Easy Grilled Filipino Chicken Adobo

Unbelievably delicious with a small handful of ingredients, this Filipino classic is a simple yet thoughtful combination of vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, black pepper, and bay leaves.

Easy Grilled Filipino Chicken Adobo
Perfectly grilled Filipino Chicken Adobo

Adobo is the most famous and popular dish in the Philippines. Although the title of national dish is unofficial, there are few Filipino dishes more popular than adobo. During my 20 months of adventuring in the Philippines, I encountered many different varieties of this delicious "ulam" (think of ulam as the side dish accompanying the main dish, rice). There are hundreds of different types of ulam in the Philippines, but with adobo, there are always the same staple ingredients no matter where you are: cane vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, black pepper, and bay leaves.

The beauty of so many Filipino dishes is the ability to swap proteins! This recipe is designed for Adobong Manok (Adobo of Chicken) and can also be used to make Adobong Baboy (Adobo of Pork). Typically, Filipino chicken adobo is treated as a stew (ulam) which is most often slow-braised for maximum tenderness and flavor, and served over rice.

As you may have guessed; I love cooking with fire, whether it is smoking or grilling, I love creating fusion recipes from classic favorites with a BBQ twist.

Grilled Filipino Chicken Adobo

This recipe evolved naturally for me. So many of my favorite marinades for chicken recipes include soy sauce and vinegar. Allowing the chicken to sit in the ingredients overnight would only amplify the flavor. Combining the incredible flavors of Filipino adobo with perfectly grilled chicken with just the right amount of smoke? Mouth-watering. Then, we can take the leftover marinade and boil it to kill any germs and use it to baste the chicken and use anything remaining over rice when serving the chicken thighs and chicken drumsticks. Thus, Filipino Grilled Chicken Adobo came to be.

You can use any type of grill or barbecue for this recipe, gas grill, charcoal, pellet grill. So don’t let my mention of chicken with a hint of smoke scare you away if a gas grill is your weapon of choice.

Ingredients to make the marinade for Filipino Adobo

How to make Grilled Filipino Chicken Adobo

Prepare the chicken. Place the chicken thighs and chicken quarters in a gallon size zip lock bag.

Combine the ingredients for the marinade. Combine soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, and garlic in a mixing bowl and mix well. Pour the marinade over the chicken and add black peppercorns, bay leaves, onions, and jalapeño (optional) to the marinade, spread marinade evenly before sealing the bag.

Refrigerate and marinate for 3-4 hours, or overnight for best results.

Prepare the grill. Preheat your favorite grill or smoker to 300 degrees for indirect cooking.

BBQ the chicken. Place the chicken on the grill, evenly spaced, skin-side up. Close the grill and let the chicken cook until the internal temperature reaches 160 F. (Note: monitoring the temperature of the chicken can be super easy. We use the ThermoWorks SmokeX4 to monitor the temperature of the cooking chamber and the protein.)

Bring marinade to a boil, then simmer. About 30-45 minutes into the cooking process, pour remaining marinade into a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring the marinade to a boil, stirring occasionally. When the marinade reaches a boil, reduce to a simmer to use for basting and to use over rice.

Base the chicken. When the chicken reaches 160 F, baste the chicken with some of the leftover marinade.

Finish cooking the chicken. When the chicken reaches 175 F, remove from the grill.

Prepare a plate for serving. Serve the chicken over rice and drizzle some of the remaining liquid over the rice and chicken.

How long to BBQ chicken thighs

Chicken thighs and chicken drumsticks usually take anywhere from 1 hour to 1 hour 20 minutes to cook indirectly at 300 F. This depends on multiple factors, including the type of cooker you are using, your elevation, and how large the chicken thighs and chicken drumsticks. We highly recommend monitoring the ambient cooking temperature of your grill and the protein as you cook. Additionally, checking each piece of chicken with an instant read thermometer will ensure every piece of chicken is cooked to perfection every time. 

Years ago, I remember cooking chicken and checking the doneness the old-fashioned way. Using a knife, slicing into the chicken, and visually examining it. I cringe when I think of it. I don’t cringe because I didn’t know better, I cringe because of how it impacted the finished product. I didn’t like grilled chicken for the longest time because I didn’t know that I just didn’t like overcooked chicken.  Overcooked chicken is dry, tough to eat, and there isn’t a marinade in existence that can save chicken that is overcooked by dozens of degrees.

Delicious BBQ is a combination of patience, alchemy, and monitoring. When you monitor your proteins and their temperature, you will be blown away with the difference it makes.

Sloth shares Filipino Adobo recipe with ThermoWorks!

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