Barbecued balonbalonan ng manok, or chicken gizzards, is a popular streetfood in the Philippines. Sold in roadside stalls along with barbecued chicken feet, pork ears and isaw (intestines), it is a favorite finger food that goes well with beer. I find them too tough though. So, I did a home-cooked version–definitely more tender and tastier.
What is a gizzard? It is an internal organ of birds.
The second, or true, muscular stomach of birds, in which the food is crushed and ground, after being softened in the glandular stomach (crop), or lower part of the esophagus; the gigerium. (Hyperdictionary)
Gizzards, with the liver attached, are sometimes sold together with the dressed chicken. In the Philippines, being a delicacy, frozen gizzards are also sold in styrofoam trays in most supermarkets. In wet markets, they are bought together with the livers. Diced and sautéed, they go well with vegetables.
The technique is in pre-cooking the gizzards in the marinade before grilling them over live coals. This gives the gizzards time to absorb the flavors in the marinade as well as for the meat fibers to break up. And since what goes to the grill are cooked gizzards, grilling time is only about 8 minutes.
36 whole chicken gizzards
2 tbsp. of kalamansi (native lemon) juice
1/4 c. of dark soy sauce
2 tbsp. of brown sugar
1 head of garlic, finely minced
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. of grated ginger
1 chili, crushed
1/2 tsp. of cracked black pepper
1 bay leaf
1-1/2 c. of soda (I used 7-up)
12 bamboo skewers
Cooking procedure :
Wash the bamboo skewers. Soak in water for at least 30 minutes to keep them from burning while grilling.
Clean the gizzards by removing all visible fat.
Place all the ingredients in a saucepan and mix well. Set over high heat and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for 40-45 minutes. If the mixture dries up before the gizzards are tender, add a little water (about 1/2 c. at a time) to prevent scorching. The gizzards should be almost dry at the end of cooking time. Transfer to a plate and cool.
Thread three gizzards on each bamboo skewer. Grill about 5 inches from hot coals, turning over after 4 minutes.