As someone who has travelled the Philippines extensively, the smell of Lechon Manok cooking always brings back memories of the street vendors located on every road that you could pick up a delicious snack.
What is Lechon Manok?
Lechon Manok or Filipino-style charcoal roasted chicken is a staples in the Philippines. Marinated and stuffed with local ingredients, this is similar to traditional roast chicken with different flavour infusions and most importantly – cooked on a charcoal grill. “Lechon” refers to BBQ, so you will often see recipes for other Filipino dishes including Lechon Kawali and most popular Lechon Baboy (roast whole pig).
With a simple ingredients list and minimal skills required, you can enjoy a healthy and sumptuous meal if you follow the right steps.
Key to the recipe is cooking the chicken over hot charcoal either on a rotisserie or in a tray and rotating during the cooking process. Cooking over charcoal enhances the flavour with the smokiness and dry heat which crisps the skin evenly across the chicken.
Marinating the chicken is also essential and you will want to give at least 24 hours for the marinade to infuse with the meat so don’t cut down on the time allocated for this.
This recipe is traditionally served with garlic rice and fresh calimansi juice squeezed over the bird but you can substitute with a lime or lemon and lime juice combination for a similar flavour.
As always support your local producers to minimise your food footprint and get the best quality ingredients. Many of these ingredients can be grown at home, so if you master this dish you can create a fully self sustained dish.
Lechon Manok Recipe
This recipe is for the traditional
Preparation Time: 6 hours
Cooking Time: 2-3 hours
Total Time: 8-9 hours
- 1.5-2kg free range whole chicken
- 1 large red onion sliced
- 4 inch cubes ginger crushed
- 6 cloves garlic crushed
- 4 dried bay leaves crumbled
- 1 stalk lemongrass
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- 4 calamansi (2 for the marinade, 2 to serve)
- 1 large bunch of green onion
- 1 stalk crushed lemongrass
- Using a large mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients.
- Place the chicken inside a large zip lock. Pour the marinade in the bag with the chicken. Stuff the chicken with the onion and lemongrass and then refrigerate for at least 24 hours.
- Remove the chicken and place in a foil container. Remove the lemongrass and onion and re-stuff with fresh onion OR your preferred stuffing choices.
- Place your chicken on a charcoal grill or a rotisserie if available. Your charcoal grill should be maintained at a steady 150 degrees celsius.
- Flip the chicken 20 minutes into if using a tray and then leave cooking with the lid down for 2.5-3 hours or until the internal cooking temperature reaches 75 degrees celsius.
- Transfer onto a plate and rest for 5 minutes or until the juices subside. Roughly chop and serve with traditional Filipino garlic rice.
Serving size: 100g
Let us know how you went with cooking your first Lechon Manok! Do you have any other Filipino dishes you would like included in the series? Submit a suggestion through our contact page.