Sunday, October 10, 2010

Honey Teriyaki Chicken Thighs

Honestly, I do not like teriyaki.Of all the Asian menu options out there, this one always bugs me. The sauce is always a thick, gloopy, syrupy mess that ruins perfectly good grilled meats or fish (or tofu), and it tastes awful. Someone posted how to make your own, and their recipe was equal parts soy sauce, sugar, and mirin. It sounded like soy simple syrup, by the time it was done. No thank you. :(   So when Mom suggested making some teriyaki marinade for chicken, I opted to go for the salty-sweet and skip the syrup. :) Given the compliments received around the table and the bragging Mom has done to the neighbors, I'd wager it was a successful recipe. (And as always, the BF gets full credit for his grillmaster skills - I'm a complete novice on the grill. Dad always did the grilling at home and Mom always did the kitchen parts, and it seems that the BF and I have fallen seamlessly into the same pattern. He plays with fire and tongs, I do my mad scientist bit in the kitchen.) 

I used lime instead of lemon to complement the sweetness of the honey - lemon is usually much too tart and bitter. The chili oil (that bright red stuff from your grocer's ethnic aisle) is actually NOT that spicy in this probably because of the honey and citrus. It does lend a pleasant brightness, though. 

As always, measurements are approximate. :) Feel free to adjust to your own taste preferences.

Honey Teriyaki Chicken Thighs

1/3 cup honey (I used avocado honey, because I wanted a darker flavor than clover can give - it's up to you.)
1/2+ cup soy sauce (regular, NOT low sodium)
1 Tbsp hot chili oil
2-3 cloves garlic, minced fine (I used a heaping spoonful of the mashed garlic from Trader Joe's - much easier)
1 tsp dark sesame oil
1/4 - 1/3 cup lime juice (bottled 'cuz I'm lazy, but you can sit and juice a ton of limes if you feel like it)
3 green onions, chopped (green and white parts)

About 2 pounds of chicken thighs - rinsed and patted dry (we used two packages of the six-pack you can purchase at Costco, and I believe each one of those is about a pound).

Combine all the ingredients with the chicken in a Ziploc bag, give it a good shake, and set it aside to marinate for about 3 hours (or however long you'd like - I put this together at 3pm and we lit the grill about 6pm).
Fire up the grill:  Tonight was 60% hickory hardwood chips / 40% charcoal, with a few splashes of water to put out the flames on the wood chips now and then.  (You could probably oven roast or pan-fry these, but it's still ridiculously warm for mid-October, so we're using the grill until it's too cold to bother.)
Grill the marinated thighs until just done - about 10-15 minutes total.

(These don't need a sauce, but if you're feeling swank or fussy, feel free to reduce some of the pre-chicken marinade in a saucepan until it becomes a syrupy thickness to drizzle over the cooked meat, and garnish with some fresh slivers of green onion.)

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