Making Yakitori on the Spark Grill
I read recently that 80 percent of grillers believe that charcoal-grilled food tastes better, yet 60 percent confess to being gas grillers due to convenience alone. Well, I’m here to tell you that the debate over gas. vs. charcoal ends here, with the innovative and easy to use Spark 3-in-1 Charcoal Grill. (See below for details on discount on the grill offered exclusively to readers of this blog.)
In previous blogs, I grilled Lamb Kebabs, baked Mac ’N’ Cheese, and smoke-roasted a Berry Crisp, all highlighting the amazing versatility and convenience of the new Spark 3-in-1 Charcoal Grill. In my last Spark-related blog post, Grilled Pizza in Less Than 5 Minutes, I focused on how fast you can make a pizza with a crispy crust thanks to Spark Grill’s unparalleled 900 degrees F temperature capability.
This time, I’m going international with the Spark Grill and making yakitori. The word yakitori means “grilled chicken.” Yakitori can be made from any part of the chicken, beak to tail, or with alternative meats. Webster’s Dictionary defines yakitori as “bite-sized marinated pieces of beef, seafood, or chicken on skewers.”
The meat is skewered and cooked over a hot grill typically without seasoning or a marinade. It is seasoned by making a tare, a flavorful soy and rice wine vinegar sauce. The tare is applied halfway through the cooking process and again to finish the yakitori. The repeated application of the tare creates a lacquered finish to the meat that is sweet, salty, and delicious.
If you missed my previous posts, let me give you the run-down on all the cool features of the Spark Grill.
The Spark Grill
Spark has created a revolutionary new grill that’s a game-changer. It combines the convenience of a gas grill’s turn-the-dial ignition and temperature control with the flavor of charcoal, letting you focus more on the food, rather than the time-consuming and messy start-up process.
Spark designed a charcoal “briq” that fuels the grill. Spark’s briqs include the quick, the everyday, the high heat, and the low and slow briq. You select a briq based on the expected duration of your cook and the temperature you need. The briqs are made with all-natural hardwood charcoal that is ground up and then pressed into briqs that are perforated with air vents to allow for even heat circulation. Each briq type is made to be a specific density mass to achieve Spark’s unparalleled temperature range and control. Two heat sensors inside the grill communicate with two electric-powered fans to stoke and cool the briq to hit and hold exact temperatures. Because of this extremely well-tuned system, a Spark Briq burns 40 to 50 percent more efficiently than traditional briquettes, and it’s the same cost-per-cook as high quality lump charcoal or pellets. It’s all very “smart.”
The Spark comes with extra-wide cast-iron grates for superior caramelization and the grill marks Steven prizes. The Spark is built to last with double-walled porcelain enamel and insulated steel. The Spark even has an app that allows you to monitor the grill and your food via Bluetooth technology.
I kept it simple with my preparation of the yakitori and used boneless chicken breast cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces. I lightly oiled the chicken pieces to keep them from sticking to the grill grate. I normally would season the chicken, but I wanted to keep it as traditional as possible, and I knew the soy sauce would provide a salty flavor.
To ignite the Spark Grill, I placed an everyday briq in the front-loading charcoal drawer and then simply turned the dial to “spark-up” the grill. So easy and no mess and it was up to temperature in 8 minutes. While the grill heated up, I made the tare sauce. Check out Steven Raichlen’s recipe if you have never made yakitori. Yakitori is the perfect finger food and is easily managed by guests when standing or holding a drink. Ideal for your next tailgate party.
The chicken cooked for about two minutes a side before the first round of basting with the tare sauce. Traditionally, yakitori is dunked into the tare sauce, but I used a basting brush. I basted the chicken one final time just before they were finished cooking.
To be safe and ensure the chicken was fully cooked, I checked the temperature with an instant- read meat thermometer. Once the thermometer read 165 degrees, the chicken was done.
The chicken developed a caramelized exterior due to the tare sauce and the heat of the cast-iron grill grates. I garnished the yakitori with sliced scallions and toasted sesame seeds. To accompany the yakitori and create a meal, I made rice and grilled veggie kebabs with onion, pepperss, and mushroom. I even basted the veggies with the tare sauce. Time to eat!
The chicken was juicy and tender on the inside and acquired a salty, sweet, and rich umami flavor from the tare sauce. The char on the veggies contrasted with the tender chicken and rounded out the whole meal.
Yakitori is easy to prepare, and it can be done ahead of time. When you combine the ease of preparation of the yakitori with the convience of the Spark Grill, you can create a delicious meal in no time.
Are you convinced yet? If not, I’ll be back with future blogs to highlight the ease of charcoal grilling on the Spark Grill.