Chicken Inasal image
Ulam | Main Dishes

Chicken Inasal à la JT’s | Bacolod-Style Grilled Chicken Recipe

Inasál is the Visayan term for “grilled” or “spit-roasted”; the Tagalog equivalent is inihawInasál na Manók is one of the famous specialties of Bacolod, Negros Occidental (Western Visayas). This is perhaps the best chicken barbecue ever. When grilling the chicken, the people of Bacolod usually catch the drippings in a pan and use these to moisten the rice, which makes for a very rich and tasty dish.

An authentic Bacolod inasál has the chicken pieces skewered. Usual parts would be, in Bacolod terms as they appear on menus of Inasál houses: paa (whole leg—drumstick and thigh), pecho (half a breast), pecho-pak (breast with wing), pak-pak (whole wing—drumette, wingette or flat, and wing tip), isol (pwet), bol-o (skin), li-og (leeg or neck), atay(liver), baticolon (gizzard), and for the more adventurous palate: dugo(blood cubes) and tina-e (intestine).

The use of Star Margarine gives it the authentic “Bacolod inasal nga manok” flavor. For butter-lovers like me, Star Margarine was a big no-no when I was growing up; it was for me the ultimate in artificial flavor, leaving a long-lasting thick greasy mouth feeling. Despite being hyped as “pampa-tangkad” (height enhancing)—remember those ads where moms stirred heaping spoonfuls of Star into steaming-hot rice—yikes!—I stuck to Anchor butter for my pan de sal (breakfast rolls) or in cooking. 

Until I started to cook Inasál na Manók, now it has to be Star Margarine, and no other (but only for this dish); garlic-flavored is the best. As long as the last basting is sufficiently grilled away, there’s no cloying greasy-mouth feel, I swear. I’m sure butter will work out fine in its stead, but my son—who’s a regular in many of the Bacolod Inasal joints in town—looks for the unique Inasal flavor; he loves to slather the achuete oil-margarine mixture in his rice. 

chicken inasal top

Chicken Inasal | Bacolod-Style Grilled Chicken

Inasál na Manók is one of the famous specialties of Bacolod, Negros Occidental (Western Visayas). This is perhaps the best chicken barbecue ever.
Servings 4



  • 2 to 3 stalks lemongrass (use the bulbs only, crushed)
  • juice from 15 kalamansî
  • ½ c vinegar
  • 2 T garlic minced
  • 1 onion chopped coarsely
  • knob of ginger peeled and chopped coarsely
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t coarsely ground pepper

Basting Sauce

  • ¼ c Achuete Oil
  • ½ c garlic-flavored Star margarine melted

Dipping Sauce

  • ½ c vinegar
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • juice of 2 kalamansî
  • 1 T crushed garlic
  • 1 onion chopped coarsely
  • ½ T ginger chopped coarsely
  • 2 siling labuyo chili pepper


  • In a bowl, combine marinade ingredients. Marinate chicken for at least 1 hour; overnight in the fridge is fine.
  • Make the basting sauce: In a bowl combine achuete oil and margarine; set aside half for basting in the grill, the other half for basting on the table.
    Inasal basting sauce image
  • Make the dipping sauce: In another bowl, combine dipping sauce ingredients; set aside.
  • Prepare the grill. Remove chicken from marinade. Make two thin slices on each piece to ensure even cooking. Skewer chicken in bamboo sticks. Baste with achuete oil mixture. Barbecue over medium-hot coals until cooked, basting frequently with achuete oil-margarine mixture.
  • Serve hot with Sinangag (fried rice or steamed rice, dipping sauce, and the reserved achuete oil mixture—the latter to baste the chicken and/or rice.


* Serve with a side of Atchara and a bottle of Beaujolais!
* The best vinegar to use for the marinade is sukang Paombong (palm vinegar); if not available, use cider vinegar.
* To avoid cross-contamination, separate the basting sauce to be used on the cooked chicken from the basting sauce to be used on the raw chicken. Discard any basting sauce left over from the grill; do not re-use and especially do not serve on the table.

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