30 Jul2012

The single most popular recipe on this blog in the past 8 years has been the recipe for Chicken Inasal that I posted in August 2006, here. It has been visited close to 100,000 times and I have received dozens if not hundreds of reader comments and emails regarding this particular recipe. It is a classic in our household, and apparently, quite a few readers seem to like it as well, whether they live in North America, Australia, Cebu, Europe or wherever…

When I was in Cebu last week, we got a phone call from a visiting Filipino/Australian foodie and author who asked if she could do a brief unplanned and unscheduled interview. I agreed. A long lunch turned into an invitation to cook together the next day and we worked through three relatively simple Filipino recipes at the Zubuchon head office. Hopefully one or two of them will make it into her cook book in some form or another, but more than that, it was a pleasure to host someone so curious about our cuisine, and who is planning to write a Filipino cookbook for the Australian market… One of the dishes we did was this chicken inasal recipe. We made a huge batch, using 5 whole chickens cut into parts, and prepared them more or less according to the original recipe, here.

It was a hot and breezy day, and the charcoal flames turned positively forest fire like, much hotter than the ideal grilling temperature. I can normally hold my palm over a charcoal fire for a second or two, but here I had to pull my hand off the grill as soon as I attempted to check the heat of the fire. Despite the flare-ups, incredibly hot temperatures and the huge load of chicken, the cooks managed to cook all of the chicken without burning them to a crisp… :)

The chicken, was delicious, perhaps requiring a further half hour of marination as not all the pieces got tangy enough, but with a dip of vinegar or sinamak, they were exactly the way I like my chicken inasal. This is a recipe that is relatively easy to duplicate almost anywhere in the world, and probably one of the reasons the recipe has been so popular on the blog…

With the coals still going, we also threw on a few kilos of mackerel so the crew could enjoy a lunch of chicken inasal and inihaw na isda. Simple food. But incredibly satisfying. Best wishes to “Y” and I hope the book project goes well. :)



  1. risa says:

    We are having this today :) using your recipe!

    Jul 30, 2012 | 11:32 am


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  3. Zerho says:

    The inasal post brings back memories, “chicken inasal” was my google search 5 years ago which led me here to MarketManila. It was love at first ‘site’, thanks for all the recipes and info Sir Marketman! And due to this post i now know what i will be having for dinner!

    Jul 30, 2012 | 12:03 pm

  4. Vickie B. says:

    I must agree! Your inasal recipe is really good and very easy to make. I usually serve it with a grilled talong salad–perfect match :-)

    Jul 30, 2012 | 12:15 pm

  5. la emperor says:

    I prepared this last year with my eatcetera group, using your recipe. ‘ Was a big hit.:)

    Jul 30, 2012 | 12:52 pm

  6. Marketman says:

    la emperor, have plans for a Cebu visit crystallized? Or are you in Manila this weekend instead? :)

    Jul 30, 2012 | 12:58 pm

  7. la emperor says:

    MM , will message you in a minute.

    Jul 30, 2012 | 1:06 pm

  8. Lalaine says:

    I cooked the same recipe last month for my ofw folks vacationing. they raved about it. thanks for the recipe! my kids and i are leaving for the US tomorrow morning. new place and and a new life, but this blog will always bring me to home.

    Jul 30, 2012 | 1:09 pm

  9. lee says:

    I want a pa-a and one isol. Salivating as I sit and wait for my flight to Dustneyland.

    Jul 30, 2012 | 2:39 pm

  10. jhg267 says:

    how can it be ensured that the inasal is cooked thoroughly without any blood left inside?

    Jul 30, 2012 | 2:47 pm

  11. terrey says:

    i just had a Vietnamese lunch…but would rather have these grilled delights anytime!

    Jul 30, 2012 | 3:23 pm

  12. robin castagna says:

    I should try that inasal recipe. :) The mackerel or alumahan as we call it here in Manila, on the other, we cooked the other day. My mom’s from Bicol so she made her version of the Bicol Express or as she calls it Ginataang Sili. Fry big alumahans then flake the meat to bite sized pieces. Set aside. In a kawali, mix together the sliced onions, thinly sliced siling haba (without the seeds if you want it less spicy), bagoong (we wash it then squeeze as much of the water and saltiness out). Turn on heat. Simmer away until about a quarter of the liquid has evaporated then add the flaked alumahan. Be careful not to stir as much or the fish will turn to mush. Cook until the gata disintegrates to its oily goodness and the aroma of bagoong-sili-latik permeates the air. Haayyyy!!!!!!

    And as with all great cooking, it only gets better reheated. :D

    Jul 30, 2012 | 3:29 pm

  13. Gigi says:

    hi MM, can you pls share what you season the mackerel with prior to grilling? I’m a newbie at cooking.

    Jul 30, 2012 | 4:13 pm

  14. Marketman says:

    Gigi, often the crew simply remove the innards, season with salt and pepper and grill directly, relying on a dipping sauce to ramp up the saltiness, sourness, etc. However, in this particular case, I think the cooks did a quick marinade in vinegar, kalamansi and possible a touch of soy sauce before grilling the fish… robin, that sounds delicious! Will have to try that sometime. lee, what do you mean? Are you headed back to the desert? Lalaine, good luck on the move, it will be a challenge, but hopefully it will work out well in the end… And yes, use the blog as a link home, I can’t tell you how many dozens of readers have told me over the years that they moved or migrated, and the blog was a source of comfort and diversion for them… :)

    Jul 30, 2012 | 4:38 pm

  15. millet says:

    yes, MM, this inasal recipe spelled the end of our long search for the inasal as close in looks and taste to the ones in bacolod. thanks again!

    Jul 30, 2012 | 7:59 pm

  16. Marketman says:

    jhg267, I like to sear my chicken over hot coals, then transfer them to a part of the grill with indirect heat until they cook through. However, I do like my chicken a bit juicy still, not totally dried to the bone…

    Jul 30, 2012 | 8:12 pm

  17. PITS, MANILA says:

    i used to marinate the chicken with vinegar from bacolod, salt, pepper and luyang dilaw. didn’t find them delicious, too sour for my taste but the kids loved it. it went on for quite some time, actually until the last drop of that sukang bacolod.

    Jul 30, 2012 | 8:51 pm

  18. gezel says:

    Why is it that reading this blog makes me feel melancholy and longing for home. Bacolod inasal is in my dna.

    Jul 30, 2012 | 9:57 pm

  19. risa says:

    MM, I’ve been spying on your grill for a while now. Did you buy these, or did you have them custom made?

    Jul 30, 2012 | 11:29 pm

  20. betty q. says:

    MM…maraming salamat for the inasal recipe. I have made them so many times using your recipe but the only thing I did different was to brine them first in my garlicky brine. I found that brining keeps the chicken moist and juicy albeit I grill them for a good 30 to 45 minutes on medium heat on the barbecue until nicely browned and crisp skin forms. The chicken has no traces of blood whatsoever inside , still moist and juicy…not dry at all, jhg267!

    Jul 31, 2012 | 12:07 am

  21. sd says:

    Hello, Betty Q! How long do you brine the chicken? Do you still marinate for an hour afterwards?

    Jul 31, 2012 | 1:39 am

  22. EbbaBlue says:

    I too have tried many different barbecue marinade, kahapon lang korean style ang niluto ko.. but honestly hindi ko pa na-try itong Bacolod Inasal. Its about time na di-ba; tutal I have a whole bottle of that special vinegar. Yon nga lang, konti lang ang chicken ko, so I will add some pork chop. And yes Ms. Bettyq, I will brine it firts.

    Jul 31, 2012 | 4:18 am

  23. betty q. says:

    Sd…4 hours or more brining for just chicken legs is good enough for me if I am in a hurry. I have brined stuff overnight (half chickens) and it still remained moist after grilling. An yes, after brining, I still marinated it in MM’s inasal marinade though I held back a bit on the garlic and the salt for the brine had about 4 large cloves of garlic for 4 cups water, pepper, etc. It was just right for us after grilling. It was a bit of work but worth the effort!

    Jul 31, 2012 | 5:42 am

  24. Marketman says:

    bettyq, yes, brining works well for chicken! It’s an extra step, but well worth the effort! However, for beginners, I suggest just 3-4 hours for brining modest sized chicken parts until you get the hang of it. I find you can overbrine small chicken parts… As for the time in the marinade, not too long either, as the meat gets a bit sour and the acids can break down the texture of the meat. The same advice for pork barbecue… on the streets or in commercial pork barbecues, what is sometimes viewed to be tender and soft is to me mushy and texturally damaged meat… risa, the heavy cast iron grills come from a commercial kitchen supplier in Cebu called Cebu metals. If you go into a commercial kitchen store, most will have these heavy duty grills for sale. On Pioneer Street in Mandaluyong, there is a place with stainless steel tables, etc. in the front parking lot, inside, they have these kinds of grill tops along with hundreds of other kitchen items. However, we did custom design the barbecue to fit the pre-made grills… :)

    Jul 31, 2012 | 6:30 am

  25. corrine says:

    bettyq, can you please give the measurements of the salt and other ingredients per kilo of chicken? I tried brining before but didn’t work out well. :(

    Jul 31, 2012 | 12:45 pm

  26. betty q. says:

    Corrine…In a blender, I put 2 cups COLD water first, then add 3 to 4 large cloves peeled garlic, 2 tsp. pepper, 2 tsp. garlic salt, 2 tsp. salt (I use cucharita as measuring spoon). I blend it till the garlic is pureed. Then I pour it over the chicken legs in a PLASTIC bucket. add another 2 cups of COLD water. For color, I add some turmeric…so it has a tinge of yellow. I do the water half and half because if I put the whole amount of water (4 cups) in the blender, it might just splatter all over the counter! The proportion above is just the base. You can add herbs to it if you want. But sometimes, I prefer to grill them as is without herbs after draining it. It still tastes really good just like lechon manok. Anyway, the brine above is enough for 4 pounds of chicken legs (no backs attached). Since I am still going to marinate them in MM’s marinade, then I do not add any herbs to the brine. Depending on the size of the chicken legs, make maybe 1/2 more recipe of the brine just enough to keep all the legs submerged. This brine has worked for me for soooooo many years (over 15 years) and I know it will work for you as well! Also, for the chicken legs, I prefer to buy again the smallest ones for they cook in less time plus para makarami!

    MM’s post reminded me to make this again so I have chicken legs ready to be brined and marinated tom. morning for supper tom.

    Jul 31, 2012 | 2:20 pm

  27. Alex says:

    Real Bacolod chicken inasal takes a bit longer marination. Horrors, no star margarine at all please. This is really basted in achuete oil. Many really use tuba vinegar instead of regular one. It does make a difference.

    Aug 1, 2012 | 10:31 am

  28. jazzie says:

    Thanks MM for unselfishly sharing your ideas, which for some would be the trick of their trade. And to you Betty Q for your inputs. Been a quiet follower for some time already. May your tribes increase.

    Aug 2, 2012 | 2:01 pm

  29. Mama Mia says:

    Yummy MM! I think I used to eat this with sinamak??? By any chance, does anyone here know how to make sinamak?

    Aug 2, 2012 | 10:14 pm

  30. 321GO says:

    Your inasal recipe has replaced my own in our household. Its a big hit with both family and friends, never fails to satisfy. Thank you!

    Aug 4, 2012 | 8:15 am

  31. Clarissa says:

    I tried this recipe on a rainy Tuesday! It came out brilliant. i added too much soy sauce, so it was darker than I wanted, and instead of grilling, I kinda boiled it in its marinade and allowed to crisp up in the same pan. Yummy. This is the real inasal flavor. I remember refusing to eat in the many local inasal joints because the food was bad. And it was only now I realize how bad some of the food are after having tried this. Never settle for those fast food joints.

    Aug 8, 2012 | 10:46 am

  32. marsh says:

    Hi MM, i am living in Singapore where barbequeing is a no-no (on our block it is, you have to go out to the bbq pits which is quite a hassle).. but i really miss the inasal and want to try cooking it. Would there be an over-the-stove-top-version of it? Thanks

    Aug 17, 2012 | 3:55 pm


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