A Field Guide to Pollo a la Brasa

Here's what we all agree on: Peruvian roasted chicken is terrific. Cooked over hot coals, the ideal specimen has crispy skin and juicy meat, delicately flavored with smoke and usually traveling in the company of tortillas, beans, and a creamy/spicy sauce called aji. "You can always smell a good Peruvian charcoal rotisserie place from blocks away," says Mike5966 dreamily. "There really is no taste like it on earth."

So who makes exemplary pollo a la brasa in town? Hounds endorse Machu Picchu Charcoal Chicken & Grill (make sure you visit the Machu Picchu that's the chicken place, not the other Machu Picchu in Somerville), as well as Pollos a La Brasa El Chalan, Pollos a La Brasa El Chalan #2, and Pollos a la Brasa Beto's.

Mike did a taste-off and reports that each variety has its strengths: "1. El Chalan has the best, most intense seasoning and charcoal flavor in the skin itself. 2. El Chalan also has the crispiest skin but the driest meat. 3. Beto's has the least crispy skin but the juiciest meat. 4. Machu Picchu is in the middle with respect to juiciness and skin flavor/crispiness."

So you'll have to pick according to your likes.

Machu Picchu Charcoal Chicken & Grill [North of Boston]
25 Union Square, Somerville
617-623-7972

Pollos a La Brasa El Chalan [East Boston]
405 Chelsea Street, Boston
617-567-9452

Pollos a La Brasa El Chalan #2 [North Shore]
22 Washington Avenue, Chelsea
617-884-3691

Pollos a la Brasa Beto's [East Boston]
69 Bennington Street, Boston
617-561-6005

Discuss: Peruvian Rotisserie Chicken

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