This recipe is a derivation of the famous spicy piri piri sauce from Angola, where Luis’ grandmother devised a marinade and sauce that would later travel the world. Angola was of course a colony of Portugal and many Portuguese families were encouraged to settle there. The Fernandez family was one.






Skill level

Average: 3.3 (194 votes)


  • 1 large chicken 
  • 8 garlic cloves, crushed 
  • 2 lemons, juiced 
  • 1 tsp bay leaf powder 
  • 2 tsp sweet paprika 
  • 80 ml (⅓ cup) scotch whisky 
  • 2 tbsp butter, softened 
  • rock salt 

Piri piri sauce

  • 10-12 small red chillies, finely chopped (or less to taste) 
  • pinch of salt 
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 100 ml olive oil
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder (fresh garlic makes the sauce too runny)

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Marinating time 30 minutes

Trim the chicken of excess fat. Use a sharp knife or kitchen scissors to cut the chicken through the breastbone. Open the chicken out, turn over and flatten it by pressing down on the backbone. Make a small cut under each wing to help the chicken flatten further. Make several slashes in the flesh with a sharp knife to allow the flavours of the marinade to get in and the fat to drain out. Prick the chicken all over with a fork.

Combine the garlic, lemon juice, bay leaf powder, paprika, whisky and butter, mixing well. Brush the chicken on both sides with the mixture and sprinkle with rock salt. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 30–45 minutes.

Mix the piri piri ingredients into a thickish sauce.

Cook the chicken on a hot charcoal barbecue, turning frequently and basting continuously with the leftover marinade, for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cut the chicken into pieces and brush with the piri piri sauce.