I’d been hearing about grilled chicken with llajua (pronounced yak-wa), Bolivia’s ubiquitous tomato and chile grilling sauce, almost since the day a tall musician of Bolivian descent named Gabriel Berthin started dating my stepdaughter, Betsy. “Hot, ” Gabriel said. “Real hot.” (Hmmm, salsa or stepdaughter?) Well, Gabriel is now my son-in-law, and llajua has become a staple of the Raichlen grilling repertoire. And it’s hard to imagine any sort of Bolivian grilled chicken, beef, pork, or lamb without this incendiary condiment to reinforce the fire.
Gabriel’s family uses bone-in chicken breasts on the theory that the bones add flavor and keep the chicken from drying out, and they grill them directly over charcoal. That’s what I’ve called for here; if you choose to use skinless, boneless breasts, shorten the grilling time.