How to cook crispy chicken on the clay chiminea

Recipe for chiminea: the most crispy chicken on charcoal

How to cook delicious grilled chicken on your chiminea

Crisp, smoky and juicy, barbecued chicken is the perfect choice for a great afternoon cookout. To get the perfect outcome, learning the proper technique is essential.

Chicken is a very lean meat, which makes it a choice for those watching their diet, but its lack of fat means that it can sometimes become too dry when exposed to the intense heat of the grill chiminea.

Follow this method that combines the low-and-slow method with a last minute flash of high heat for a delightfully crispy, caramelized exterior.

Follow on to learn these easy steps on how to create tender and delicious barbecued chicken that will make any chiminea party a smashing success.


    • Chicken
    • Kosher salt
    • Water
    • Barbecue sauce or homemade alternative

Preparing the Chicken

Step 1 Cut he main four pieces

If using a whole chicken, cut it up into four pieces. Cut off any excess fat and discard the gizzard, liver, etc.

Crispy chicken for grill chiminea

Step 2 Make a brine. 

In a large pot, dissolve 1/4 of a cup of kosher salt in about one quart of hot water. Flavorings like peppercorns, lemon peel, honey, rosemary or other spices can also be added. Adding a little sugar to the brine helps the outside of the chicken to caramelize.

 making the brine

Step 3 Allow the brine to cool, then submerge the chicken in it for at least eight hours or overnight.

  • Remove chicken from brine and pat with paper towels
  • If possible, allow pieces to dry on racks for a couple of hours. This produces the crispiest skin possible.

Brine for chicken grill

Step 4 Rub the chicken with barbecue sauce. 

A mixture of vinegar, ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and molasses is a great alternative to a commercially-prepared sauce.

 Brush the brine on chicken

 How is it going so far?

Now that the chicken is ready to grill..let's start the chiminea

Firing the chiminea

If you are just opening your chiminea for the first time, you want to season it to get it ready for the fire. If you did not did it yet, please, head to this article here

First of all, the chiminea needs to reach high temperatures fast and since are made of clay, the keep the temperature longer than metallic ones. 

Put a layer of charcoal on the bottom of the chiminea and fire it up. The nice smell of charcoal burning will cry "this party is starting!"

Since the temperature is so elevate, the chicken skin will start to become crispy instantly. Turn the chicken  dough every other minute. 

But before, let's talk about how to fire the charcoal, which mai seems a whole big thing but you will see how easy it is!

How to cook on charcoal ?

  • Stack coals in a pyramid shape in the grill pit, squirting with lighter fluid with every couple of layers. Allow fluid to soak in for 15 minutes, then toss in lit matches at every corner of the pyramid.

how to fire charcoal

  • Let coals burn for at least 20 minutes, until they are red and glowing instead of actively flaming.

Firing charcoal for chiminea

  • Using a grill scraper, bank the glowing coals to one side of the pit. You want a minimal amount of heat on one side and a fierce blaze on the other.

piling the charcoal

and now that we have the charcoal ready and the chicken also on point, it's time to grill!

What do you need to cook on the chiminea?

Things You'll Need

    • Charcoal
    • Fire starter
    • Chiminea Grill Fireplace
    • Grill scraper
    • Tongs
    • Serving platter
    • Napkins

How to grill the most crispy chicken on the chiminea?

Step1 Place it on the grill.

Place the sauced chicken on the cool side of the grill, away from the glowing coals. 

Cover grill and allow to cook for 15-25 minutes, until chicken is golden-brown and 150 F at the bone.
grilling chicken on chiminea

Step 2 Rotate it.

Rotate and re-sauce the chicken at least once during the cooking process in order to ensure everything cooks evenly.

rotate chicken on chiminea grill

Step 3 Brush chicken with bbq sauce.

After chicken has been mostly cooked on the interior, brush pieces again with barbecue sauce. In small batches, move chicken over the coals on the other side of the grill.

brushing brine on chicken for clay chimney

Step 4 Cook chicken over hot coals, skin-side down, until sauce becomes syrupy and skin is very crisp. 

Remove quickly, after about three to five minutes.
  • If the skin becomes black and charred before the meat is done, the coals are too high. Use the grill scraper to distribute coals underneath the rack more evenly.
  • If the skin is flabby and the meat isn't cooking through, the coals are too low. Stoke them with a scraper to get the heat up, or throw in a few more quick-light coals.

Remove chicken from charcoal

Step 5 Remove chicken to a serving platter and allow to rest for five minutes.

grilled chicken

Step 6 ( and last) Serve with plenty of napkins.

serving grilled chicken


Chef Tips

  • This entrée is great with traditional picnic fare like corn on the cob, grilled vegetables, tomato salad or watermelon, plus lots of ice-cold lemonade and beer.
  • The proper internal temperature for chicken is 165 F. However, it will continue to heat after it comes off the grill, so undershoot the temperature a little for a perfect final product by no adding extra charcoal.
  • Don't make the mistake of trying to light the coals too quickly after squirting on the lighter fluid: it needs a minimum of 15 minutes to penetrate the coals before they will catch, and if possible, do not use chemicals for starting the fire.

Since you read up tp here, I'm offering a chef secret, here I go on how to get it to the next level


We’ve all been there. You put hours into marinating your chicken only to end up with sad, flabby, who-wants-to-eat-this style skin.

Well, suffer no more because I discovered an incredibly easy, no-brainer tip for getting flavorful grilled chicken with extra-crispy skin.

Extra crispy chicken

Are you ready to get the most extravagantly and heedlessly self-indulgent crispy chicken ever?

It’s this simple: keep the skin out of the marinade.

To do this, pour the marinade into a shallow baking dish. Arrange your chicken skin-side up in the dish, making sure the skin is not submerged. What absorbs the flavor of the marinade is the meat anyway, so you aren’t losing anything by keeping the skin away from the marinade.

Now, let the decadent chicken marinate—uncovered—in the refrigerator, so the skin is exposed to the air and can dry out a little (for once, this terrible feature of the fridge is useful) This extra step will help it crisp up during cooking.

Before grilling, remove your chicken from the marinade, letting any excess drip back into the baking dish, and gently pat dry. Season the chicken skin with salt and grill skin-side down over moderately-low heat until the fat has rendered and the skin is nice and crisp. Keep the heat low—if it gets too high, the fat will sear and not cook slowly and melt away. Flip the chicken and grill for a few minutes skin-side up until cooked through.

best chicken recipe for chiminea

If you’re trying to do this with barbeque sauce and still want to have a slathered, saucy piece of chicken, follow these same steps, and right before you flip your bird for its final sear, give the meat-side a generous coating of sauce. The skin should stay pretty crispy after all of that careful rendering, and the sugary sauce won’t have time to cook down or scorch.

And there's one last thing: When it’s time to take the chicken off the grill, let it rest for at least 10 minutes, but do not cover it with foil. The foil will trap in any steam rising from the meat, softening that crispy crust you just worked so hard for.

crispy chicken


Cooking chicken has been a plan B for years, cooking it on the home oven is kind of easy to have a dry, flavourles result.

When cooking on the clay chiminea fireplace you add this Fiesta element and as always cooking on charcoal is so tasty and crispy that you don't want to come back to this shoe-texture-style home oven chicken.

Cooking in a chiminea is a call for party, fun times with family and friends and, since is made using clay, it gives this timeless sense of pottery decor to you backyard.

Try this recipe and become a grill hero with your chiminea grill fireplace.

This recipe was developed for the 2-pieces chiminea clay. One piece chiminea are hard to cook on since there is not enough space to work on food and to turn it.

You can get a nice 2-pieces chiminea for cooking here, at Pottery Sol y Tierra

On Etsy and on Amazon as well.

Thanks for reading

Next: read my last article here