Better than Pollo Loco Chicken - Secret Recipe Club

theHubby came down with bronchitis a few weeks ago and just wasn't up to eating.   Lucky for both of us that Secret Recipe Club assigned me to make a recipe from Shockingly Delicious!

ShockD is hosted by Dorothy, a career newspaper editor and an expert in food writing and recipe development.  Which meant I had hit the jackpot!  Oodles of delicious-looking recipes written clearly, correctly and deliciously! Sorry ... got so excited I got carried away with the adverbs.

Anyway, it was very fortuitous when I spotted Dorothy's recipe for Better than Pollo Loco Chicken.   It uses two different juices, each chock full of vitamin C.  Perfect for sir Coughs-a-Lot!

Dorothy admits that this is not a true clone of El Pollo Loco's signature chicken ... but her family just loves it.   Despite never having been to an EPL (it is a west coast area chain), after making a batch, I would agree that this is a recipe to love.  A fast-food chicken joint just can't compare to home cooking.

Since I almost never keep a stash of pineapple juice around, I headed off to the local Try-n-Save, where I was confronted with a major purchasing decision.  Buy a whopping 46-ounce 100% pineapple juice can for $2.79, a 6-pack of 6 oz. 100% pineapple juice cans for $2.99, or a 20-ounce can of crushed pineapple packed in 100% pineapple juice for $1.50.

TIP ALERT1! There are 6 ounces of 100% pineapple juice in a 20-ounce can of crushed pineapple packed in 100% juice.  TIP ALERT2!  Drained crushed pineapple is awesome served over ice cream or Tofutti.

Jalapeños, especially those of the fresh persuasion, can be extremely spicy hot. If you are the type who thinks ginger snaps have too much of a bite, use the much milder green chiles instead.

Dorothy mentions that the chicken can be grilled indoors, so since there was a foot or so of snow on my outdoor BBQ at the time (not to mention the steps, patio and outdoor table), I gave it a go with my grill pan.

The result?  ¡Magnífico!  Thank you mucho, Dorothy!

Better Than Pollo Loco Chicken 
Lightly adapted from: Shockingly Delicious
Yield: 4-5 servings

6 ozs. pineapple juice 
2 Tbl. lime juice (about 1/2 large lime)
1 Tbl. white vinegar
1 Tbl. vegetable oil
2 cloves crushed garlic
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 tsp. chopped fresh jalapeño (or 2 tsp. canned diced green chiles)
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1 whole chicken, cut into eighths
2 tsp. vegetable oil, for greasing

Add all ingredients except the last two in a zipper-top freezer bag (sturdier and less likely to leak than a storage bag). Seal bag securely; turn over a few times to mix thoroughly.  Open bag; add chicken pieces. Squeeze out air from bag and reseal securely. Turn bag over a few more times to assure all pieces of chicken are coated by marinade.

Place bag in a bowl large enough to fit or place on a rimmed baking sheet, in case the bag springs a leak.  Refrigerate for a few hours up to a day, turning bag occasionally to ensure chicken marinates evenly.

When ready to cook, place a large indoor grilling pan over medium-high heat.  When hot, brush pan with the 2 teaspoons of oil.  Remove chicken from bag and arrange chicken on pan, skin side down, in a single layer; discard remaining marinade.

Not quite done (still some pink on a few pieces).

Grill 6-10 minutes per side, turning once (small pieces like wings will cook faster) or until no pink remains and juices run clear when pierced with the tip of a knife.

Disclaimer - because this recipe is part of an online cooking group, the linked recipes below might not be kosher.


  1. So glad you liked the Better than El Pollo Loco Chicken! It's one of our faves, and truthfully, I do keep the 6-oz. cans of pineapple juice on hand for that recipe. But I like your solution!

  2. Love Dorothy's blog! You picked a great recipe, now I am craving some Better than el Pollo Loco!

  3. Mmmm... that sounds wonderful!! Great SRC pick! I'm always looking for new ways to cook chicken.

  4. I can't wait to try this!! It sounds wonderful! Great SRC pick~ Happy Reveal Day! Lynn @ Turnips 2 Tangerines

  5. How great that you could grill it indoors. I live in El Pollo Loco land and love the stuff. Can't wait to try this!

  6. Oh, wow! This looks amazing. Definitely going to try this. Great pick!

  7. We are always looking for new ways to make chicken. This sounds fabulous! Great pick this month :)

  8. Well, I've never been to Pollo Loco, but I have to say this sounds DELICIOUS!! I love the pineapple in it!

  9. Lime and pineapple are such a great marinade for chicken - sounds great! A lovely pick for SRC

  10. Yum. this sounds really good. great choice. Thanks for sharing

  11. I love Dorothy's blog too! And this looks wonderful! My husband would love this!!


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