Cebu Lechon Manok at Home

Sexy chicken 🙂

I know the posts are coming in late based on the timeline, but I’ve been cooking up a storm having had some time (to rest) on my hands. This is what we had for Easter Sunday! 🙂

I have attempted roast chicken before and it has turned out well, but I don’t think my roasted meat has turned out this THIS WELL. It was as good as planned, and tasted as great as I imagined. And my imagination is a big thing to match. 🙂

My measure of good roasted liempo and great lechon manok is the Cebu version, which has not failed to make me happy. Of course, I have attempted this a couple of times with the liempo, but my mom was never really content with it. I have found it great, but she hasn’t. 🙂

So this one, being my first time to cook the chicken this style, this had to be perfect. After all, I’m making two whole chickens, and this was supposed to be our celebratory Easter Sunday lunch! The only thing I bough different for this recipe is the lemongrass, or tanglad. Lemongrass is some kind of weed that we also use for green curry. It’s a bit spiny and it’s actually a weed, my mom tells me, but it really smells so good. It’s the secret of the Cebu lechon recipes. That and the right seasoning.


As my mom advised, I should pre-cook the chicken before roasting it in the oven (I didn’t have a rotisserie and i wasn’t planning on sweating it out on the backyard in the wonderfully hot summer’s day. I was planning to cook it in the oven from the very beginning. Going back, she advised me to boil it, and I agreed since I know that boiling it will make sure it’s cooked, and it’s moist and tender.

Boiling the chicken

In a pot, I put in the following ingredients: onion, lemongrass, salt, calamansi, soy sauce, chicken powder, and enough water to cover a butterflied chicken. I had limited cooking pots and I needed to resort to cooking only one chicken at a time. Each chicken took about 40 minutes to fully cook and tenderize. But I swear, the effort was so worth it. But before adding the chicken, ensure that the whole thing tastes good already. A little bit saltier than needed. And then add the chickens and cook through.

After the chickens cooked, I cooled the broth and dumped into the chicken container. At least this would ensure that the chicken would be juicy, I think 🙂

Chicken and pansit

The next day, two hours before lunch, I started cooking again. I asked ate Pines to concentrate the broth and she did it wonderfully, with the leftover “broth” almost like a too strong tasting gravy. I lined the roasting pan with the leftover lemon grass stalks and also the cooked, strained onions and lemongrass from the broth. I was a bit afraid of the lemongrass catching fire so I sprinkled this with a bit of water. I placed on top the two cooked chicken. Using the concentrated broth, I injected the chicken all over with it. Then I basted the chicken with the same mixture and allowed to cook it 30 minutes. I then injected and basted it again. I got some of the watery drippings at the bottom too, and I returned the pan in the oven cooked it again for 30 minutes. And for the last time, using the watery drippings and allowing it to cook down again, I took it out again,injected it and  basted it again, then a lot of freshly ground pepper on top, and in the oven for 1o minutes. Allow the meat to rest for 15 minutes.

On a plate, slice 🙂 The drippings, with the fat removed, make wonderful gravy 🙂

Homemade Cebu Lechon Manok at home, and at its finest 😀

Cebu Lechon Manok Recipe

2 medium onion, unpeeled and quartered
2  bundles of lemongrass, cut (around 20 roots, and only up to about 10 inches from the roots)
5 pcs calamansi
soy sauce
chicken powder or other seasoning
2 whole chicken, cleaned, butterflied and backs removed

Prepare the broth by crushing the lemongrass roots, and adding it to onions, calamansi juice, water and salt. Use whatever seasoning you want. Boil and taste. Add the chicken and allow to cook through, making sure that the meat has the wonderful taste of the broth. Remove the chickens and place on pan lined with the leftover lemongrass. Boil away the broth until the mixture resembles a thick sauce. Inject the chicken with the concentrated broth and baste the chicken using the same sauce (please read up for the more detailed things I did). Place in the oven. Do again two more times. 🙂



8 thoughts on “Cebu Lechon Manok at Home

    1. I used just enough water to cover the chicken. I cooked it in a narrowest possible vessel that just barely fit the raw chicken to lessen the water as well.

      I cooked the chicken for about 45 minutes in the broth. And another 30 minutes in the oven (after it has stayed in the fridge overnight. The broth was cooked until it was syrup and used to flavor and color the chicken before roasting 🙂

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