Neil Perry's piri-piri chicken

Neil Perry
Neil Perry's piri-piri chicken
Neil Perry's piri-piri chicken  Photo: William Meppem

This spicy, delicious dish is made for eating with your fingers.



120g medium-long red chilli

1 tbsp dried chilli flakes

2 cloves garlic

30ml red wine vinegar

30ml whisky (optional, but provides great flavour)

juice of 1 lemon

1 bay leaf

250ml olive oil


1.6kg whole chicken, washed and patted dry

sea salt

30ml piri-piri oil

10g smoked paprika

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

10g thyme, finely chopped

1 lemon, juiced

lemon wedges, to serve


1. For the piri-piri oil, place all the ingredients except the oil into a blender and blitz until smooth, slowly adding the oil after 20 seconds. Place in a container and let sit for a minimum of 1 hour, but preferably overnight.

2. For the chicken, use a sharp knife or kitchen shears to remove the backbone. Then flatten it out by placing it skin side up on a cutting board and applying firm pressure to the breastbone. Rub with sea salt in both the cavity and skin before transferring it to a wire rack set over a foil-lined baking tray.

3. In a bowl, combine the 30ml piri-piri oil, smoked paprika, garlic, thyme and lemon juice and mix well to combine. Rub mixture all over the chicken and allow chicken to marinate for 1 hour or overnight.

4. Preheat oven to 240˚C (220˚C fan-forced). Roast the chicken, basting occasionally with extra piri-piri oil until cooked through, about 25 minutes. The juice should run clear when the thickest part of the thigh is pierced with a skewer.

5. Remove chicken from the oven, and allow to rest before carving and serving with extra piri-piri oil and lemon wedges.