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Dorothy Dean presents: Filipino-style barbecue chicken

Get your grill on this Memorial Day weekend with this Filipino-style barbecue chicken thighs. (Audrey Alfaro)
Get your grill on this Memorial Day weekend with this Filipino-style barbecue chicken thighs. (Audrey Alfaro)

If you’re planning on celebrating Memorial Day weekend like I am, cooking over a hot grill with a cold brew in hand, I have just the recipe for you try.

Filipino-style barbecue chicken.

I come from a Filipino family, and this is a staple at all our summer cookouts and celebrations. It’s served alongside pancit (stir-fried noodles), lumpia (egg rolls), lechon (a whole roasted pig) and, of course, rice (you know rice) – because in an Asian household, rice goes with everything.

My dad taught me the basics of this recipe, and I put my spin on it.

Chicken thighs are marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, sweet chili sauce, pineapple, brown sugar, fresh aromatics and spices, then char-grilled to sweet and savory perfection. And any cuts of chicken would work. We just prefer thighs.

It’s flavorful, moist and additively delicious. I remember the chicken literally disappearing off the platter as my dad was taking it off the grill.

This marinade can also be used with pork or steak and another popular way to serve it is skewered. Just be sure to soak your bamboo skewers in water for at least 30 minutes before skewering so they don’t burn. And if using chicken, remove the skin.

Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend! And let this Filipino-style barbecue chicken be your welcoming to the unofficial start of summer – and grilling season.

Filipino-style Barbecue Chicken

3 to 4 pounds chicken thighs, bone-in and skin-on

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup sweet chili sauce

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 (8-ounce) can pineapple tidbits with juice

Juice of half a lime

1 onion, quartered

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon sesame oil

Sesame seeds, to garnish (optional)

Sliced green onions, to garnish (optional)

Butterfly chicken thighs, without removing the bones, and arrange in a glass baking dish.

Add all marinade ingredients together in a bowl and stir until sugar is dissolved. Pour mixture over chicken and massage thighs to coat with marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight.

When ready to grill, take the chicken out of the fridge and let come to room temperature. Remove the chicken from the marinade and place on a plate. Discard marinade.

Preheat outdoor grill to medium high heat and lightly oil, or spray with nonstick cooking spray.

Place thighs on heated grill and cook for about 30 to 40 minutes with the lid down, turning occasionally, until slightly charred and cooked through.

Serve with green onions and sesame seeds for garnish, if desired.