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Chicken Barbecue Glazed with Apple Butter and Coconut

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They were sweethearts from third grade. He fell in love with her at first sight. He was a bright boy so he got accelerated 3 grades ahead. “You left me behind in 3rd grade,” she said teasingly each time they told us this love story.

My husband’s parents would have celebrated their wedding anniversary last Friday, the 23rd. I loved them dearly like my own parents. In the same way, they doted on me like I was their own daughter. My relationship with them was seamless from the start. They enjoyed telling us stories from their youth, their courtship, finding each other after being apart during WWII, their wedding day and all the family stories after.


(Remedios Pineda Quirino and Dr. Constante D. Quirino from Tarlac, my husband’s parents)

It is these beautiful, poignant stories that kept our memories of them alive to this day. The last time they visited us here in the east coast it was summer. They flew from the Philippines and stayed with us for a month. I cooked everyday for them and we relished their time with us and the children, not realizing it was going to be the last.

A few weeks ago, my husband grilled these barbecue chicken pieces, as he often does during the summer. We both thought of his parents, and remembered how they sat outdoors with us on the patio, years ago, over a similar meal like this.

The difference then and now was that we had a large jar of  apple butter which we mixed into the marinade. The addition of the tangy yet sweet flavors of apple butter to a cup of thick coconut milk gave the chicken glaze an attractive golden hue. As the grill did its job of cooking for us, the chicken skin turned crisp and sweet. The warm breeze on the patio was filled with the lush scent of  barbecue flavors. It was unbearable to have to wait till the grilling ended. The robust smoke from the outdoor grill flew around us.

As we dug our hands into the honey hued chicken pieces and savored the succulence of every bite, we fondly remembered Papa and Mama, knowing they would have enjoyed this because it had all the flavors they loved – sweet and savory yet so tender, you couldn’t even pierce it with a fork because it just fell apart. It would have been a joy to cook this for them and listen to their love story all over again.



Chicken Barbecue Glazed with Apple Butter and Coconut

This Chicken Barbecue Glazed with Apple Butter was made with sweet Musselman’s Apple Butter combined with lemon juice and coconut milk. It was a great marinade for these barbecued chicken on the grill. It resulted in very flavorful, tender and moist pieces. The sugary glaze gave the outer chicken skin the right golden brown hue and crispness. This is an Asian In America recipe.  Servings: 2. 
Prep Time1 day
Cook Time55 minutes
Total Time1 day 55 minutes
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: American, Asian
Servings: 2 people
Calories: 1009kcal
Author: Elizabeth Ann Quirino


  • 3 to 4 pounds chicken cutlets bone in, about 5 pieces
  • 1 cup Musselman's Apple Butter
  • 1 cup coconut milk canned
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled; finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 stalk scallions chopped (for garnish, optional) green onions
  • for serving: chilled vegetable salad


  • To make the marinade: In a medium sized bowl, mix the marinade : Musselman’s Apple Butter, coconut milk, lemon juice, minced garlic. Blend well.
  • Rub the chicken pieces with salt and black pepper powder all over. Place the chicken inside a large plastic resealable bag. Pour the Musselman’s Apple Butter marinade over the chicken pieces. Seal the bag and refrigerate marinated chicken overnight.
  • To grill the chicken: The next day, preheat the outdoor grill to a medium high temperature between 375 to 400 F (shows on the gauge).  Place the chicken pieces on the middle rack and cook on the grill for about 55 minutes or till completely cooked. Baste the chicken pieces with the leftover marinade every 15 to 20 minutes. Turn the chicken pieces over halfway through the grilling so the pieces do not burn.
  • Pierce the thickest part of the thigh or breast with a fork to check if chicken is thoroughly cooked at the end of the grilling time. To plate, garnish with chopped green onions. Serve chicken with a cold vegetable salad.
  • Recipe notes: The weather was stormy when we cooked this chicken. So as an alternative, roast the chicken pieces in the oven at 375 F, in a deep roasting pan, covered with foil for 45 minutes. Then continue cooking the chicken pieces on the outdoor grill for another 20 minutes at a high of 400 F till the skin has a crusty, darkened glaze.
  • Cook’s comments:  Apple Butter is an old fashioned, highly concentrated form of apple sauce produced by slow cooking apples with cider or water. The long cooking process makes the sugar in the apples caramelize, thus the deep dark brown color of apple butter.
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Serving: 1g | Calories: 1009kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 147g | Fat: 42g | Saturated Fat: 25g | Cholesterol: 435mg | Sodium: 1968mg | Potassium: 2766mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 264IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 60mg | Iron: 6mg

Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.

Did you like this recipe?I have more Filipino Instant Pot recipes in my newest cookbook Instant Filipino Recipes: My Mother’s Traditional Philippine Cooking in A Multicooker Pot by Elizabeth Ann Besa-Quirino. I also have more classic recipes inspired by my mother’s cooking in my popular cookbook: My Mother’s Philippine Recipes. If you’re learning how to cook Filipino food or a fan of Philippine cuisine, buy my cookbooks and books on Amazon.com sold worldwide in paperback and Kindle format.

Copyright Notice: Hello, Friends! Please DO NOT LIFT OR PLAGIARIZE my original recipe, stories, photos or videos. All the images and content on this blog are COPYRIGHT PROTECTED and owned by my media company Besa-Quirino LLC. This means BY LAW you are NOT allowed to copy, scrape, lift, frame, plagiarize or use my photos, essays, stories and recipe content on your websites, books, films, television shows, videos, without my permission. If you wish to republish this recipe or content on media outlets mentioned above, please ASK MY PERMISSION, or re-write it in your own words and link back to my blog AsianInAmericaMag.com to give proper attribution. It is the legal thing to do. Thank you. Email me at [email protected]

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    1. Thanks, Gio – your kind comments are so encouraging. As for a substitute for apple butter, you can try adding a tablespoon of tamarind concentrate to a cup of apple sauce. The apple butter I used had a tangy flavor similar to tamarind concentrate (the block I buy from the Asian grocery). Try that a cup of apple sauce, 1 tablespoon tamarind concentrate and the rest of the ingredients – coconut milk, lemon juice. Mix the marinade well and cook accordingly. Let me know how it turns out 🙂

    1. Thanks, Nami. I miss my husband’s parents a lot. When they visited from the Philippines, I cooked everyday for them. This summer barbecue chicken reminded me of those times. Yes, the combo of apple butter + coconut milk is terrific. You must try it, too!

    1. Thanks, Colleen. So nice of you to say that. Elpi and I miss his parents. October is Mama’s anniversary and we think of them a lot at this time. Yes, this is a terrific recipe. Enjoy it 🙂

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