Filipino Barbecue Chicken

published May 20, 2024
summer
Filipino Barbecue Chicken Recipe

This tangy, sweet, and salty marinade makes a delicious, weeknight-friendly chicken dish.

Serves4

Prep10 minutes

Cook30 minutes

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overhead shot of filipino barbecue chicken on s teal plate, topped with green onion
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: James Park

One of the easiest and tastiest ways to add flavor to your chicken is to marinate it. This Filipino barbecue chicken has become my new go-to way to cook chicken. Here, chicken thighs are marinated overnight, making them juicy, tender, and beautifully glossy.

What makes this chicken recipe unique is the use of soda and banana ketchup. The carbonation from the soda tenderizes the chicken while adding a nice zing, and the banana ketchup has a unique flavor that makes this recipe stand out.

Even though the chicken gets baked in the oven for this recipe, making it an easy weeknight meal, you can also grill it for that delicious char. 

Why You’ll Love It

  • The marinade is everything. It’s delicious, savory, tangy, and slightly sweet, thanks to the lemon-lime soda.
  • The marinade also does double duty. It becomes the saucy glaze later on, making the chicken look extra glossy.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: James Park

Key Ingredients in Filipino Barbecue Chicken

  • Ketchup. What makes this barbecue chicken taste unique is the use of banana ketchup, which has a subtle sweetness compared to regular ketchup. But you can use a regular ketchup, which still provides that tangy, tomato-forward taste.
  • Soda. The sparkling, citrus-forward taste of lemon-lime soda tenderizes the chicken while flavoring it as well.
  • Soy sauce. A little bit of soy sauce adds a layer of umami to the marinade while seasoning the chicken.
  • Oyster sauce. Slightly thick, umami-packed oyster sauce creates a nice balance with other salty ingredients like soy sauce. 
  • Apple cider vinegar. The tang of apple cider vinegar balances with the sweetness of lemon-lime soda.
  • Chicken thighs. This cut makes the dish extra juicy and moist. You can also use the same marinade for chicken breast or wings if you like.

How to Make Filipino Barbecue Chicken

  1. Make the marinade. Make a marinade by mixing chopped garlic, freshly squeezed lemon juice, ketchup, lemon-lime soda, sugar, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, oyster sauce, ground ginger, kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper. Reserve some for glazing later, and pour the marinade over the chicken thighs in a zip-top bag. Marinate for at least 5 hours or overnight.  
  2. Roast the chicken. Once the chicken is marinated, take it out and roast the chicken over a parchment-lined baking sheet over a wire rack. Roast at 400ºF for 30 minutes.
  3. Baste the chicken to finish. Cook the reserved sauce on the stove to thicken it. Glaze the chicken with the thickened marinade and put it under a broiler for a few minutes until it’s slightly charred.
  4. Garnish and serve. Garnish with scallions and serve with rice. 

Filipino Barbecue Chicken Recipe

This tangy, sweet, and salty marinade makes a delicious, weeknight-friendly chicken dish.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 30 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 10 cloves

    garlic

  • 2

    medium lemons

  • 1 cup

    ketchup, preferably banana ketchup

  • 1 cup

    lemon-lime soda, preferably 7Up

  • 1/2 cup

    packed light or dark brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup

    soy sauce

  • 1/4 cup

    apple cider vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons

    oyster sauce

  • 1 teaspoon

    ground ginger

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    coarsely ground black pepper

  • 2 pounds

    boneless, skinless chicken thighs

  • Thinly sliced scallions, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Prepare the following, placing each in the same medium bowl as you complete it: Finely chop 10 garlic cloves (about 3 tablespoons); juice 2 medium lemons until you have 1/4 cup; add 1 cup ketchup, 1 cup lemon-lime soda, 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons oyster sauce, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper. Whisk to combine.

  2. Transfer 1/3 cup of the marinade to a small, airtight container. Pour the remaining into a large zip-top bag. Pat 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs dry with paper towels. Add the chicken to the bag, seal, and massage to coat the chicken evenly with the marinade. Refrigerate the chicken and remaining marinade for at least 5 hours, or preferably overnight.

  3. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and put a wire rack on top of it.

  4. Remove the chicken from the marinade, letting the excess drip off, and arrange in a single layer on the wire rack. Roast for 15 minutes. Flip the chicken and roast until browned, cooked through, and the thickest part not touching bone registers at least 165°F on an instant-read thermometer, 10 to 15 minutes more. Meanwhile, place the reserved marinade in a small saucepan and simmer over medium-low heat until thickened into the consistency of barbecue sauce, about 3 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat.

  5. Remove the chicken from the oven and turn on the broiler to high. Brush the reduced marinade onto the chicken, using it all. Broil until browned in spots, 2 to 3 minutes. Garnish with thinly sliced scallions if desired.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The marinade can be made up to 2 days ahead. Transfer 1/3 cup to a small airtight container, and place the remaining in a large zip-top bag before refrigerating.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.