receive its final flipping.

El Pollo Loco Chicken 6

Here is the beautiful final product.  Yellow food coloring could be used to give the chicken that vibrant yellow color  that is present in chicken from El Pollo Loco restaurants.  We didn’t use food coloring, so our chicken was a little lighter in color, but it still tasted delicious!

El Pollo Loco Chicken 7

Although this chicken doesn’t taste exactly like El Pollo Loco chicken, we think it taste better, hence the name.

Better Than El Pollo Loco Chicken
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6
  • 6 ounces pineapple juice
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2½ pounds bone-in, skin-on, chicken thighs
  1. In a medium sized bowl (I used my glass 1 cup Pyrex), combine pineapple juice, lime juice, vinegar, oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix until all ingredients are well combined. Reserve ¼ cup of the marinade in a small container.
  2. Place chicken in a zip top plastic bag. Pour remaining marinade over the chicken and close the top. Massage the bag so that the chicken is well coated in the marinade. Place chicken and reserved marinade int he refrigerator. Allow chicken to marinate overnight, or more, flipping the bag over periodically so that chicken is well marinated.
  3. When ready to grill, remove chicken from marinade and discard the marinade that was in the bag with the chicken. Grill the chicken until it is cooked through, about 25 minutes. Every 6 minutes or so, baste the chicken with the reserved marinade (which never touched the raw chicken).
  4. Serve hot

Adapted from Shockingly Delicious

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1 Response

  1. Your chicken looks awesome! I also think you can achieve a more yellow color with the addition of some ground turmeric. 1/4 teaspoon or so ought to do it. Thanks for linking to my site!

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