From Chicken on the Grill, Wm. Morrow Cookbooks
A Portuguese slice of heaven, piri piri is sublimely spicy chicken. The name derives from the fiery African dried red chile traditionally used in the piquant sauce that bathes the bird. Every Portuguese family has its own “secret” ingredient, such as the whiskey included here.
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts and 4 bone-in, skin-on leg-thigh sections
Coarse salt, either kosher or sea salt
¾ C. olive oil
3 T. fresh lemon juice
2 T. Scotch or Irish whiskey
2 to 3 T. dried hot red chile flakes
2 plump garlic cloves, crushed into a purée
Season the chicken parts generously with salt, rubbing some of it under the skins, being careful to avoid tearing the skin. Let the chicken sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes.
Stir together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Fire up the grill, bringing the heat to medium (4 to 5 seconds with the hand test).
Transfer the chicken to the grill skin-side down. Grill the chicken uncovered over medium heat for 30 to 35 minutes, turning at least four times. Watch for flare-ups, shifting the breasts away from the flames if necessary. After you have turned the chicken for the first time, begin to brush it liberally with the sauce, but avoid dripping much on the fire to minimize flare-ups. End with the chicken skin-side down to give it a final crisping. The chicken parts are done when white throughout but still juicy, 170°F on an instant-read thermometer. Remove the chicken from the grill, brush liberally with the sauce again and serve with any remaining sauce.
Serves 4 or more.