Grilled Chicken Teriyaki

While this delicious Grilled Chicken Teriyaki took about an hour of clock time, it required very little effort to prepare. Most of the hour was purely unattended waiting; for the coals to ignite, and for the chicken to cook. There was only about 15 minutes of work involved.

A Big Sucess for the Family

The end result was highly praised by both my boys, so I gave it a family-friendly 5-stars. In fact, I was a little surprised that they loved it so much. My older son can be quite picky, but then again I guess kids love almost anything that includes 1/2-cup of sugar.  Of course, as an adult there are other recipes that I’d prefer, but I was astonished at how much my two sons loved this recipe. I made it two days in a row.

While I now keep Mirin in my refrigerator, Chris Kimball offers the following substitution: 2 tablespoons of white wine, mixed with an extra teaspoon of sugar. Unfortunately, I only have this Sushi Chef Mirin, which was available in my supermarket. But supposedly it’s not nearly as good as this universally praised Mitoku Organic Mikawa Mirin Sweet Rice Seasoning.


  1. I used 2-1/2 pounds of boneless chicken breasts, instead of bone-in thighs. Mostly because it was on sale, but it also kept the effort very low. De-boning eight thighs can be a little bit of work.
  2. I had a scallion on-hand, and generally like scallions in my Japanese cuisine. So I added the minced white part to the sauce immediately after I removed from heat, and garnished the plate with the sliced greens.

Rating: 5-family-friendly stars.
Cost: $5.00
How much work? Low.
How big of a mess?  Small.
Start time: 5:00. Dinner time: 6:00

Chris Kimball’s original recipe is here. The descriptions of how I prepared it today are given below:

8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 garlic clove
2 tablespoons mirin
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
(optional: 1 finely minced scallion, white and green parts separated).

  1. Trim and de-bone the chicken leaving skin intact. Using a sharp knife, make three diagonal slashes in skin being careful not to cut into the meat.
  2. Fill a large chimney starter about 80% full with charcoal (about 4-1/2 quarts, or about 65 briquettes ). Ignite and let burn for 20 minutes until covered with a layer of fine gray ash.
  3. Remove the cooking grate and place a 16×12″ disposable aluminum roasting pan in center, and empty half the coals on each side of the aluminum pan. Replace the cooking grate, cover and preheat grill for 5 minutes; then scrape the cooking grate clean.
  4. Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper. With the skin side up, put chicken in the center of grill (over roasting pan). Cover and cook for 15 minutes to 20 minutes.
  5. Immediately after placing the chicken on the grill, add soy sauce, sugar, grated ginger, and press the garlic clove into a small saucepan. Separately, whisk together the mirin and cornstarch in small bowl, then add the mirin mixture to the saucepan.
  6. Over medium-high heat, bring sauce to boil.  Once it has reached a boil, reduce the stovetop to medium-low and simmer for 4 minutes. Stir as necessary, the sauce should be reduced to 3/4 cup. Cover saucepan to keep warm until ready to serve.
  7. After 15 minutes on the grill, check the internal temperature using an instant-read thermometer. The thickest part of thighs should be 170-degrees. Flip chicken skin-side down directly over coals, and grill for 5 minutes until browned and the skin is crisp.
  8. Let chicken rest for 3 minutes on a cutting board then slice meat crosswise into 1/2″-wide strips. Place chicken either on a serving platter or individual plates. Stir the teriyaki sauce to recombine, then drizzle over the sliced chicken. Serve immediately, passing extra sauce separately to be used with the accompanying rice.

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