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Old 11-02-2002   #1 (permalink)
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Pollos Asados

The classic cheap and filling lunch. My first date with Anna was at Pollo Caribe on 10th between Juarez and 2nd. I remember in those days having a taste test where a few of us ate half chickens there and across the street at the other pollo place. I don't think there were any clear winners in that event...

Asado means roasted. Around here they are normally cooked over hardwood, so they aren't really roasted so much as grilled, but forget about the semantics.

There are several techniques to seasoning. Some asaderos marinate their birds in a red rub with achiote for a Yucatecan flavor. Others use a more traditional Mexican poultry seasoning, while some go for herbs not unlike a classic English Sunday dinner. It's very common to get them to go. Everything will be bagged up with a stack of tortillas placed on top keeping everything warm. Well, keeping things warm in Playa isn't usually that difficult.

Typically the choices are:
una orden - (an order) a quarter chicken, pick dark or light
un medio - (half) split down the middle. Cut or uncut.
un pollo entero - (the whole bird) Cut or uncut.

In typical Mexican tradition of economy of scale, usually all of the versions above come with the same amount of side dishes, usually a cabbage salad, rice, beans and tortillas with salsa. Most places serve cheap sodas and beers. If you want a whole bird for two people, definitely order two halfs (it's great to go) so you get twice the side dish stuff.

OK, in addition to the places already mentioned, there's:

Asadero El Pollo (estilo Sinaloa)
On 2nd and 20th Avenue, a little more expensive than the others, but the classic 70's furniture and good flavor is worth it. They're motto, If your chicken isn't hot and juicy, send it back. I've eaten a coop and a half there.

No name chickens
Formerly Star Pollos, this little hole in the wall battles for the lowest priced bird in town, and some people swear by them. I've found them to be a bit dry.

Dzibulchaltun
You must be lost. You've wandered up to 26th Street and 40th Avenue. Oh well, have a bird. This is a changarro. Bright green paint and lots of smoke from grilling birds. These are the Yucatecan flavored variety. Around this block are three other asaderos. Halves go for 30 pesos.

Louis y Erica
Hope I'm getting the name right here. On 4th Street between 20th and 25th, this place sells juicy rotisserie style birds and it's also a tortilleria, so if you bring an extra 5 pesos, you can go home with a kilo of fresh tortillas.

Pollo asado. A way of life.
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Old 11-03-2002   #2 (permalink)
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Okay, now when am I going to find the time to try all these new place. I love pollo asado, and now I have a whole new list of places to try it!

Thanks, James
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Old 11-04-2002   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks...and a question

Thanks for starting this thread. My mouth is watering as I type.
Here's the question: On my first trip to Playa del Carmen I ate at a Sinaloa chicken restaurant; I think it was on 15th on the East side of the street. The roaster was in the front, and you went down some steps to get to the tables in the dark, smoky restaurant area. I keep looking for it, but haven't found it. Does anyone remember this place? Is it gone, or have I missed it?

Now JAH...how about starting a "best shrimp tacos" thread ;-)
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Old 11-04-2002   #4 (permalink)
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Pollos Sinaloa is closed. It was the other chicken place in our '97 taste test.
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Old 01-03-2003   #5 (permalink)
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I can vouch for Chicken Star.

Tasty and cheap... if you can find the place!
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Old 01-19-2003   #6 (permalink)
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In Tulum by the bus station..

If you happen to be passing through Tulum, there's a GREAT Pollo Asado stand about a block away from the bus station. I can't remember the name, but just follow your nose. Cheap, too, I got a half chicken and a bottle of Coke for 38 pesos.
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Old 02-06-2003   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by "Topher"

I can vouch for Chicken Star.

Tasty and cheap... if you can find the place!
Oh, dude, I am such a Chicken Star fan! It's like three blocks from my house.
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Old 04-12-2003   #8 (permalink)
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San Fran chicken

For all you herbists and chemists and the like, in what does San Francisco marinate their cooked and pre-packaged chicken-to-go. The eventually nauseating flavour (after a bird or two) goes much deeper into the meat that at most other asodoists. I have never not enjoyed one of their 25 peso, almost undercooked, full chicken and accessories dinners, but, tonight I barbequed, on my Canadian imported gas cue, some no-name San Fran marinated chicken which tasted suspiciously like the in-house roasted stuff. What is the rub?
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Old 04-17-2003   #9 (permalink)
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chicken

Geoff,

for really, really fine pollo asado lose the gas grill. Really.

soak some wood chips in water for about 24 hours--I prefer apple or another fruit wood, I do not know what you might be able to use down there.

start a small fire (20 to 30 charcoal briquets or its equivalent) in a Weber (or its equivalent). Keep the botton air vents wide open, the top ones about half open--after the charcoal gets got. Do not spread the coals, keep them on one side of the que. Put the whole chicken on the other side after putting a supply of soaked wood chips on the hot coals. put the lid on the que.

Every time the smoke stops, add more wood chips or chunks. Should be done in 2-4 hours depending on how hot the fire is.

great chicken, I guarantee

Ron, smoker of fine chicken, fish, pork, beef, poultry, vegetables--if it can be eaten, it can be smoked
8)
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Old 04-17-2003   #10 (permalink)
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Aargh...Was going to stay off here until I returned from trip, but have to answer here...
roni has a good point about natural bbq's, but being a VERY long time BBQ'er, he has either left a bit out, or hasn't really used a "gas" BBQ to its potential...I am not a great fan of Propane, and prefer natural gas now, although I used a conventional BBQ for more years than I can count. The new "gas bbqs(at least the good ones) have the room to put "chip boxes", or "mini smokers" in them. If you follow the directions on how to use one of these properly for a smoker, I "promise" you will have success. Although I live in the "far north" I BBQ at least 100 meals a year..at the least!!! You really can get the same flavour, without the charcoal downfalls, with no real difference in taste...And if you don't believe it, check with ANY of the major chefs that BBQ nowadays...
Although non-traditional, the newer gas bbqs are safer, better for you healthwise, and easier to cook with.
You DO need a GOOD gas bbq to attain this however, as your average back yard gas bbq you buy has not got the ability to create even heating, which as any home cook can tell you, is the soul of a great bbq.
Enough preaching now...PDC here we come...
I am SO looking forward to meeting the people on our "bar" trips, and "Cat" tours, and really hope James and Anna can make it as well.
Judy, Denise, Munichchick, and even the Doodad(I am not sure they want us both in the same part of Mexico at the same time), and the rest I have met on here...If you can put up with us, let's plan something for "later"..I can promise we will be back... And YES, as lazy as I am, I will supply a trip report...I just haven't figured out how I can eat in SO MANY great places...Although, the off-5th thing will be more of our style, as we prefer to get to "the real people" if we can...All the help on here has given us a heck of a bunch of info that is invaluable...
Thanks to you all, and the report will follow, manana... 8) :lol: 8)
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Old 04-17-2003   #11 (permalink)
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Gas barb-b-que is an oxymoroon :roll: 8) My father-in-law smokes on a device with an electric element and an chip box. Better than cooked outside, but still lacking the characteristic flavor of the best stuff.

if you go to
here and click on the pic entitled ronsmeat.jpg, you will see some of these beauties . The skin is dark not from being burned, but from being smoked. The smoky flavor permeates the juicy flesh of the cooked bird and it melts in your mouth *smile*

enough about northern pollo asado for the Spanish speakers
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Old 04-17-2003   #12 (permalink)
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Try this here

If that does not work, I will review the instructions for embedding URL's

Ron
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Old 04-23-2003   #13 (permalink)
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Chicken Star has left the building. I went by the other day and someone had taken it over, selling much cheaper birds with no love in them at all. I was saddened until I noticed yet another new roticeria on Constituyentes near 40th Avenue. Clean, and really tasty birds with excellent flavor. I no longer miss Chicken Star.


OK, now on to BBQ chicken at home....

I go gas when available. less pollution and I only grill the chicken for about 12 minutes anyway.

Either roast the chicken in a very slow oven or boil it if you are in a hurry and want soup later. The roasting is far superior, but I normally boil cuz running an oven here is suicide most of the year. If you roast, keep the chicken covered and seal in the juices. Use a good oven thermometer and keep it around 180F. It should take several hours to get the meat up to serving temp. Remember, we are cooking the chicken 100% before we grill it.

Place your chicken in a ZipLoc, and cover the meat with your marinade. Let it hang out as long as possible. I switch between different sauces like the following:

Modified BBQ: commercial BBQ sauce heated with lots of honey, some chipotle sauce, soy sauce, and a splash of liquid smoke or whatever feels right...

Terriyaki: simmer equal parts soy sauce and sugar (like a cup and a half each) with shreadded ginger (a good chunk of it) and pulverized garlic (optional, as much as you like) on low heat for at least a half hour. Cool.

Kansas City Thai: mix a thick and smoky commercial BBQ sauce equal parts with sweet Thai chili sauce (we can get it here, so you must be able to find it most places) and a few splashes of soy. Easy and good.

Grill the chicken until the outside is crispy. It's OK to use the marinade on the meat because the meat was cooked already, so keep them a bit on the moist side.

This method combines a nice, tender, fall off the bone meat with a nice grilled outside texture. I only use thighs/leg pieces.
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Old 04-24-2003   #14 (permalink)
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James, Dougie, and anyone else who wrote about cooking birds,

the chickens all sound delicious. Maybe we oughta get together with those who plan a magarita tasting contest and do a poultry tasting one as well 8)
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Old 04-25-2003   #15 (permalink)
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Sounds like a plan. We bought a 1/2 chicken today from the place beside the Super Mas....To be honest...Pass on it. Moist enough, but as James would say...No love to it...very bland...Gigante on Juarez however....very nice!!
Later guys and gals..
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