In Tokyo, there is a magic to this type of culinary experience. Simplicity is key to yakitori.
Yakitori literally translates to “grilled chicken” in Japanese but can be used to indicate any type of skewered grilled food. These bite size morsels are a popular Japanese street food that can be enjoyed on the go or as a quick meal with friends, usually washed down with a cold beer.
While American barbecue, is a distinct art all its own, Japanese barbecue—or yakitori—is a refined form of grilling that focuses on bringing people together and elevating the flavor of food through simple preparation.
We love the many forms of American BBQ, from Texas Brisket, Carolina's style pulled pork to Kansas City ribs, barbecue, but too often the luscious flavors of the meat are lost because it's swimming in a sauce and overpowering seasonings.
Japanese food is really about honoring the primary ingredient and enhancing it with very minimal seasonings. The simple preparation of Yakitori makes it an easily adaptable cooking style for a variety of foods.
It's great for cocktail parties because it's intended to be shared and there's something for everyone from vegetarians to meat eaters. As you fire up the grill this summer, we hope you will think about trying a little yakitori!
- It's Healthy – With minimal oils and seasonings, yakitori is really about bringing out the flavor of the chosen fruits or vegetables. Plus, the bites are small.
- It's Easy to Prepare – Yakitori requires minimal prep time and the list of ingredients is simple.
- It's Fast – Total cooking time is just about 10 minutes! 30 minutes total including prep.
- Grilled Bite Size Yum! – Yakitori is not just chicken, pork and beef! You can also grill seafood in bite sizes. We recommend heartier fish like scallops, shrimp, swordfish and mahi mahi.
- Dozens of Sauces – This versatile dish can be dressed up for any picky palate.
There are a number of sauces that pare with Yakitore from a miso based sauce, a teriyaki sauce, and a light soy sauce; it’s also nice to make a yuzu vinaigrette from yuzu, rice vinegar, salt and pepper. We love yakitori served with a fresh cucumber and shallot salad, with a little vinegar. Fresh crispy vegetables are a great accompaniment as well.
- You CAN do it at Home! – Yakitori is traditionally cooked over hard charcoal. But you can do it over charcoal, gas or wood. Charcoal does impart a unique flavor.
Yakitori Lamb Chop Pops
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 25
Servings: 7-8 servings depending on the lamb rib rack
1 lamb rib rack, cut into 7-8 individual chops ( about 2.5 oz each)
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup green onions, chopped including green part
1 1/2 Tbsp minced garlic
2 Tbsp minced ginger
1/4 cup peanut oil
1 teaspoon chili paste (Sriracha sauce)
Place marinade and chops in a ziplock bag for at least 30 minutes at room temperature.
Grill on hot grill, 5 minutes each side to medium rare or preferred doneness.