Japanese culinary tradition is filled with delicious grilled meats, fish, poultry and vegetable dishes. Chicken yakitori is Japanese grilling simplicity at its best. Small amounts of skewered thigh meat, cooked quickly over very hot coals, is served with a dipping sauce.
Chicken Yakitori with Honey Sauce
For the honey sauce:
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup mirin or other rice wine
1/4 cup sake
3 Tbs. honey
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs. fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 green onions, white and green parts, finely chopped
1/2 head iceberg lettuce, cored and shredded (optional)
2 1/2 lb. skinless, boneless chicken thighs
Sesame oil for brushing
24 bamboo skewers
Soak the bamboo skewers in water for 30 minutes.
To make the honey sauce, in a small saucepan over high heat, combine the soy sauce, mirin, sake, honey, garlic, ginger and green onions and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until slightly thickened and glossy, about 10 minutes. Strain into a bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Mound the lettuce, if using, in the center of a serving platter; set aside.
Rinse the chicken under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels. Using a sharp knife, cut each thich into three strips, each about 2 inches long and 1/2 inch thick. Thread 3 or 4 chicken pieces onto each soaked skewer without crowding. Lightly season the skewers with salt and brush lightly with oil.
Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for direct grilling over high heat. Brush and oil the grill grate.
Grill the skewers directly over high heat, turning once, until well marked and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes per side.
Arrange the skewers on top of the lettuce, if using, on the platter. Drizzle some of the honey sauce on top. Serve at once with the remaining sauce on the side. Serves 6.
For more outdoor cooking recipes and techniques, check out our cookbook Williams-Sonoma On the Grill.