Grilled Adobo Chicken

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Smart & Final has some phenomenal pricing on chicken and beef lately, so I've been taking full advantage by stocking up and making some creative barbecue recipes. Adobo chicken simmered on the stovetop is a family favorite year-round, but taking it out to the grill when the weather's nice kicks it up a notch with real flavor depth.

Grilled Adobo Chicken

This Filipino dish is super-easy with a mixture of soy sauce, honey and bay leaves. The chicken is simmered in the adobo mixture prior to grilling for a serious punch that pleases any crowd.

Grilled Adobo Chicken

Yield: 6 servings

Grilled Adobo Chicken

Grilled Adobo Chicken

Adobo chicken simmered on the stovetop is a family favorite year-round. Taking it out to the grill when the weather's nice kicks it up a notch with real flavor depth.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes


  • 4 pounds chicken leg quarters
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup vinegar
  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 4 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp fresh ground pepper
  • 5 bay leaves


  1. Combine the water, vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, brown sugar, pepper and bay leaves in a very large pot. Add the chicken, skin-side down and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Cover and simmer on low 35 minutes.
  2. Move the chicken to a platter and remove the bay leaves. Return the mixture to a boil and cook over medium approximately 30 more minutes, stirring occasionally, until it thickens.
  3. Grill chicken on an oiled barbecue over high heat for 5 minutes per side. Serve with rice and remaining sauce.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 serving

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 619Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 384mgSodium: 2053mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 1gSugar: 7gProtein: 76g

bay leaves

Bay leaves are the secret ingredient to really good grilled adobo chicken. They add so much flavor with just a little effort. You can see I doubled the recipe since we had company coming over. Honestly, I always double it because this makes awesome leftovers.

adobo chicken

Try to submerge the chicken as much as possible so the mixture really soaks in.

boiling chicken

Most of the time involved in this dish is just waiting around while the chicken gets to a boil and then simmers. It's a good chance to tidy up the kitchen and get ready for guests.

adobo chicken ready to grill

By the time the chicken's done simmering, the meat is starting to literally fall off the bone. This just shows how awesomely tender it is! That's why we always pre-cook our meat before barbecuing it.

adobo sauce

Don't forget to take the bay leaves out before you finish simmering the sauce down, otherwise the flavor can become overpowering. And remember to stir it occasionally to keep it from sticking to the bottom. I got distracted this time around and mine ended up slightly charred. I told Nate I did it on purpose to enhance the barbecue flavor. Hah. Cooking is all about confidence, you guys!

adobo chicken on the grill

I love grilled adobo chicken because it gets us out of that barbecue sauce rut that so many families find themselves entrenched in during the busy summer months. This dish is easy to adjust based on personal preferences. I often make it Paleo-friendly with Tamari soy sauce or coconut aminos and organic coconut sugar or honey in place of the brown sugar. You can even swap beef out in place of the chicken for an incredibly tender steak. I bet this would even work really well with pork!

Grilled Adobo Chicken


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9 thoughts on “Grilled Adobo Chicken”

  1. This looks delicious and a recipe my entire family would enjoy.
    I always forget about bay leaves.

  2. Yum! I’ve never tried Adobo chicken but this looks amazing. Yes, I agree about the barbecue sauce rut. I pinned, hoping to try this soon!

    • This looks delicious. The only sauerkraut that I’ve found commerciaily that I really like is Bavarian Style in Fresno at Save Mart. But I will probably never go to the trouble to make it myself. Do you make it to sell at your store or on line? Will visit your store sometime – looks like fun.

      • Oops! I posted this to the wrong recipe – sorry. I meant it for the sauerkraut one. But this sound delicious too and am anxious to try it.

        • Haha no worries, Joan! I actually just make my sauerkraut for home consumption (I know, most people that really get into at home do it to sell but I’m just a big craft foodie). I’m so bummed there aren’t any Save Marts near me yet because I’ve heard phenomenal things about them! I’m actually working with them on a campaign right now and I totally drool over the recipes everyone comes up with.

  3. OMG…I want to run to the grocery store and make this for my family tonight!! This looks so good!! How long did you simmer the chicken?? Excellent!!

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