Summer time is BBQ season! Is there anything better than sitting around with friends and family, hanging out, sharing drinks, reflecting, reminiscing, laughing, eating, creating new memories and catching up on life in general?

My husband’s side of the family makes perfect BBQ- flavorful, tender, with the smokiness you would get from an American styled BBQ, except with a sweeter, tangier and more garlicky twist. It goes amazingly well with garlic fried rice and tomatoes, along with ketchup and the Filipino chili, garlic and vinegar condiment. I’ve never known the secrets to their recipe, as I always ate, but never asked before. We have one coming up and perhaps this year, I will ask what they put in theirs.

Although I’ve made this recipe several times now researching numerous recipes online and played with proportions and ingredients , it’s just never as good as theirs. Perhaps it’s simply just the chicken being on a real charcoal grill or maybe a secret ingredient I have yet to ask about. I always wondered if their version of Filipino BBQ get their sweetness from the ketchup and wondered if they add honey or brown sugar to their recipe? This version I make is mildy sweet, but a little more on the tangier side.

However, I will say this recipe I’ve been following and adapting from Instructables is super simple and does the job in satisfying your Filipino BBQ craving! It’s one of those recipes again where you most likely already have most of the ingredients at home and you dump the chicken or pork in the marinade and forget about it until it’s time to cook it during dinner time!

Here’s the Picture Walk


-3 lbs of chicken (3 packed of the Costco party chicken wings)

– 1 1/3 cups apple cider or white vinegar

–  1/2 cup tomato ketchup or banana ketchup

–  1/3 cup soy sauce (I may try 1/2 cup next time to make it a tad saltier)l or keep it as it is because less sodium is good too and the kids not the Hsu and complained)

–  1/2 can or bottle of soda (this was the list recommended by Instructables: ginger beer ,ginger ale or  7-UP, Sprite,orange juice,pineapple juice, or any other kind of sweet drink- I used Coke this time and I’ve used ginger ale in the past- I may try pineapple juice because inside in the Chicken Tocino I make and it’s pretty spot on).

– 1-2 tbsp garlic powder

– 2 tsp Kalamansi Concetrate (Optional: This was the first time I added this and I think it made it a little tartier- feel free to omit)

-Black pepper to taste (I used between 1-2 tsp)


1- Add all the ingredients together to marinade for a few hours or overnight.

2- Heat up 2-3 tbsp oil and cook about 12 minutes per side more or less on a pan or u til no more blood is running though when you press down on it.


If you’re a novice cook, cook it on low and be patient with it. It can burn easily and quickly if you aren’t avidly watching it. It will take longer this way, but it’s better than burning it. You can up the heat to medium low once the chicken no longer has blood to get it to brown or caramelize it a little more.

I alternated the heat starting from medium low then low to reassess it’s doneness and then put it back on medium low to caramelize the edges a little to mimic it being grilled. There’s nothing like this being cooked over a charcoal grill though. It’s seriously the best BBQ. Not too salty, just the right amount of sweetness and a hint of tart from the lemon or calamansi.

We had ours with snow peas leaf garlic stir fry and quinoa- not the most traditional way to serve it, but we didn’t have tomatoes that day and we needed to catch up on greens. It was delicious together.

Have you ever made Filipino BBQ before? Do you have any secret ingredients or tips you can share with us?

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