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Jan 6, 2002 09:04 PM

Smoked Chicken in San Juan

  • d

My husband and I spent the holidays in San Juan this year. We had a few good meals but none stands out as much as the dinner we had at Metropol. There are several branches of this informal, family-style restaurant in San Juan and we had been to one of them 30 years ago. I remembered they had good Puerto Rican and Cuban food, but didn’t really expect anything special. I don’t speak any Spanish, so I can’t give you the names of the dishes we had. Mine was morsels of fried pork, served over rice and beans, with a delicious cornmeal tamal. My husband was planning to order something familiar, but was convinced by the waiter to try one of the specialties of the house: half a smoked chicken, also with rice and beans, and yucca. I’ve never tasted anything like it in my life! Well, actually, I have, but it wasn’t chicken – it was slow-cooked suckling pig. This chicken had the same marvelous flavor and texture – the skin was completely brown and crisp, flawless in every way. And the meat, which I thought might be dry, was tender and moist.

Has anybody else had this smoked chicken at Metropol or anywhere else? More important: does anyone know how to prepare it at home?

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