Good food often leaves quite the impression after even just the first taste. The aroma, the blend of flavors, and the ever-pleasant textures are not easy to forget. And Chicken Barbecue that’s done right— with just about the perfect amount of savor and juiciness— possesses that same unforgettable quality.
In my experience, this is the kind of dish that you will definitely want to go back to again and again. There used to be an entire stretch of ihawan or food vendors that grill food in Las Piñas, specifically right along Zapote. If I recall correctly, there were more than 20 stalls right on that stretch. Given the number of stalls, you could probably tell how much Filipinos love to eat their grilled food.
And because of this, I used to eat skewered chicken barbecue nearly every week to satisfy my cravings. And I would mostly go for the chicken breast or “pecho” part. If you love eating chicken like me, you’d know that it’s a pretty good hack to choose chicken breast as it has more meat than the other parts. But if you cook it from home, you probably won’t run out of your favorite part of the chicken, and you get to season it just as you like it.
These days, I am able to have my Filipino-style chicken barbecue right from home. But before we take the steps towards making some of our own, why not learn a bit about this signature grilled dish?
Here’s a bit of background on barbecue in the Philippines:
These days, we have all kinds of ways to cook our meat. From stir-frying to boiling to of course, grilling, we’ve utilized plenty of ways to make our food taste more scrumptious and unique. But back in the olden days, cooks had to get massively creative to figure out some of the cooking methods we have today.
The barbecue method for food is believed to have come from the tradition of slow-cooking food on top of a raised wooden platform that was recorded in a Spanish journal entry. It talked of how the Taino people, members of a Caribbean Indian tribe, would place food they want to cook on top of a big pot placed in a pit. The pot is meant to catch juice that would later become broth. Then they would also cover the pit with hot coal, as well as leaves.
They named this pit “babacoa,” or “sacred fire pit” when translated into English. And this slowly transformed into the barbecuing traditions we know of today! Of course, we are also aware that this would differ in various countries. In the Philippines, we barbecue food by grilling over charcoal. And of course, this is incomplete without the designated sauce or marinade for basting that is different for each type of meat and recipe.
But most often, the Filipino barbecue sauce is composed of tomato ketchup, soy sauce, and the ever tangy calamansi. I add a couple more seasonings for my Chicken barbecue marinade to make it perfectly flavorful without tasting too overpowering. Want a glimpse at my recipe? Keep reading for the steps towards making the classic Filipino Chicken Barbecue!
Let’s learn how to cook Chicken Barbecue:
Starting with the ultimate flavor-maker, our chicken barbecue marinade:
We will begin this process by gathering ½ cup of soy sauce, the juice of 1 lemon, ½ cup of banana ketchup, 2 teaspoons of salt, and 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper in a bowl. Together, these ingredietns create a uniquely sweet, savory and tangy taste that’s perfect for the chicken. Make sure to stir them well together so everything so you’ve distributed everything evenly.
Now take your 4 pieces of cleaned chicken leg quarters, and place these inside a large freezer bag. Grab your bowl filled with marinade, and pour this into the freezer bag with the chicken. We will be making sure that all of the pieces are coated properly with marinade by shaking the bag gently. Afterwards, take all of the air out of the bag before sealing it. Now you can put this in your fridge so that it can marinate over a good night’s sleep.
Preparation steps for grilling our chicken:
After you’ve left the chicken to marinate overnight, you can take the freezer bag out of the refrigerator. Then proceed to take the chicke pieces out, and also pour the leftover marinade in a bowl. Get your grill ready by heating it up as well.
Once hot, you can start placing the marinated chicken leg quarters on the grill. Then grill this for 12 to 15 minutes per side or until you get it fully cooked with medium heat. Because it takes quite a long time to get your chicken completely cooked, you should remember to keep it on medium heat. If you grill with high heat, the exterior could cook faster than the inside of the chicken. You could end up with either a chicken that’s raw on the inside, or is cooked all the way, but with a charred exterior. And so it’s important to keep it on medium heat as you grill!
Also, baste your chicken continuously as you are grilling using the remaining marinade. This will help keep your chicken nice and flavorful. Then with your chicken perfectly cooked, take the pieces off the grill, and place them on your preferred serving plate. This is best if you eat it with some delicious steamed rice!
But if you’re not looking to finish all the servings you made at once, that’s alright too! I’ve got some ways to make sure that your barbecue remains good for eating for some more time.
Tips on storing your Chicken Barbecue:
For storage, the best method would depend on how long you’d need your dish to last. If you want it to stay good for consumption for about 3 to 4 days, you have the option of refrigerating it. First, make sure that your barbecue is down to room temperature. Then you can grab a container of choice that isn’t too deep. This would help get the meat cold faster so you can prevent bacteria from growing in the food.
Another way to set aside your Chicken Barbecue for later consumption is by freezing. You can do this by using an airtight container where all of your leftover barbecue would fit nicely. Place the Chicken Barbecue inside, and then place the container in your freezer. It’s just as easy as refrigerating. This works best if you need it to last for a maximum of 3 months, but if you want it to keep it for a longer time, you can also try vacuum-sealing the barbecue. This can last for 2 to 3 years in your freezer without going bad!
But it’s also important to keep everything in check if you freeze your food. Every once in a while, you should take a look at all of the food you’ve set aside to make sure that nothing is beginning to rot.
Now what did you think of this Chicken Barbecue recipe? Has it made you think about whipping out your grill more often? Well, here are a couple of dishes that you could also try making with the grill!
Other grilled dishes for you to try cooking:
Let’s start with the tried and tested original recipe of pork Barbecue! This is definitely a recipe I’d recommend if you enjoyed making and chowing down on Chicken Barbecue. It has that familiar savory and sweet taste, alongside some notes of rich sourness.
And of course, eating this tasty dish right off the barbecue stick in its most authentic form makes for a comforting, familiar experience! It should bring you right back to days of buying some barbecue for meryenda from a street vendor to satisfy your cravings. This is also perfect to have during celebrations and gatherings, as pork barbecue is a definite Filipino crowd favorite. You’ll likely end up watching each of your sticks of barbecue run out quickly once you begin serving them.
And while this recipe provides all the needed know-how steps for grilling your barbecue, you can refer to this Pinoy Pork Barbecue recipe for my recommended marinade mix. This incorporates the perfect amount of sweetness from brown sugar. It also uses plenty of other seasonings to create the best blend of flavors.
The classic Chicken Barbecue surely comes to mind when we think of grilled chicken. But there is another dish we can also credit for putting the idea of basting and putting chicken above charcoal on the map. Chicken Inasal is an Ilonggo dish that boasts the most gorgeous and tasty marinade and basting sauce. This sets it apart from many other dishes, as it has a one of a kind savor and saltiness that feels well-balanced with other subtler flavors.
We get hints of tanginess in our lemon, just as well as bitterness in coconut vinegar. But they all meld perfectly together to provide the chicken a rich, juicy taste. Given how we grill both, people often mistake Chicken Barbecue and this dish for each other a lot of the time. But if you take one look at the ingredients, you’ll know immediately that they’re entirely different dishes. Both have a unique appeal to them, and so I’d encourage cooking both! Perhaps for your next family vacation?
Now that you’re well-equipped with the knowledge to create some delicious grilled dishes, especially the Chicken Barbecue, how about letting us know what you thought of this recipe? Comment down below for any feedback or questions! Let’s keep the conversation about our favorite Filipino dishes going!
- 4 pieces chicken leg quarters cleaned
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1 piece lemon or 4 pieces calamansi
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup banana ketchup
- Make the marinade by combining the soy sauce, juice of 1 lemon, banana ketchup, salt, and ground black pepper in a bowl. Stir to mix.
- Put the chicken leg quarters inside a large freezer bag, and then pour-in the marinade.
- Shake the bag gently to coat the chicken with marinade then remove the air inside the bag. Seal the bag then refrigerate overnight.
- Remove the chicken from the bag and transfer the remaining marinade to a bowl.
- Heat-up your grill and start grilling the chicken under medium heat for 12 to 15 minutes per side or until the chicken is completely cooked. Do not forget to baste the chicken with the remaining marinade mixture.
- Note: Chicken takes a long time to cook. Grilling it in high heat will cause the outer part of the chicken to cook earlier leaving the inside raw.
- Remove from the grill and transfer to a serving plate.
- Serve with steamed rice.
- Share and enjoy!