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Lechon Manok

Filipino Roast Chicken and Gravy



For Brine:
½ gallon water
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons sugar

For Marinade:
½ cup light soy sauce
¼ cup vinegar
1/2 cup annatto water (1/2 cup annatto seeds + 1/2 cup water soaked overnight)
2 tbsp sugar
5 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 bay leaves

For Stuffing / Final seasoning:
1 stalk lemongrass, quartered
2 inch knob ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1.5 tbsp Kosher salt
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 lime (or lemon)

For Gravy (Optional):
1 cup vegetable or chicken broth
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole milk
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves

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Brining Chicken:

In a large pot, add in 1/2 gallon of water, 2 tbsp of salt and 2 tbsp of granulated sugar. Bring the water to a simmer and stir to dissolve the salt and sugar. Cool this brine mixture to room temperature. Immerse a 3.5 to 4 lbs. chicken and let it brine for 6 hours in the fridge.

In a small bowl, add 1/2 cup of annatto seeds and 1/2 cup of warm water. Let this soak for 6 hours.

Marinating Chicken:

In a large bowl, add in 1/2 cup of soy sauce, 1/4 cup vinegar, the 1/2 cup annatto water (leave out the seeds), 2 tbsp of sugar, 5 cloves of garlic (smashed), 2 tsp of ground black pepper, and 2 bay leaves. Stir this together to combine.

Remove the chicken from the brine, and transfer to the marinade mixture, and let it marinate for 4 to 6 hours.

Roasting Chicken:

Remove the chicken from the marinade, and pat it dry. Let it air dry in the fridge for 1 hour to overnight. Letting it air dry overnight is preferred, to dry the chicken out, which will result in crispier skin. Take the chicken out of the fridge 1 to 2 hours roasting. This will help the chicken cook more evenly.

Season the outside of the chicken with 1 tbsp of kosher salt and 1 tsp of ground black pepper. Season the inside of the chicken with 1/2 tbsp of kosher salt and 1 tsp of ground black pepper.

Stuff the chicken with 1 stalk of lemongrass (quartered), and a 2" knob of ginger (peeled and roughly chopped). Stuffing the chicken helps it to cook more evenly.

In a small bowl, melt 4 tbsp of unsalted butter, squeeze the juice of 1 lime into it, add in 1 tsp of paprika and 1/2 tsp of cayenne. Mix this together, and brush this mixture all over the surface of the chicken. Add the squeezed lime rinds into the cavity as additional stuffing.

Truss the chicken, and place on a wire rack over a baking tray (to catch the drippings) with the breast side up. Roast the chicken in a preheated at 350 F oven until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160 F, approximately 2 to 2.5 hours.

Let the chicken rest for 15 minutes before carving.

Optional Step for Gravy:

While the chicken is resting for 15 minutes, transfer drippings and scrape bits of crisped up skin/oils from the baking tray into a small saucepan.

Add in 1 cup chicken and 1/2 cup of milk. Heat over medium heat, and whisk in 2 tbsp of all-purpose flour and 1 tsp of fresh thyme.

Let it boil for 5 to 10 minutes, until the gravy coats the back of a spoon. Serve the gravy over the chicken. Enjoy!


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