When I think about the sights and smells of our street in the Philippines, this is what I’ll think of – little homemade grills with hot, smoking coals, where people stand around in a cloudy haze of smoky-smoke leisurely fanning the grill area with little pieces of cardboard. And if you walk closer and get past the haze, you’ll see that there are wire grates over the coals holding sizzling skewers of golden, crispy chicken barbecue.
I’ll be the first to admit it: I feel confused calling it chicken barbecue because in my mind that involves barbecue SAUCE and I’m a girl who loves my Sweet Baby Ray’s. But here, chicken barbecue is nothing more than perfectly grilled pieces of real chicken (no boneless-skinless-chicken-breasts here) in easy-to-eat skewer form. How seriously genius.
For this, the skin stays on so the chicken meat gets nice and juicy, even though the outside is basically double-charred-crispy. Like literally, the uncle (like how it’s the uncle this time instead of the aunties? thank you very much sir!) who showed me how he was making this communicated that the first pan of chicken in this picture below was like a little resting pan for keeping the chicken after grilling it just once, and then the second pan was for when the chicken pieces that had been finished by putting them back on the grill… again. Grill, rest, grill. And it’s totally crispy and juicy and wonderful, especially with that skin. Thank you, Filipinos, for opening my eyes to the magic of chicken skin.
So here’s chicken barbecue, CSC slash Filipino style, in pictures.
- 6 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 bouillon cube
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 lbs. chicken thighs, cut into small pieces (at the shelter they keep the bone in)
- Combine all the ingredients except chicken to make a marinade. Marinate the chicken for 3-4 hours.
- Start a charcoal grill and let the coals get very hot. You want smoking, flameless coals. Thread the chicken pieces onto wood skewers and place on a metal grate over the coals. Brush with oil and grill until the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest for a few minutes.
- Repeat the grilling process with the cooked chicken, brushing with oil as necessary, until the outside of the chicken is a deep golden brown with a crispy exterior. Dip in a soy sauce and vinegar mixture with bird’s eye chilis for a little spiciness.
Hop on over here for my post on Chicken Barbecue on the Children’s Shelter of Cebu website. And if you start thinking that I’ve forgotten about FRIED chicken, believe me you. I ate so much of that in my year in Cebu – there’s a full post on that a-comin.