The Great Summer Smokeout

Japanese-Spiced Yakitori Chicken

Teiichi Sakurai, Tei-An and Ten

Photograph by Jody Horton

Yakitori Sauce 

2 cups tamari (not regular soy sauce)
2 cups mirin  
2 ounces fresh ginger, peeled and sliced about 1/2-inch thick, or more to taste
1 bunch green onions (green part only)
1 cup dark-brown sugar  

In a saucepan, bring ingredients to a boil. Immediately reduce heat and simmer until sauce is consistency of a light syrup, about 2 hours. Strain.

Chicken 

1 whole chicken (or boneless, skinless breasts or thighs)
bamboo skewers 8 inches or longer

Preheat grill. Cut chicken into pieces about 1 1/2 inches by 1 1/2 inches. (Sakurai also likes to use the liver, gizzard, and heart.) Thread on skewers and grill, turning, just until surface of meat lightens, about 2 1/2 minutes. Brush chicken with Yakitori Sauce on all sides and cook until done, another 2 1/2 to 3 minutes, applying sauce a couple more times. Do not let flames touch chicken. Meat is done when firm to the touch but not hard.

Condiments

1/4 cup or more prepared Japanese hot mustard 
1/4 cup or more seven-spice powder (shichimi togarashi)
1/4 cup or more ground sansho pepper

Give each guest a skewer of chicken. Place condiments in small bowls or divide among plates.

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