Filipino Chicken Barbecue with Java Rice

Take a trip down memory lane with Aristocrat-style chicken barbeque, complete with classic Java rice and peanut sauce.
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4–6 servings
24 Hrs
Active Time
1 Hr

This recipe follows the Aristocrat school of chicken barbecue: smoky, sticky-sweet chicken served with Java rice and peanut sauce. It’s so iconic, it’s hard to imagine the dish served differently. Even Aristocrat successors Alex III and Reyes Barbecue stick to the template—any small deviation feels like blasphemy.

While an outdoor grill is ideal, chicken BBQ can be cooked indoors with a cast-iron grill pan. It’s the secret to charred, smoky meat, so try to use one as much as possible. Peanut sauce can either be store-bought or made from scratch with common pantry ingredients. Serve with bright-orange Java rice and tangy atchara; it’s not Pinoy chicken BBQ without it!

Chicken BBQ

  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ⅓–½ cup brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup Sprite
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp crushed black pepper, to taste
  • 800g–1kg chicken leg quarter, fillet or bone-in

Java Rice

2 tbsp oil

¼ cup ground pork

2 tsp atsuete (annatto) powder

3–4 cups cooked rice

⅓–½ cup ketchup

2 tbsp butter

Peanut Sauce

  • 2 ½–3 tbsp soy sauce
  • ¼ cup water
  • 4 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 ½ tbsp honey or brown sugar, to taste
  • 2-3 tsp cornstarch

For Serving

  • atchara

Marinate the chicken: Combine soy sauce, brown sugar, ketchup, Sprite, garlic powder, and black pepper in a bowl to make a marinade. Add the chicken, mixing to coat. Marinate the chicken for 1 hour to overnight. Reserve the marinade.


Grill chicken: Prepare a grill on medium heat and brush the pan with oil. Place chicken skin-side down on the grill and cook, turning the chicken every 5 minutes to prevent burning. After every turn, baste chicken with the marinade. Chicken doneness will vary depending on size—juices should run clear and meat should not be pink. If using a digital thermometer, internal temperature must reach 160°F (71°C).


Make Java rice: Heat oil in a wok or heavy-bottomed skillet over medium high heat. Add ground pork, cooking until brown. Add atsuete powder and cooked rice, tossing until heated through and evenly colored. Stir in ketchup, adding more to taste. Add butter, mixing it into the rice while it melts. Divide among plates.


Make peanut sauce: Combine sauce ingredients in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk until the sauce is smooth, thick, and homogenous. Remove from heat and divide among ramekins.


Serve: Serve chicken with Java rice, peanut sauce, and atchara.


You can use leftover chicken marinade to make the peanut sauce. Strain reserved chicken marinade into a small saucepan over low heat. Add peanut butter and stir until dissolved and the sauce has thickened.

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