Sardi’s Peruvian Chicken: What is Pollo a la Brasa?

Juicy, mouthwatering and packed with flavor, are just a few reasons why pollo a la brasa is consumed by Peruvians on average at least three times per month. However, this cherished dish is no longer just a staple in Peru. Pollo a la brasa restaurants have taken the U.S. by storm and are quickly becoming a favorite among Americans too. But what is pollo a la brasa exactly? Translated, pollo a la brasa is grilled chicken, rotisserie chicken, or chicken over coals. Traditionally, this flavorful meal is prepared by marinating a whole chicken in sauces and spices like vinegar, dark beer or soy sauce, salt, pepper, chili, rosemary or cumin and paprika then slow roasting it on a rotisserie. Letting the marinade seep into meat and then cook and sear as it rotates on a metal spit above hot coals creates a one-of-a-kind flavor experience people seek out.


Today, pollo a la brasa is known worldwide, but its roots run deep through Peru. It all started with a chicken farmer trying to make ends meet over 70 years ago, and has now become a national staple. In 1950, Roger Schuler, a Swiss immigrant living in Chaclacayo, Lima, began marinating and roasting chickens over a slow fire of algarrobo coals. He then advertised for people to come and “eat as much chicken over coals as you can for only five soles.” Due to the great flavor and price, people from all around began visiting his hacienda to partake in eating pollo a la brasa, and eventually Schuler opened a new business called “Granja Azul” which is still open and operating today.

Schuler’s pollo a la brasa had cultural impacts as well. Until then, eating establishments around Lima were all about fine dining, civility and formality. Granja Azul was the only place where utensils weren’t used and people could eat with their hands, working barbarically to get every last piece of meat off of the bone.

As the popularity for pollo a la brasa grew, the demand did as well. Schuler found it hard to keep up as the method for cooking was painstaking. That is, until a Swiss friend of Schuler’s came to him with an idea for a grill that simulated the solar system and had the ability to cook several chickens at one time. Thus, the rotisserie oven was born.

Today, pollo a la brasa, or Peruvian chicken as it is better known in the U.S., is considered the most popular dish in Peru. The national government even created a holiday for it in 2010! It even has its own holiday! On the third Sunday of July every year, one week before Peruvian Independence Day, the people of Peru celebrate thePollo a la Brasa Day or Día del Pollo a la Brasa to honor one of the most consumed and favorite dishes of their country.


After marinating for over 24 hours and slow roasting for close to two hours, it’s time to pull the chicken off the skewer and plate it. Traditionally, joining the Peruvian chicken on the plate are French fries, a small salad, and aji criollo, a yellow chili sauce.


Just like pollo a la brasa, our roots are from Peru too. We are passionate about delivering authentic, delicious Peruvian style tastes and plates to our customers.

What started as a passionate hobby and a dream, has blossomed into a 15-restaurant chain, catering business, and beer bar. Since 2008, Sardi’s has been serving the people of Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania authentic Peruvian food, including pollo a la brasa.

One Bite and You’ll Know. Get Your Pollo a la Brasa Today!