To all my barbecue friends, welcome to the latest issue of the Chargrill Chat, the newsletter of The Barbecue Hut. My personal thanks go to everyone who’s subscribed to this newsletter.
*August 6, 2004, Issue 0003*
In this issue:
- Barbecue Bites
- Yakitori Chicken
- Closing Thoughts
- Infra-Red Grills
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In the previous issue of The Chargrill Chat I said that I’d been given permission from a top barbecue chef to feature some of his recipes in The Barbecue Hut. Well, in this issue, top chefStephen Raichlen is guest chef and features one of his recipes. It’s being featured here in The Chargrill Chat first for subscribers, before it’s incorporated into the The Barbecue Hut website.
Stephen Raichlen is a multi-award-winning cookbook author and is one of the Worlds top barbecue chefs. The recipe shown below is from his book, The Barbecue Bible that took him three years to research and to write. Travelling 150,000 miles across 5 continents. The introduction is typical of the way he introduces all of his recipes in The Barbecue Bible.
Yakitori Chicken – By Guest Chef Stephen Raichlen
Yakitori (literally ‘grilled chicken’) is Japan’s most popular snack – enjoyed daily at innumerable yakitori parlors, where office workers gather after work for drinks, eats, and camaraderie. Traditionally, the the chicken is skewered with negi, a member of the green onion family that’s thicker than an scallion but thinner than a leek, If you can find slender young leeks, use them for the following recipe; otherwise, use chicken thighs, which the Japanese believe to be more flavourful than breast meat. For speed and convenience, use boneless breasts, my first choice here. Serve with Grilled Rice Cakes, Spicy Japanese Bean Sprout Salad, or Sesame Spinach. (All recipes included in The Barbecue Bible
16 short bamboo skewers, soaked for 1 hour in cold water to cover and drained, or more as needed.
- 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts or thighs
- 2 pounds slender young leeks (8 or 9 in all, see Notes)
- 1/2 cup of soy sauce
- 1/2 cup sake
- 1/2 cup mirin (sweet rice wine) or cream sherry
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 3 slices fresh ginger (each ½ inch thick)
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed
- 3 scallions, both white and green parts, trimmed and coarsely chopped
- 1. Rinse the chicken breasts or thighs under cold running water, then drain and blot dry with paper towels. Cut crosswise into pieces 2 inches long and ½ inch wide and thick. Set aside while you prepare the leeks.
- 2. Cut off and discard the green parts of the leeks. Cut the white parts that remain in half lengthways as far as the roots. Rinse the leeks carefully under cold running water, then drain, cut of the roots, and cut each leek half crosswise into 2-inch pieces.
- 3. Thread the chicken pieces crosswise on the skewers, alternating with pieces of leek; you should be able to get 4 pieces of chicken on each skewer. Arrange the skewers on a platter and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to grill, up to 6 hours.
- 4. Preheat the grill to high,
- 5. Prepare the yakitori sauce. Combine the soy sauce, saki. Mirin, sugar, ginger, garlic and scallions in a small heavy saucepan and bring to the boil over a medium heat, stirring until blended and the sugar is dissolved. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the sauce is glossy and syrupy and reduced to ¾ cup, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain into a bowl (see Notes).
- 6. When ready to cook, oil the grill grate. Arrange the skewers on the hot grate and grill, turning with tongs, until the chicken is nicely browned and cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes per side (6 to 10 minutes in all). Brush the yakitori generously with the sauce at least once on each side while cooking, but not during the last 3 minutes.
- 7. Transfer the skewers to serving plates or a platter and serve immediately.
Serves 4 to 6
Notes: I young leeks are not available substitute 2 bunches 6 scallions. Trim off the roots and cut the white parts into 2-inch pieces; cut the scallion greens into 4-inch pieces and fold them in half.
*The sauce can be made up to 6 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
There’s often confusion when infra-red grills are mentioned. As the term suggests, an infra-red heat source is used to grill the food, which suggests that the power is derived from electricity. The fuel however is conventional gas. The difference between gas and infra-red grills is not a fuel difference - they both use gas for fuel. The difference is in how the heat actually makes it to the cooking surface. In a traditional gas grill, a direct flame is used to heat the flame-taming device and the cooking surface. In infra-red grills, the burner assembly is made from a stainless steel housing with a ceramic top. The ceramic top has thousands of tiny little prots in it, and the burner itself is inside this assembly (but it is not visible without taking the assembly apart). The burner heats up the ceramic plates, which in turn radiate heat up to the cooking surface. As a general rule, infrared grills get really hot (but they don't do low temperatures), where regular grills give you a broader range of temps (but usually don't get as hot.
The Barbecue Guys recently began carrying a new line of infra-red grills on their site - TEC Infra-Red Grills. The TEC brand has been around for many years and has strong brand loyalty. The grills are "infra-red" instead of regular gas.
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I hope that you’ve enjoyed this issue of The Chargrill Chat. If you’ve any questions or suggestions for improving this newsletter, please drop me an e-mail. Don’t forget to visit the site on a regular basis as it’s been added to all of the time and I really appreciate all the feedback that I receive, good and not-so-good.
Until next time then, have a great month and keep grilling!