10 May 2011

Ginger-garlic half chicken

A new grilling season is upon us, and it's about time. This time of year, I fire up my grill three to four times a week. Come home, fire up the grill, crack a beer and make dinner. Bbq Jr. playing in the backyard, Mrs. Dude lounging on the patio, it doesn't get any better than that. Particularly if you can find time to grill on a weekday.

Japanese grilling is particularly well-suited for a weeknight. The marinades are simple, the grilling is short and the flavours are really clean. Today, I feature a recipe from The Japanese Grill. It has the added benefit of being an excellent stress release. You get to rend a chicken. Yes.


We start with:
½ cup soy sauce
2 tbsp sake
2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
4 gloves grated garlic
2 tsp tobanjan
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 whole chicken

The only hard-to-find ingredient in here is tobanjan.


This is a Japanese sauce preparation made with Chinese hot peppers. Think Tabasco, thicker and sweeter. Really tasty, though. Available at your local Japanese grocer, (I got it at Nijiya in San Diego).

Chop and peel the ginger. Grate the fresh ginger, into a smelly, disgusting pudding of gingerness. Yum.

Grated ginger

Mix well with everything except the chicken.


Meanwhile, get out your cleaver, and rend the chicken down the length of the chicken. I found this tremendously satisfying, and very quickly accomplished.

Dismembered chicken

Slather the marinade into every crevice and every surface of the chicken. This may take a few moments, but you're only marinating long enough to get the grill hot, so don't skimp on the slathering step.

Dismembered marinated chicken

Fire up the grill. You want medium hot, not too hot. You don't want to start a chicken-fat-fire, so really. Medium hot. Lay the chicken over the grill skin-side down.

Grilling garlic ginger chicken

Leave for three-ish minutes.


Grilling garlic ginger chicken

Now you'll want to cook 7 minutes, flip, 7 minutes, flip, 7 minutes, flip... you get the point. For a total of about 35 minutes. Avoid flareups if you can. Baste frequently with the marinade (don't baste the last 7 minutes to avoid contaminating the chicken). Close the grill whenever you can to build up the extra heat, but be aware of flareups. You don't want flames putting soot on your beautiful chicken.

Meanwhile, enjoy your beer. And your family.

Grilled ginger garlic chicken

Grilled ginger garlic chicken

Remove from the grill. Let rest for five minutes. Cut up and serve.

Grilled ginger garlic chicken

This will produce the most sweet, moist chicken you've ever had. Beautiful. The marinade is slightly sweet and spicy (Bbq Jr. declared it "Spicy. But not too spicy."). And something you can get on the table in just over an hour. Serve with some rice and a salad, and you have a meal. Delicious.



Ethan said...

How do you find the time to take such good pictures? As soon as I pull the big camera/tri-pod out the cooking schedule gets haywire.

Bbq Dude said...


Thanks. I don't use a tripod, and take only the pictures I can in a very short amount of time. If I can't get it fast, it's not worth it. We eat everything I photograph. I use as low an F-stop as I can get away with, and throw away a lot of low-quality photos.

Again, thanks for the compliment.

Ethan said...

I managed to find the chili paste at the local Asian market, and this was really tasty. In the interest of time & space I did chicken parts. The kids loved the chicken legs, and it wasn't too spicy for them at all. I also marinated some thinly sliced rib-eye I grabbed while at the market. These cooked up in about 15 seconds in my skillet, and turned out great as well. This is the chili flavor I was looking for, thanks for the tip.

I have an immersion blender (know as a blending stick around here), so I just tossed all the items in the marinade together whole, and ran the blender through it. I think I lose the pops of flavor that your would get when you bite into a little but of ginger, but it cuts down on the kids asking "What is this thing?"

I will certainly do it as a half chicken when the time and space allows, the flavors we really great.

Bbq Dude said...


Fantastic. Yeah, I really like this chili paste. Not too hot, a tiny bit sweet. A Japanese colleague of mine tells me that this marinade is a pretty commonly used one in her household for all kinds of meat.

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