What do you do when it’s the first week of November, you have a ton of Christmas lights and a reasonably tall tree? – Hang the lights on and around the tree and grill like you’ve never grilled before of course!

We (my family and I) get to celebrate our first real Christmas this year in our new home so we wanted to make it special. Yes, this is how excited for Christmas we are. In our household, barbecue is special.

There’s barbecue and there’s barbecue. I’d like to believe what I did falls under the latter because I didn’t make the run-of-the-mill barbecue (meat+ketchup+soy sauce+vinegar+brown sugar)………..I made Inasal. *Cue gasp*

It was a lightbulb moment for me when I was juggling ideas for my barbecue. I really like the taste of Inasal – salty, sour, smoky, with a hint of sweetness. Mang Inasal’s variety is smoky and sweet and I enjoy drowning the chicken thigh (my all-time FAVORITE chicken part) in soy sauce, vinegar, chili and atsuete/achuete/annatto oil. Pure bliss.

I’ve always been curious how they make authentic Bacolod Chicken Inasal. I was perusing recipes and blog posts and it turns out, Market Man and Jun Belen have their own recipes for Chicken Inasal. They have the same components, albeit in different proportions: citrus juice, vinegar, garlic, ginger, salt, pepper, sugar and lemongrass.

Market Man swears that authentic Inasal (from Bacolod) is basted with a mixture of Star Margarine, achuete oil and pepper. One thing that’s striking with Inasal is the absence of soy sauce in the marinade. I guess it’s reserved for the dipping sauce then.

What I did for my version:

1. I went crazy with the garlic and ginger. And yeah, that’s one long lemongrass stalk.

2. I toasted the garlic and ginger from the marinade with the melted margarine, and then I added the achuete oil and the pepper to make the basting sauce. I alternately basted the meat with the achuete margarine mix and the marinade while it was grilling. Liquid gold.

3. I used chicken and pork

And let me tell you…..It tasted amazing.

Holy mother of god it tasted amazing!

I kid you not – I think I started a whole new family tradition when it comes to grilling. It was everything I could ever look for: salty-sour, smoky, succulent meat. The lemongrass imparts a fresh, citrus-y scent to the meat that makes it all the more indulgent. I didn’t even see the need for a dipping sauce.

Will I ever get to truly taste authentic Bacolod Inasal? Well writing this made me realize I should put that on my bucket list. Or better yet, make a totally new bucket list devoted to food! But for now, I’ll gladly settle for this recipe. And I say that with the most satisfied smile in the world.

Chicken (and Pork) Inasal (serves 6 – 8 )

because we have huge appetites, adjust as needed

6 – 8 pieces chicken leg and thigh + 1 kg pork belly


  • 3 bulbs garlic (minced; you can use a food processor)
  • a 3 inch knob of ginger (minced; you can use a food processor)
  • juice of 4 lemons
  • 3 / 4 cup vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
  • 2 tablespoons rock salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 lemongrass/tanglad stalk, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  1. Mix all the marinade ingredients together and adjust taste to your preference.
  2. Add the meat and marinade for at least two hours or overnight.
  3. Grill the meat, alternately basting with the achuete-margarine mix and the marinade. Be careful not to let the meat burn.
  4. Serve with a steaming cup of rice. Dipping sauce (soy sauce, vinegar, chili) is optional. Enjoy!

for the Achuete – Margarine mix

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3-4 tablespoons annatto/achuete seeds
  • 1 small tub Star Margarine (get the smallest tub out there)
  • two spoonfuls of the garlic and ginger used in the marinade
  • 1/2 tablespoon freshly cracked pepper
  1. In a small saucepan, heat the oil. Add the achuete seeds and allow oil to color. Once the desired rich orange color is achieved, remove from heat.
  2. Strain the oil into a cup to remove the seeds.
  3. Using the same pan, melt the margarine until hot and frothy.
  4. Add the garlic and ginger and allow to toast. Add the pepper.
  5. When done, remove from heat and use it for basting the meat.

17 thoughts on “Inasal

  1. Hello.this looks delish. 🙂 i was wondering if you know how to make the chicken oil itself?the one you put on your rice. 🙂 or do u use the same recipe as the one u use for basting? i really like it.i hope you can help me with this. 🙂 im desperate to know how. 😀 thanks.hope to hear from u the soonest.
    P.S. I wanna try ur recipe as soon as i can! 🙂

  2. Bacolod chicken inasal…tasty and yummy…thanks for posting. Reading about your post makes me long for these babies

    Thanks to Mang Inasal, more Filipinos have been introduced to this wonderful dish but I don’t consider their recipe to be authentic. The chicken inasal that I crave are those that are served at Manokan, a row of inasal restaurants in Bacolod that has been around for many years.

    • my pleasure. I haven’t been to bacolod as well and the farthest place i’ve been to and tasted their chicken inasal was dumaguete. I liked it a lot! if i’ll get the chance to go to bacolod, i’ll drop by manokan. 🙂 thanks for the tip!

      • You’re welcome. Yes, if you do have a chance to visit Bacolod, do drop by Manokan. It is a Bacolod landmark of sorts…Most of the stall’s owners (if I am not mistaken) are related so the taste or their inasal are almost the same…the ambiance isn’t that great but the food that they serve is delicious…Arghhh, now I am wishing I could go back again for christmas…lol

  3. Hi Gio! It’s so nice to meet you and thanks for dropping by my blog, in turn it led me to yours.

    That chicken inasal looks amazing!

    BTW, yes you can use Nestle all purpose cream for the truffles..

  4. P.S. I have tried making smoothies using frozen fruits – but not canned ones. I am not sure how that would turn out, especially since canned fruits are usually in syrup.

    Thanks for visiting my blog! Drop by anytime!

    • thanks for the visit! re the frozen and canned fruits – my thoughts exactly…fruits swimming in sugar syrup isn’t exactly part of a healthy smoothie. haha! yes, i’ll most definitely drop by again, your blog is great as well. 🙂

      • Thanks! Sure, add me to your Blogroll. I have also been contemplating on adding one to my blog, but the lay-out I chose didn’t come with it. Maybe when I get some add-ons.

        Re your question – I am living in sunny Florida. Ok, scratch the sunny part. It has been cold/raining lately. 😉

        P.S. Which school did you go to?

        • haha you do that, and i like blogspot for that kind of flexibility.

          im still in the philippines, specifically in zamboanga (i studied in the ateneo). i have yet to leave the country to work haha. but hopefully in a few years i might do that. i used to blog at blogspot, ive been there for 5 years but i wanted a change of scenery and here i am. but i really miss blogspot though, it’s really flexible which is really a great merit. haha

  5. This DOES look absolutely amazing! I’ve never cooked with achuete seeds, in fact, until I looked it up, I didn’t know what they were. Sounds like they yield a very unique flavor. Love this recipe!

    • thank you! the achuete seeds do have flavor, and i’m still trying to properly describe it and i think i need time to really articulate it. haha! you should try this, maybe bake the meat instead of grilling it? i never tried it so i’d like to know how it goes. 🙂

  6. Oh my God! I wanna try this when I get home to Zambo! Where do you get the atsuete oil? We used to have an atsuete tree at home but it’s long gone. 😦

    • I made my own using achuete seeds and oil. the seeds were sold in packs and we bought it in mindpro, and i think abundant rin yan sa market. haha I’ve never seen an atsuete tree but it would be nice to have one. haha. you should try this! it’s tasty! :))))

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