In Japan, yakitori restaurants are casual, beer-soaked houses of worship for grilled, skewered chicken. Skilled cooks prepare every part of the bird—from crispy skin to crunchy cartilage. You don’t have to be so inclusive if you’re preparing your own take on yakitori at home—breast and thigh work just fine. Here, our best recipes for DIY yakitori.
This sweet-and-sticky grilled chicken gets a little kick from chile flakes. Crispy purple cabbage and aromatic jasmine rice complete the simple but tasty meal.
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These flavorful Japanese meatballs, known as tsukune, are grilled on skewers with the finger-size green peppers called shishitos.
The sauce in this recipe gets a terrific kick from a touch of wasabi.
Walking into a yakitori bar in Tokyo, chef Dean Fearing was startled by the thick grill smoke filling the room, then delighted by the delicious flavor of the skewered meats. "These chicken skewers are as close to the food from that grill as I can remember," he says.
Chef Sylvan Mishima Brackett makes these meatballs with handmade meat and skin from the best pastured chicken he can get.
Traditionally these skewers are made with scallions, but leeks are a deliciously milder substitute.
When in Tokyo, Andrew Zimmern likes to eat skewers of cockscomb and trachea, but at home, he likes to make his own with chicken thighs.