Juan Pablo Loza

In this flavor-packed chicken, Juan Pablo Loza, director of culinary operations at Rosewood Mayakoba in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, shares his obsession for the al pastor style of cooking. This dish takes its inspiration from a traditional way of roasting chicken in Michoacán, where butterflied whole chickens are marinated with citrus, and speared with thick wooden stakes hammered into the ground. Splayed open, the chickens slowly cook vertically over a bed of coals, resulting in juicy meat and bronzed skin. Here, the cooking style is adapted to a horizontal grill basket set over two stacks of bricks on the grate, positioning the chicken up and away from the hot coals. An oak or mesquite log set alongside lit coals at the center of the a grill perfumes the bird with smoke. Once it's cooked through, chop the crispy skin and meat together and spoon it into warm tortillas with roasted tomato salsa and pickled onions. A citrus marinade keeps this chicken tender and moist, giving the crispy skin a deep golden-brown hue. Prepare the pickled onions in advance to get a head start on the salsa while the chicken is grilling.
Advertisement