Chicken Inasal (Filipino-Style BBQ Chicken)

Updated on June 30, 2020
Edwin Alcantara profile image

As a child, Edwin's mom told him, "If you want to eat, you should cook it yourself." And that's exactly what he's been doing ever since.

Chicken inasal (aka Bacolod chicken)
Chicken inasal (aka Bacolod chicken)
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Grilled Chicken From the Philippines

Chicken inasal is a wonderfully unique and flavorful barbecued chicken dish that is marinated in vinegar and lemongrass, and then basted with annatto oil. The dish originated in the city of Bacolod, which is the capital of the Filipino province of Negros Occidental. Inasal is the Ilonggo word for chargrilled (Ilonggo originally referred to the dialect spoken in Iloilo City. But, it is spoken in Negros Occidental also. In fact, ILonggo is the predominant dialect spoken in Negros Occidental).

Cook Time

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 20 min
Ready in: 35 min
Yields: 4 servings


  • 2 pounds chicken thighs
  • 3 stalks lemongrass, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 thumb ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sea salt
  • 1/4 cup annatto oil (aka achiote or achuete), for basting


  1. Combine the chicken and all the ingredients (except the annatto oil) in a bowl.
  2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Grill the chicken for about 20 minutes, basting often with the annatto oil. Turn the chicken halfway through the cooking time. The chicken is done when a meat thermometer shows an internal temperature of 165 F degrees.


  • You can cut up the chicken into smaller pieces and slide them onto bamboo or steel skewers, similar to Thai chicken satay.
  • Feel free to add your own favorite spices and seasonings to this recipe.
  • Traditionally, you would make your own annato oil by combining vegetable oil, annato seeds, garlic, lemongrass and ginger. But for this recipe, I took a shortcut by using a store-bought annato oil.
  • For a sweet-savory chicken inasal, you can add sugar or Sprite or 7-Up to the marinade.

Annato or Achiote Oil

Though you can made annatto oil from scratch, I usually save time by buying it at the store. I recommend this brand, which you can also find at any local Asian grocery.


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    • Edwin Alcantara profile imageAUTHOR

      Edwin Alcantara 

      5 weeks ago from California

      Yes, Wesman, annatto oil is not common in American bbq but it is commonly used in Asian and Hispanic cooking.

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

      Wesman Todd Shaw 

      5 weeks ago from Kaufman, Texas

      I have heard of marinating chicken in vinegar. What I've never heard of is Annato oil. So I guess I should look into that.

      I'm pretty big into charcoal and wood smoking/grilling these days, and chicken is the most affordable of meats.


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