Filipino BBQ Chicken

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You may have noticed that Filipino cuisine is skyrocketing in popularity all over the world. Filipino restaurants are opening up and gaining momentum in cities throughout North America, Europe, and Australia, and one of the most popular Filipino dishes is BBQ Chicken or more commonly known as, Chicken Inasal. Originating in Bacolod City, in the Philippines, this recipe is so popular that it’s on a variety of restaurant menus, and is sold as street food throughout the city. It’s taken off among foodies outside of the Philippines as well, so we had to bring you our delicious, clean eating version that will allow you to enjoy this savory grilled chicken at home.

Traditionally, this recipe is made with lemongrass and annatto, and we’ve combined these ingredients with garlic cloves, apple cider vinegar, and lime juice for a punch of bold flavor that will please any palate. First, grab your mortar and pestle! If you don’t have one, grab this inexpensive model from Crate and Barrel. It’s truly one of the most useful kitchen tools you can own, allowing you to grind herbs, make pesto, and crush nuts easily. Crush your garlic and lemongrass in your mortar and pestle until you’ve made a paste, and combine the rest of your ingredients for a marinade that will make this chicken sing!

Serve this delicious, healthy chicken dish on a bed of java rice or with a side salad of tomatoes. It’s perfect for weeknights, but you can impress your friends with your culinary prowess by serving it at a special dinner party, too!

Filipino BBQ Chicken

Filipino BBQ Chicken

Yields: 4 servings | Serving Size: 1 chicken thigh with sauce | Calories: 315 | Total Fat: 10 g | Saturated Fat: 3 g | Trans Fat: 0 g | Cholesterol: 208 mg | Sodium: 175 mg | Carbohydrates: 4 g | Dietary Fiber: 0 g | Sugars: 0 g | Protein: 50 g | SmartPoints (Freestyle): 6


  • 1/2 stalk lemongrass, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2-1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons annatto oil (if you don't have this, replace with 5 tablespoons olive oil whisked with 1/2 teaspoon paprika)
  • 4 chicken thighs or drumsticks (or combination)


  1. Pound the lemongrass and garlic in a mortar and pestle When it reaches a pasty consistency, add the vinegar, lime juice, 2 teaspoons salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Mix well.
  2. Pour the liquid in a small bowl then whisk it with 1/4 cup annatto oil.
  3. Put the chicken in a ziploc bag then pour the marinade in it. Make sure the chicken are covered with the marinade. Refrigerate between 2 - 6 hours. For best results, marinate them for 6 hours.
  4. For the basting sauce, combine 2 tablespoons of annatto oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and a 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Mix well.
  5. Brown both sides of the chicken on a grill, basting with the sauce occasionally, between 30 - 45 minutes.
  6. Best served with mixed fried rice like java rice. You can also accompany it with a simple tomato salad tossed with extra virgin olive oil, dried oregano and salt.

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