Filipino chicken barbecue (Inihaw na manok)

Filipino chicken barbecue or inihaw na manok

I recently joined the Kulinarya Cooking Club, which consists of a group of bloggers who share a love of Filipino cuisine. What started in Sydney, Australia grew into a truly international bloggerhood, and I’m thrilled to be part of it. A monthly theme is chosen, and for June, it was (appropriately so) barbecue.

When I think of Filipino barbecue, my mind first turns to our wonderful street food classic: barbecued pork in skewers. It’s the kind of food you can’t get enough of, no matter how sticky everything gets: your fingers, lips, mouth, cheeks … then you run out of clean napkins and try to sneakily wipe your grubby hands on your jeans. (Or, if you’re subtle enough, on the jeans of the person standing next to you.)

Unfortunately, Tom doesn’t eat pork. So I decided on another Filipino classic on the grill: chicken barbecue. And if you’re Filipino, you know the words “chicken barbecue” never fail to bring to mind the landmark restaurant Aristocrat, where an order of their popular chicken barbecue comes with a serving of Java rice and achara. I wasn’t ambitious enough to attempt Java rice because it’s been years since I last had it, but I did make achara (pickled green papaya) to go with my chicken.

achara or pickled green papaya

Filipino barbecue is often marinated in a mixture that includes 7-Up or Sprite, likely for its tenderizing effect. But that was pretty much all I knew. So I started out by going online and looking at all the different recipes for Aristocrat-style chicken barbecue. I bookmarked a few, noticed the common elements in many of them, then sat down to draft my plan of attack. Then it dawned on me. Why search the internet when I can get the family recipe directly from the source?

So I called my mom, who rattled off the recipe over the phone. I had to scribble furiously, because she was in a rush: she was home watching the NBA finals and didn’t want to miss any of the action. (Yes, that’s my mom.) I noticed her recipe didn’t include catsup (banana catsup or regular tomato catsup), which was often mentioned in online recipes as either part of the marinade or a component of the basting mixture. My mom was adamant: the family recipe for chicken barbecue contains absolutely no catsup. For good measure, she sent a message to our family cooks back home to verify the recipe she gave me.

This chicken is incredibly moist and flavorful, and the reduced marinade has just the right balance of sweet and savory, having cooked off the tartness of the vinegar. Paired with achara and plain jasmine rice, it is a combination that instantly recalls our weekly family reunions from long ago, when all that we kids had to worry about was how much we could eat before it became impossible to go right back outside and play hide-and-seek in the yard. And I’m so glad I remembered to get the family recipe instead of relying on internet versions, because for me, this is the taste that brings me back home.

Filipino chicken barbecue or inihaw na manok


Filipino Chicken Barbecue (Inihaw na Manok)
Serves 4

If you have concerns about boiling the used marinade, double the measurements for the marinade and set half aside for the basting mixture.


1 1/2 cups cane vinegar, or 1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
3 bay leaves, torn or crushed
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 garlic cloves, finely grated
1 tablespoon finely ground black pepper
12 oz. 7-Up or Sprite
5 pounds chicken leg quarters or your preferred chicken pieces, preferably dark meat, cleaned and trimmed of excess fat

In a large container that can hold the chicken pieces, combine all ingredients except chicken. Mix until sugar is dissolved. Marinate chicken in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or up to 8 hours.

Take the chicken out and transfer the pieces to a large plate. While waiting for the chicken to come to room temperature, pour the marinade into a small sauce pan (or discard the marinade and pour the additional reserved marinade into a sauce pan) and boil over medium to high heat until the marinade is reduced to a sticky syrup.

Heat your grill to 350 degrees or medium heat. Grill chicken pieces, bone side down, for about 8 minutes, then reduce the grill temperature to 275 degrees. Continue grilling bone side down for about 20 minutes, basting once. Flip the pieces over and grill for another 20 minutes, basting occasionally. Continue grilling, flipping, and basting until chicken is fully cooked. Check for doneness by piercing the joint to ensure juices run clear, or until chicken reaches 163F internal temperature.

Take chicken off the grill, tent with foil, and let rest for about 5 minutes before serving.

Filipino chicken barbecue or inihaw na manok

Filipino chicken barbecue. Perfect for summer cookouts and for fueling up before you spend hours chasing your cousins all over the yard. The only caveat is that one serving of this can cause an acute attack of homesickness.

Have a look at my brand new Kulinarya Cooking Club page, where you’ll find the links to the blogs of all the other members. I can’t wait to see what everyone else will be posting! Then stop back in tomorrow, when I share our family recipe for achara. It’s incredibly easy to make, and the perfect condiment for all kinds of grilled meat.



42 Responses to Filipino chicken barbecue (Inihaw na manok)
  1. chef_d
    June 21, 2010 | 2:34 am

    Your chicken barbecue looks delicious! Great job!

  2. Jessica @ How Sweet
    June 21, 2010 | 6:43 am

    That chicken sounds perfect. Looks delicious!

  3. Jenny Flake
    June 21, 2010 | 10:05 am

    This is downright delicious!! Love this recipe, makes me wanna fire up the BBQ this instant :)

  4. Maria
    June 21, 2010 | 10:16 am

    Great summer recipe. The hubs will really enjoy this one!

  5. Steph
    June 21, 2010 | 10:37 am

    I am making a similar 7up chicken tomorrow night. Your chicken looks delicious!

  6. MichelleSG
    June 21, 2010 | 10:42 am

    Oh yay, a pinoy bbq recipe that doesn’t include ketchup! I think the ketchup was an eventual concession to all of the white men that the pinas married. It’s hard to find the correct recipe for pinoy bbq and my mother had a cook when she lived in the PI so she has no idea how to cook most everything. We can make sinigong (have to use the tamarind packet tough), pancit, and lumpia. It’s a good thing too because those 3 are the most important. Thanks so much for the bbq recipe!

  7. Pia (Taga_Luto)
    June 21, 2010 | 11:00 am

    Your inasal looks so juicy and delicious it does look like the Aristocrats. I have a similar version on the marinade but put a mixture of catsup and soy sauce for basting. Good job on making an extra mile to make your own atchara…i so miss them=;)

  8. Jen @ How To: Simplify
    June 21, 2010 | 1:05 pm

    I would love to have some of this BBQ chicken for dinner tonight. It looks absolutely delicious!

  9. Fuji Mama
    June 21, 2010 | 6:12 pm

    I have to admit that I am not very familiar with Filipino cuisine, and so I love it when you post about a particular dish–I learn so much! This looks delicious, and I’m so glad that it doesn’t use ketchup. :)

  10. Cookin' Canuck
    June 22, 2010 | 12:11 am

    What a fantastic family recipe – please thank your mum. Your photos are beautiful and I’m guessing this chicken tastes even better!

  11. peachkins
    June 22, 2010 | 7:26 am

    Your chicken barbecue looks really good…and with the atchara…it’s perfect!

  12. cusinera
    June 24, 2010 | 10:25 am

    Wonderful Bbq chicken, I will definitely try your recipe and I like the idea of reducing the marinade liquid for glazing. S-A-R-A-P!

  13. Maggy@ThreeManyCooks
    June 24, 2010 | 12:04 pm

    We made this the other night. And though I was sick with the flu and had little appetite, I ate it and thought it was one of the tastiest BBQ’ed chickens I had ever had. So I can’t imagine how much I would love it if I were well!

  14. CarolineAdobo
    June 24, 2010 | 3:13 pm

    I was raised eating Aristocrat, THE barbecue chicken and have never cooked it myself so I’m glad you shared your Mom’s recipe with us. And the achara recipe, too! All very good, a welcome addition to my family’s summer grilling! :)

  15. Becky
    June 28, 2010 | 3:13 pm

    I made this Friday night, it was really wonderful. Thank you so much for posting this!

  16. skip to malou
    July 4, 2010 | 11:46 am

    hello erika!

    Great to see this post. after your tweet, i skipped over here and voila… i see this chicken bbq. yeah im taking my marinated chicken bbq ala “aristocrat” to my friends’ 4th bbq!

    i was not able to join KCC for last month’s posting but hmmm maybe i could still make pahabol! i actually followed my old recipe (one of my earliest postings) and yeah it had ketchup on it .. but hihihi i used sprite too… would that be ok to re-post something i’ve posted before then? hmmm…

  17. chrissie
    July 18, 2010 | 10:44 pm

    How does the marinade become sticky? I’ve been boiling it for more than 15 mins and it still has the same loose consistency. Do I have to add cornstarch or flour?

    • ivoryhut
      July 18, 2010 | 10:48 pm

      Nope, no cornstarch. Just boil it on high heat. The sugar, soy, and the sugar (again) in the soda will be enough to make it sticky once it reduces. I had the same problem the first time I tried it, then I realized I was reducing it on my simmer burner, which was taking forever. I took it outside and put it on the burner next to the grill over high heat, and it reduced in a matter of minutes. Hope that helps!

      • Susie
        May 28, 2012 | 1:50 pm

        I have been boiling this on high for over 20 minutes and although the quantity has reduced…it’s not any thicker. What gives?

        • ivoryhut
          May 28, 2012 | 2:37 pm

          Hi Susie! Just reduce it to about half or less, and it doesn’t have to be very thick like syrup. (Did you by chance use diet soda? Diet soda doesn’t have the sugar content of regular soda, so that can impede the process. It will stil thicken but it’ll take much longer.) Once you notice the sauce/marinade just slightly thick enough for basting, you can take it off heat. It continues thickening some more off heat. Then, while you’re basting the chicken, if you’d like to have some reserved sauce for serving, you can continue reducing a portion of it to your desired consistency. Keep an eye on it though! Once it starts to thicken, it can quickly go from perfect to burned. Hope that helps!

  18. ronald g.
    July 20, 2010 | 11:35 am

    you know what i will be starting my small business venture on chicken barbecue here on our village in las pinas,thanks for sharing ur family customed chicken bbq and i can add some of ur sangkaps in my own bbq recipe and hopefully with Gods grace my business will click and satisfy the taste of every customer in the village.i didnt use soy sauce coz i remember my mum said when she was still with us that it will burn the skin and make the chicken bbq black.

  19. Thella @ I Love. Therefore, I Cook.
    August 22, 2010 | 10:21 pm

    glad to hear that Filipino foodies unite through KCC :) this pinoy chicken bbq is a true favorite

  20. Gini
    August 28, 2010 | 9:08 pm

    My husband and I just made this, and it took me straight back to Subic Bay, beach barbecues and playing hide and seek until sunset! I actually teared up a little. Thank you so much for this stellar recipe!

  21. […] Burgers, or at least my take on them at MSCK. 20. Thomas Keller’s Ribs from me at MSCK. 21. Filipino Chicken Barbecue from Erika at the Ivory […]

  22. Marcella Tomlin
    January 31, 2011 | 11:04 am

    I tried this recipe once with ginger ale (I’m caribbean,so it’s a given) and it was absolutely wonderful. The ginger added to the wonderful aroma, and was a great balance to the apple cider vinegar. I will try this recipe on party wings for the Super Bowl. And I was considering making this low carb-friendly. I’m all about the carbs, but I have friends who don’t have diverse palates because of dietary restraints. I want to get the same stickiness one would normally get with sugar, but what would be a great alternative? I was considering xylitol.

  23. Madihe
    February 27, 2011 | 9:25 am

    those delicois chicken make me mad … yam yam

  24. JTNK
    March 23, 2011 | 5:29 am

    “A wonderful article you posted. That is so informatory and creative. Please keep these excellent posts coming. You helped me so much. Thanks for sharing!” Weber 2290-22 12-inch Charcoal Kettle

  25. […] Filipino Chicken Barbecue (Inihaw na manok) from Erika of Ivory Hut…she mentioned that you really must make the Achara (Pickled Green Papaya) side dish to go with the barbecue. And, you should listen to her. […]

  26. Mich
    April 4, 2012 | 1:19 pm

    I just love this recipe. The boiled marinade was a fantastic baste; it gave the chicken that subtle sweet twist that makes filipino BBQ unique. This is a keeper. Thank you!

  27. OneWay Graphic Studio
    April 11, 2012 | 10:08 am

    Your chicken bbq is so awesome! And they look tasty. :) Great job on your post. :)

  28. raquel macarambon
    July 27, 2012 | 7:01 am

    for this month of fasting for us muslims, foods served should be extra special..m gonna try this one and send you a feedback on how it went..thank you, you’ve of great help!

  29. Jewel Elacion
    September 7, 2012 | 9:40 pm

    thank you so much for the tips. its very helpful. I’ll try to cook this dish and i can’t wait to let my husband taste it. Again, thank you and God bless.

  30. Lanie Mendoza
    October 12, 2012 | 8:46 pm

    Super delicious! Been looking for a barbecue recipe without the catsup. I tried it and my family loved it! Thank you! Great job!

  31. Aurelia
    November 13, 2012 | 10:47 am

    This chicken looks amazing, i am absolutely speechless about this beautiful skin!

  32. Erin
    November 13, 2012 | 10:39 pm

    Thank you for posting this! I was in the Philippines during college and this was one of my favorite foods. A friend taught me how to make it before I left, but I haven’t been able to get it quite right. Since returning to the USA.

  33. malouise09
    June 3, 2013 | 5:38 pm

    thanks for posting your recipe. am cooking one tonight for the 2nd time. my husband and daughter loved it the first time i tried it. i did it without the soda and still taste great!!! thanks again.

  34. Julie B.
    June 9, 2013 | 6:46 pm

    I loved your recipe so much, I blogged about it :) So good, and so easy to do!

  35. Isedro C
    November 11, 2013 | 9:55 pm

    What a great surprise to see this recipe online! My parents used this basic marinade recipe for everything… chicken, pork… even our Thanksgiving Turkey! We use this marinade and the turkey is always a hit. Everyone fights over the turkey gravy that comes from the same drippings of the marinade. I recommend everyone try it this Thanksgiving. You get a beautiful brown turkey. You just need to make sure to tent the bird during the final cooking…

  36. Angelene
    April 16, 2014 | 12:43 pm

    I will be having an out of town trip with my in-laws this coming friday (holy friday) and I am going to use this recipe, is this right though? Only 1/4 cup of soy sauce but a lot of soda??pls reply asap..

    • ivoryhut
      April 16, 2014 | 12:46 pm

      Hi Angelene! Yes, the recipe is correct. I use Filipino soy sauce, and too much of it will make the dish too salty. You want a nice balance of salt and sweet here. I suggest making it with the 1/4 cup soy sauce and then adding salt later on if you find it still needs it. Hope it turns out well, and enjoy your time with the family!

      • Angelene
        April 17, 2014 | 9:07 am


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about me

I write, cook, play music, and make pictures. Not necessarily in that order. I was born and raised in the Philippines, and it shows. That means I eat rice with every meal, love my cousins like my own siblings, and firmly believe that avocados are best eaten with cream and sugar.

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One summer night in 2010, our house burned to the ground and we lost everything we had. This is the story of what happened and how life and hope can always rise from ashes.