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Chicken Inasal (Grilled or Oven Baked)

Learn how to make chicken inasal–Bacolod’s famous chargrilled chicken marinated in sinamak, garlic, lemongrass, calamansi, and ginger. You can make this with any cut of chicken, and it can be cooked in the oven, stove or BBQ.

Filipino Chicken Inasal Recipe

What is Chicken Inasal?

The word inasal is an Ilonggo term that basically means “chargrilled” or “roasted meat”. And I was lucky enough to have my very first taste of Chicken inasal in its place of origin–the city of Bacolod, Philippines. Which stall, you ask? Aida’s Manokan. The best in town according to a dear friend who brought us there.

It was so good, flavorful, and really one of the most unforgettable grilled chicken I’ve ever had. And so today, I’m so excited to finally share with you my attempt at making a homemade version of it.

Chicken Inasal BBQ Grilled with rice

Chicken Inasal Marinade

The key to making a delicious Bacolod-style chicken inasal is getting the marinade right. Its ingredients are quite similar to what I used for Lechon Manok. But what ultimately sets it apart, from all other Filipino BBQ recipes, is its use of SINAMAK.

Sinamak is a type of spiced vinegar that originated from the province of Iloilo City, Philippines. It is made of coconut vinegar, garlic, ginger (sometimes galangal), and chilies. Click here to get the recipe.

To make the chicken inasal marinade, you will need:

  • sinamak (spiced vinegar) – use store-bought or make a homemade version.
  • lemongrass – use fresh. This should be available in most Asian markets or stores.
  • garlic and ginger – get a few pieces from the sinamak or use a fresh piece.
  • calamansi juice – can be substituted with lemon juice
  • pineapple juice – use canned pineapple juice. Use the purest kind as much as possible.
  • sugar – this balances the acidity of the marinade. I prefer using brown sugar for golden color and nuttier flavor.
  • liquid seasoning –  to add depth of flavor and golden color to the chicken; it’s okay to substitute with soy sauce if not available.

Easy chicken inasal: How to make it

Start by preparing the chicken. I recommend using the thighs and legs or similar size chicken pieces as they are easier to cook and you won’t need to use skewers to stretch them.

If however, you prefer to use the whole chicken leg or large piece of chicken breast, then cut a ½”-deep slash along both sides of the thigh bone with a knife. This lets the marinade seep through and helps the meat cook more quickly.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Let it sit for 10 minutes.

Chicken Inasal Ingredients

Make the marinade. Bruised the lemongrass with the back of your knife or a meat tenderizer. Crush the garlic and ginger if using fresh pieces. Otherwise use a few pieces from the sinamak you made. Place spices in a bowl then add the sinamak, calamansi juice, pineapple juice, liquid seasoning, sugar, and black pepper. Stir until dissolved. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Marinate the chicken. Place the chicken pieces on a large zip bag and pour the marinade. Marinate for a minimum of 6 hours or overnight. Remove the chicken from the marinade and as well as the spices that stuck to the skin before cooking.

Cook. This recipe can be cooked on the BBQ, stove, or baked. 

Cooking Method 1: Grill and Bake

To achieve the chargrilled look, you can brown the chicken in a smoking hot skillet/grill pan for a few minutes before placing it in the oven. Remember to baste with the annatto (achiote/achuete) oil prior and while cooking every 10mins or so to achieve that classic chicken inasal “orange-ish” color. Note: The sugar in this marinade burns quickly so watch it carefully.

Finish cooking in the oven at 180c/350f until cook through. Internal temperature must reach 165°F (75°C)

Here are some cook time guidelines for other cuts/cooking methods:

  • Drumsticks/Thighs bone-in: Bake for 30 minutes
  • Skinless boneless thighs: Bake for 20 – 25 minutes
  • Breast: Bake for 25 minutes
  • Wings: Bake for 18 to 20 minutes.

Lemon Grass Filipino Chicken Recipe

Cooking Method 2: Charcoal/Gas Grill

Preheat the grill for 5 minutes. Grill over the hottest side of the grill, turning occasionally until charred in spots, about 5  to 10 minutes.

Set the heat to medium-low, continue grilling (covered), basting with annatto oil and turning every 5 minutes or so, until the meat is cooked through, 20–40 minutes longer. Adjust the time depending on the size and thickness of the chicken. Note: The sugar in this marinade burns quickly so watch it carefully.

For more tips on BBQ grilling, follow this link.

SERVE

Chicken inasal is best serve with rice and your favorite sawsawan. And because I made this in the oven, I was able to save all the chicken drippings in the pan. Tossed the rice over it and made an instant “inasal” flavored rice. Ughh! Soooo GOOD!

Filipino Chicken Grilled Recipe

What’s the best sawsawan for chicken inasal?

I use a mixture of sinamak, soy sauce, and calamansi just like what we had in Bacolod. I also added a few more chilies to level up the spice. Feel free to customize your own mixture depending on your preference.

Can I make inasal without annatto seeds/achuete oil?

The annatto oil is used purely to add color to the chicken. You can skip it entirely and just use a mixture of butter/margarine and vegetable oil for basting.

More Filipino Chicken recipes for your weekly menu:

Watch the Video on How to Make Chicken Inasal

 

Filipino Chicken Grilled Recipe

Chicken Inasal (Grilled or Oven Baked)

Make chicken inasal at home! Bacolod’s famous chargrilled chicken marinated in sinamak, garlic, lemongrass, calamansi, and ginger. You can make this with any cut of chicken, and it can be cooked in the oven, stove or BBQ.
Print Pin
Servings: 4 -5 servings
Author: Mella
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 kg /2 lbs. chicken legs or thighs (bone-in, skin-on (see notes))
  • salt (to taste)
  • ground black pepper (to taste)

Marinade

  • 4 stalks lemongrass (cut and bruised)
  • 2/3 cup sinamak (click to get the recipe)
  • 1 tbsp + 2 tsp brown sugar (or white)
  • 3 tsp liquid seasoning
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice (from the can)
  • 1/4 cup calamansi juice
  • 2 tbsp annatto oil (optional)

Baste

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp annatto seeds
  • 2 tbsp butter (or margarine)

Instructions

DAY 1: Marinate the chicken and Make the Baste

  • Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Place in a zip bag and let it sit for 10 minutes.
  • Remove the outer leaves of the lemongrass. Bruised with the back of your knife or a meat tenderizer. Crush the garlic and ginger if using fresh pieces. You can also use the spices from the prepared sinamak.
  • Place the spices in a bowl then add the sinamak, calamansi juice, pineapple juice, liquid seasoning, sugar, and black pepper. Stir until dissolved. Taste and adjust seasoning/sugar based on preference. You can also add some annatto oil in the marinade to deepen the color of the chicken. Totally optional!
  • Pour the marinade over the chicken. Massage until each pieces are covered with the liquid. Seal the bag and marinate for a minimum of 6 hours or overnight in the fridge. Turn one to two times to evenly marinate the chicken pieces.

Baste

  • Pour the vegetable oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the butter or margarine and annatto seeds. Set the heat to low. Stir together until the oil starts to turn red. After cooking for 2 minutes, turn off the heat. Continue stirring and cook using the residual heat for another 2 minutes. Remove from the stove and allow to cool for 10 minutes.

DAY 2: COOK THE CHICKEN

  • Remove the chicken from the marinade and as well as the spices that stuck to the skin before cooking.

Grill and Bake (cooking method 1)

  • Pre-heat oven to 180c/ 350F.
  • Preheat ovenproof skillet, grill pan, or cast iron pan. Add annatto oil. The skillet should be smoking hot to prevent the chicken from sticking.
  • Add chicken skin-side down and cook undisturbed on medium-high heat for 4 minutes or until chicken is nicely browned. Baste the top with the annatto oil. Flip to the other side and baste again with the annatto oil. Cook for a few minutes until charred. The sugar in this marinade burns quickly so watch it carefully.
  • Transfer the partially cooked chicken in a heat-proof tray and cook the next batch of chicken using the same procedure.
  • Transfer all the chicken pieces back to the ovenproof pan or place it on a roasting rack. Bake until cook through. Internal temperature must reach 165°F (75°C). See notes for suggested cooking times.

Charcoal/Gas (cooking method 2)

  • Preheat the grill for 5 minutes. Grill over the hottest side of the grill, turning occasionally until charred in spots, about 5  to 10 minutes.
  • Set the heat to medium-low, continue grilling (covered), basting with annatto oil and turning every 5 minutes or so, until the meat is cooked through, 20–40 minutes longer. Adjust the time depending on the size and thickness of the chicken. See notes for suggested cooking times.

Recipe Notes and Tips:

Here are some cook time guidelines for other cuts:

  • Drumsticks/Thighs bone-in: Bake for 30 minutes
  • Skinless boneless thighs: Bake for 20 – 25 minutes
  • Breast: Bake for 25 minutes
  • Wings: Bake for 18 to 20 minutes.

Substitutes:

  • Calamansi juice can be substituted with lemon juice or lime juice.
  • Liquid Seasoning - use Knorr, Maggi, or Braggs liquid aminos. Substitute with soy sauce if not available.

To Serve:

  • Chicken inasal is best served with rice and your favorite sawsawan. And because I made this in the oven, I was able to save all the chicken drippings in the pan. Tossed the rice over it and made an instant “inasal” flavored rice. Ughh! Soooo GOOD!
  • Dipping Sauce: I use a mixture of sinamak, soy sauce, and calamansi just like what we had in Bacolod. I also added a few more chilies to level up the spice. Feel free to customize your own mixture depending on your preference
Jump to Video
Course : Main Course
Cuisine : Filipino
Keyword : filipino barbecue, filipino grilled chicken, inasal recipe
Nutrition Facts
Chicken Inasal (Grilled or Oven Baked)
Amount Per Serving (250 grams)
Calories 534 Calories from Fat 342
% Daily Value*
Fat 38g58%
Saturated Fat 17g106%
Cholesterol 143mg48%
Sodium 257mg11%
Potassium 483mg14%
Carbohydrates 13g4%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 6g7%
Protein 32g64%
Vitamin A 413IU8%
Vitamin C 10mg12%
Calcium 40mg4%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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This Post Has 2 Comments

    1. Hi Janella, it probably take 1 hour or more to finish cooking a whole butterflied chicken. I also suggest increasing the temperature a bit to 200c/400f. Use lower rack to prevent the skin from burning.

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