For over a year now I’ve been featuring my bacon recipe at the beginning of keynotes and presentations. It’s of course completely unrelated to B2B marketing, but people seem to like it and it’s a great icebreaker to get the audience smiling as I share the steps, and joy, of making bacon from fresh pork belly at home.
And although the bacon is not going anywhere, it’s time to try something new. So today, I bring you teriyaki chicken.
Replace chicken with whatever you like (salmon, pork, vegetables, tofu, etc.) and it’s equally amazing. The real star here is the sauce (which is incredibly simple and will keep forever in the fridge) but how you prepare the chicken is also key. Here’s what I do.
It starts with the chicken, the night before you want to cook it. Doesn’t matter if you plan to roast or grill the chicken, dry brining is the way to go. You can keep the chicken whole, half it, or cut it into parts. Or start with a supermarket package of your favorite cut. No matter your option, the overnight dry brine will help the chicken retain moisture and flavor.
My basic dry brine is simple – a tablespoon of salt and a teaspoon of black pepper. Sometimes I’ll add some garlic powder and onion powder as well, as the dry brining process will take whatever flavors you choose and permeate throughout the meat.
Give the chicken a good rub with the dry brine, including tucking some rub underneath the breast skin with your fingers. Put it all in the fridge uncovered overnight, and take it out a few minutes before you’re ready to cook.
My preferred cooking method for teriyaki chicken is indirect grilling. If you have a charcoal grill, put your coals on one side of the grill and leave the other side free. You’ll do your cooking completely on the “cold” side of the grill. If you have a gas grill, light all of the burners to get the grill nice and warm, then turn off half of the burners to maintain a temperature somewhere around 280-300 degrees. If your coals are hotter, that’s OK, you’ll just cook a little faster.
I’m going for a slow cook here, so give yourself at least 90 minutes to play with. I want the chicken to lose as little moisture as possible. The dry brine is a hedge, but if you cook chicken too fast and too hot, it’ll dry out for sure.
Making the sauce, as I said is really easy. Make more than you need, as you’ll probably want plenty as a dipping sauce along with what you brush onto the chicken afterward.
The sauce is just four ingredients, starting with equal parts soy sauce, mirin and honey. Mirin is a sweet rice wine you can find in the Asian section of your supermarket. The fourth ingredient is ginger, fresh shredded or ground. I recommend adding a teaspoon of ground ginger if you’re doing ½ cup of everything else, but see what you like when you taste it.
Get everything up to a boil, turn it back down to low, and let it simmer for at least 10 minutes. Feel free to boil it down further if you want something thicker.
When the chicken is almost done (it needs to be at least 160 degrees before you pull it) start brushing the chicken pieces with your sauce. This will give it a light glaze to augment the dipping sauce you can serve diners at the table.
Serve over basmati rice.
Once you get the hang of it, this can be an easy and delicious weeknight dinner that offers lots of flexibility let alone leftovers.
And like I said, replace chicken with whatever you want and it’s still delicious. I like to cut onions into half rounds, add some zucchini, sauté all of that up in some butter, then add some of the teriyaki sauce at the end. Tuck that in between your rice and the chicken.
If you give this a try, let me know how it goes!