Bacolod Chicken Inasal is a Filipino chicken dish containing marinated-infused local sauces and spices, which is followed by oven-grilled. The chicken is then basted with annatto oil while grilling, resulting in a deliciously tangy and savory flavor. This recipe is traditionally served with rice, spiced vinegar dipping sauce, and chicken oil.
For tourists or first-time visitors exploring the Philippines, chicken inasal stands out among the must-try Filipino dishes I’d suggest. This grilled Filipino chicken is widely regarded as a local favorite for its deliciousness, making it a culinary highlight worth experiencing.
This grilled chicken was originally introduced in Bacolod, a Philippine city located in the Western Visayas region, which is found in most street food markets. It became so popular that there is already a Filipino fast-food restaurant called Mang Inasal that is serving this chicken nationwide.
What is Inasal?
The word “inasal” refers to the method of cooking which involves grilling or roasting the chicken over hot coals. The grilled chicken is usually served as either the breast (Pecho) or leg (Paa) part, which is eaten with rice, together with soy sauce-vinegar spiced sauce, and chicken oil.
The chicken is marinated for several hours or even overnight with soy sauce, vinegar, calamansi or lime juice, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, and other spices to enhance the flavor and tenderize the meat. After that, it is then grilled while simultaneously, the chicken is brushed with chicken oil or annatto oil to enhance its color and flavor.
Although it is traditionally made using charcoal to have a smoky flavor, I made a healthier version which I grilled in the oven. I prefer this approach since it doesn’t contain charcoal while at the same time, it gives a flavorful charred exterior while keeping the meat tender and juicy inside. It may not have a strong smoky flavor, but I promise it is delicious and much healthier than the traditional inasal.
Here are the ingredients you need to make this delicious bacolod chicken inasal recipe:
Chicken: I am using a combination of chicken leg with thigh since it is the most common and traditional meat part used in this dish. Also, this part is much more tender and moist than the breast or wing part of the chicken.
Marinating Sauce: For the marinating sauce, I use soy sauce, vinegar, calamansi (Lime), brown sugar, lemon grass, onion, garlic, and ginger.
For Chicken Annatto Oil: To make the chicken oil, I use chicken skin, atsuete powder, and garlic. The oil will be used to brush the chicken during the grilling process to enhance color.
Other Ingredients: For the rest, you will need cooked white rice, and spiced vinegar dipping sauce when serving the chicken inasal.
Marinating the Chicken
Before grilling the Bacolod chicken Inasal, I marinate the chicken overnight since this will enhance the tangy and savory flavor.
- Firstly, I placed the onion, ginger, garlic, and lemon grass in the food processor to make a paste which I set aside.
- Secondly, I scored the chicken on both sides so the sauce could penetrate deeper into the meat while marinating.
- Next, I combined the soy sauce, vinegar, calamansi, brown sugar, and the paste into a large bowl. After that, place the chicken into the sauce.
- Lastly, store in the fridge overnight or up to 3-4 hours if you are in a hurry. In the number 8 picture, you will notice that is what the chicken looks like after you marinate overnight.
Step by Step Instruction
I. Making the Chicken Oil
Steps 9 & 10: Add the chicken skin to the empty cooking pan. Let it saute until the skin will release its oil.
Step 11: Once the skin is almost fried by its oil or becomes a bit crispy, I add the sliced garlic and the atsuete powder and gently stir to combine.
Step 12: Once done, I transferred the oil into the small bowl. Set it aside.
II. Baking and Grilling the Chicken Inasal
Steps 13 & 14: Preheat the oven to 200 C or 400 F. In the meantime, I add the marinated chicken to the baking tray with the baking sheet below. Once the oven is hot, place it in the oven and let it bake for 30 minutes.
Step 15: After 30 minutes of baking, you will notice the chicken release a lot of juices. Transfer into a separate plate bowl.
Step 16: To enhance the flavor, I mix some of the juices from the baked chicken into the chicken oil. Gently mix to combine.
Steps 17 & 18: To prepare for grilling, I basted the front side of the baked chicken with chicken oil. Place it back in the oven and broil it for 5-10 minutes or until the chicken has a slightly charred exterior.
Step 19: Now flip the chicken to the opposite side and baste on the back side. Put the chicken back in the oven and broil it again for 5-10 minutes.
Final stage: Serve this chicken with calamansi & soy sauce-vinegar as a dipping sauce, and cooked white rice.
Tips and Hints
- It is much preferable to marinate the chicken overnight to enhance the flavor by allowing the sauce to penetrate deeper into the meat.
- Before basting the manok inasal, I mixed the chicken oil with the marinated sauce or the juices released by the baked chicken to add more flavor.
- During the grilling process, baste the chicken intermittently to keep it moist and infuse it with more flavor.
- The chicken is best served immediately after grilling while it’s hot and juicy for the best flavor and texture.
- If you like your food spicy, you can add a few green chilis along with the other ingredients when marinating the chicken.
- Store the leftover marinating sauce in the freezer for later use.
Other Filipino Chicken Recipes to Try
Here are other delicious Filipino chicken recipes that you can make for your loved one:
📋 Recipe Card
Bacolod Chicken Inasal
Bacolod Chicken Inasal is a Filipino grilled chicken marinated in a tangy sauce, basted by annato-infused oil to add flavor and texture.
- 4 pieces of chicken thighs and drumsticks
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger
- 2 stalks of lemongrass white part only
- 1 small red onion
- 4-6 calamansi or 1-2 limes juiced
- ¼ cup vinegar cane vinegar or white vinegar
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon annatto powder achuete
- 50 grams of chicken skin use the skins from the chicken drumstick and thigh
- 1 cloves of garlic sliced
Marinating the Chicken
Processed Ingredients: Utilized a food processor to create a paste from onion, ginger, garlic, and lemongrass, set aside for later use.
Chicken Preparation: Scored both sides of the chicken, allowing the marinade to deeply infuse the meat during soaking.
Marinating Process: Mixed soy sauce, vinegar, calamansi, brown sugar, and the previously prepared paste in a large bowl before immersing the chicken in the marinade. Refrigerate overnight for optimal flavor infusion or for 3-4 hours if time is limited. In image 8, observe the appearance of the marinated chicken after an overnight soak.
Making the Chicken Annatto Oil
Certainly, here’s the revised version without step numbers:
Add the chicken skin to the empty cooking pan, letting it sauté until it releases its oil.
Once the skin is nearly fried or slightly crispy, introduce the sliced garlic and atsuete powder, gently stirring to blend.
After completion, transfer the oil to a small bowl and set it aside.
Baking and Grilling the Chicken
Preheat the oven to 200°C or 400°F. Place the marinated chicken in a baking tray lined with a baking sheet. Once the oven reaches the desired temperature, place the tray inside and bake for 30 minutes.
After the 30-minute bake, you’ll observe the chicken releasing juices. Transfer the chicken along with the juices to a separate plate or bowl.
To boost the flavor, combine some of the juices from the baked chicken with the chicken oil. Gently mix them together to enhance the taste.
To prepare for grilling, baste the front side of the baked chicken with chicken annatto oil. Return it to the oven and broil for 5-10 minutes until the chicken develops a slight charred exterior.
Next, flip the chicken to the opposite side, baste it, and broil for another 5-10 minutes.
Final step: Serve the chicken alongside calamansi & soy sauce-vinegar as a dipping sauce and cooked white rice.
- Add few chilies along with the marinated sauce if you prefer spicy chicken.
- This recipe is best accompanied by chicken oil, Achara (pickled green papaya), and a dipping sauce made from vinegar, soy sauce, calamansi, and chili.
Serving: 2ServingCalories: 450kcalCarbohydrates: 25gProtein: 30gFat: 25gSaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 70mgSodium: 1200mgPotassium: 400mgFiber: 2gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 150IUVitamin C: 30mgCalcium: 20mgIron: 2mg