prepared tsukune

Grilling Tsukune no Yakitori with Brick Cook

When it comes to skewered foods, few beat the moist deliciousness of tsukune. Crafted from ground chicken, the mixture of flavorings and high-fat protein yields a delectable savory flavor. Yet even more than the components, the hot charcoal grilling defines the dish. Yakitori grills are compact and their minimized surface area concentrates the heat in comparison to classic charcoal grills.

You don’t need to invest in a specialized yakitori grill, simply reach for a brick setup instead. Stacking the clay structures not only enables the proper grilling dimensions but also creates ideal insulation, too. The bricks will intensify the heat, yielding a delicious, smoked result. The utilized charcoal is also a critical component, with esteemed binchotan an especially good choice, although all-natural briquettes work, too. Carefully control such factors, and the resultant meatballs will be ideal for sopping up egg yolks and sweet dipping sauce. Let’s dive into the details of creation.

Arrange bricks to create a perfect tsukune texture and taste

tsukune and kebabs on DIY grill


There’s no need to construct a standalone brick grill; it can be difficult to find a spot to fire up. So instead, get the embers burning hot in a traditional grill, and then stack bricks atop such a vessel. For a single grilled batch of meatballs, two or three pairs of bricks should be sufficient to fit the required amount.

The cooking process is finicky; it’s important to turn your tsukune constantly and baste with a sauce (if you’re using one). Ascertaining the exact cooking duration can be tricky, but once there’s enough smoke from dripping juices to coat the meatballs with flavor your tsukune should be ready to eat. To ease the cooking process, many choose to pre-boil or steam the chicken meat to doneness beforehand.

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Once hot off the grill, select an ideal sauce to accompany your tsukune. The traditional choice is tare, with its sweet and thick consistency. However, other tasty options can include Japanese mayonnaise or a sprinkle of shichimi togarashi for some spice. The dish is rife with variations, which is a large part of its appeal.

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