Slightly sweet, slightly sticky — these adobo drumettes are delicious little crowd-pleasers.

They’re caramelized and crispy, yet meaty.

Just all-around likable legs.

It’s a good go-to for a party. 

I made the adobo for the first time at a family get together.

It was supposed to be my backup meat. I thought everyone would probably stick to the beef brats.

I was wrong. They really enjoyed the adobo chicken.

Although this Filipino dish has been compared to Chinese-style barbecue chicken, the taste is unique.

I think it’s their reddish crispy-sweet-sticky nature that seems a little Asian.

To crisp-up the drumettes, I popped them in the broiler for a few minutes. They caramelized, turning dark and sweet.

The sauce should not be skipped. It’s a nice smokey-sweet complement to the yummy legs.

Chicken Adobo

adapted from Giada De Laurentiis, “Giada at Home”

  • 1 cup white wine vinegar (see note)
  • 1 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 12 -13 chicken drumsticks
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • freshly chopped chives for garnish, optional

In bowl, whisk together wine vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, red pepper flakes and bay leaves. Place drumsticks evenly in a 9×13 dish. Pour marinade over chicken and cover securely. Refrigerator for at least 2 hours, turning over once halfway through marinating time. (I marinate mine for 6 to 7 hours.)

Place chicken and marinade in a large Dutch oven, or two large saute pans. Add chicken broth to chicken and marinade (if using two pans, distribute broth evenly between both pans). Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, turning chicken over every 20 minutes. Verify chicken is cooked through with a meat thermometer, which should read 165 degrees when inserted into thickest part of the meat.

In the meantime, preheat broiler. Line two baking sheets with foil and spray lightly with vegetable spray.

When chicken tests done, remove from marinade and place on baking sheets. Broil for about 10 to 15 minutes, turning over every 5 to 6 minutes. Chicken should caramelize and the skin will crisp up and darken.

For sauce, remove the garlic and bay leaves. Whisk in cornstarch and bring the liquid mixture to a boil. Simmer for a few minutes, until cornstarch completely dissolves and sauce thickens slightly.

Sprinkle chopped scallions over chicken and serve the sauce on the side.

Note: I was wary when I saw the amount of vinegar in the dish, and became even more worried when the dish smelled vinegary while marinating and cooking. However, the chicken cooks up beautifully — no bad vinegary-ness at all.