Filipino-style Barbecue Chicken

Filipino-style Barbecue Chicken marinated in soy sauce, citrus juice, brown sugar, and fresh garlic is bursting with sweet and salty flavors you’ll love! Simple and easy to make, it’s perfect for busy weeknights.

I’ve shared with you a lot of my mother’s recipes and judging from your warm responses, I am glad to see that you love them as much as I do. Her special dishes such as shrimps with oyster sauce, liver and gizzard with sweet peas, and ginataang seafood are a favorite in our family and are often the first to go at our parties or holiday gatherings.

My mother indeed knows her way around the kitchen, but she didn’t cook often when we were growing up. She was a working mom who worked long hours, so it was only on weekends that we got to savor her good food.

What she regularly did, though, was to prepare this Filipino chicken barbecue throughout the week. Every couple of days or so, she would marinate a few pounds of chicken legs and thighs to have ready in the fridge for the times my brothers and I came home from school famished. With the chicken pieces already well-seasoned, we were able to make ourselves a hearty “snack” while she was at work.

My mom’s special chicken was such a part of my childhood even my friends remember it fondly to this day. They used to hang out at our house after school, and we would always fry the marinated chicken and enjoy a mini feast.

In fact, I was on the phone with my high school best friend the other day, and she asked if the recipe was on my blog as she wanted to make it for her family.

I called my mom for the secret to her famous chicken and I was surprised to learn what she used as marinade was but a simple mixture of soy sauce and brown sugar!

The interesting thing about memories, they’re not always as accurate we think. Maybe my tastes in food have evolved through the years or maybe her chicken was hyped up in my head as it had a special significance in my heart because now that I made it myself, it wasn’t quite as good as I remember.

I love my mother dearly, and I am forever grateful for the TLC, but her Filipino barbecue chicken recipe needed a little reworking. 😂

Tips on How to Make Filipino-style Barbecue Chicken

  • To revamp my mom’s recipe, I added calamansi juice (you can use lemon juice) and fresh garlic along with the soy sauce and brown sugar.
  • For best flavor, marinate for at least 2 hours but not more than 4 hours as the acids in the marinade will break down the proteins in the meat affecting its texture.
  • We pan-fried the barbecue chicken as we didn’t have an oven back then but you can definitely grill or bake them instead.
  • If grilling or baking, reserve the marinade to use as the basting sauce. Do not skip boiling the marinade over medium heat for about 10 to 15 minutes until heated completely and reduced for food safety.
  • If pan-frying, have the stove on medium heat to give the chicken a good sear and when all sides are nicely charred, lower the heat and continue to cook until thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the chicken reads 165 F.

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