I don’t know about you, but I don’t put my grill away until it snows, so I’m out back grilling burger, steaks, chicken, and whatever else I can get my hands on well into the fall season. One of my favorite skewer recipes is for the Japanese grilled chicken skewers known as Yakitori. However, this recipe is not authentic, as to take the same care that fine Japanese chefs will take to make Yakitori just does not fit into my busy schedule. Here’s what the good folks over at SeriousEats.com, who came up with this simplified recipe, have to say about the authentic process:
You’ll find chicken breast, chicken tenderloin, chicken breast cartilage, thighs skewered on their own, each individual section of the wings, chicken-skin skewers, chicken gizzards, and the nubs of crispy fat from the end of the chicken’s tail. To give you an idea, I have a Japanese-language book on advanced yakitori techniques from Tokyo’s famous TORI+SALON restaurants that runs a full 208 pages. It contains no fewer than 11 different ways to cut and skewer chicken livers and eight different methods for skewering hearts. This is serious, serious business.
It’s also, as much Japanese food tends to be, the business of putting in monumentally more effort for fractionally better returns. The fact of the matter is, even without years of specialized training, anyone can make really, really great-tasting yakitori at home. Will it nudge the edge of perfection? Probably not, but it’ll be better than anything you get from the pan-Japanese restaurant down the block, serving sushi, tempura, yakitori, and ramen all on the same menu. For my money, the easiest and most forgiving yakitori staple is negima: juicy chicken thigh alternately threaded onto a skewer with sections of scallion. Because thighs are naturally high in connective tissue and fat, they end up juicy even if you don’t precisely measure temperature as they cook.
I don’t know about you, but I’ll take something that comes pretty close in taste on one page and in four steps over 208 pages and 18 distinct steps any time!
Here’s what you’ll need to make Negima (chicken thigh) Yakitori, the EASY WAY!
- 2 pounds (1kg) boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch dice
- Kosher salt and freshly ground white or black pepper
- 1 bunch scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup (120ml) teriyaki sauce
Click Here to head on over to SeriousEats.com to see how to put it all together!