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Cookout/BBQ: what do you like to grill?


mishidy
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It seems like there is still some good grilling weather left here in Tokyo. Just curious to see what people like to throw on the grill when they have a BBQ.

Burgers and Hot dogs? Kalbi? Yakitori? Takoyaki? Mochi? What vegetables do you like and how do you prepare them?

I love mushrooms, squash and nasu and Kalbi! Tandoori chicken is good too.

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I posted some photos here years ago.

While many Japanese enjoy a barbeque, I find it quite boring. Two or three types of meat, vegetables such as kabocha, onions, green pepers, and eggplants, sausages, and what have you. And they are all overdone by the time you eat them.

I don't do a barbeque myself (don't have necessary equipment). If I ever do a barbeque, I will make pizza, yakisoba, yaki udon, smoked cheese, etc., etc. and I will drink a lot of beer!

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We've been on a bit of a sate kick since going to a friends wedding in Bali. For the marinade, I use:

Marinade

1 tbs palm/brown/cane sugar

1-2 tbs ginger or to taste

1 tsp coriander

1-2 chili peppers

1 tbs sweet shoyu (we use an Indonesian brand "ABC Kecap Manis" but its easy to make your own)

1 tbs salty shoyu

1/2-1 cup coconut milk

1 tsp tamarind paste

1/4 cup of warm water

1 tsp lemon (or more...to taste)

Mix it all up in a bowl

Chicken

Buy 1 to 2 packages of sasami or chicken breast - standard packages at our local Marufuji have 5-6 strips / "fingers" of chicken. Slice each finger in half in the long direction, stripping out the thread of cartilage if using sasami -- then cutting the resulting strips so you have thin pieces, longer in one direction. We generally aim for small as possible but big enough to fit onto the skewer. It's more work but the result seems worth it. Others may prefer, fewer and larger pieces.

Place the chicken into the marinade, let it soak for a while, say an hour.

Grab a skewer, add chicken on the skewer until half the skewer is covered with chicken and each piece tight against adjacent pieces. This can take some time, longer if you make your pieces small so its worth getting some extra hands (guests even!) to help out.

Save the leftover marinade.

Peanut sauce

Essentially this is the leftover marinade, grounds peanuts or peanut butter, and a bit of coconut milk and/or sweet shoyu to adjust the taste. Recently I've been playing around and using something like:

1/2 cup peanuts

1/4 cup cashews

1/4 cup ground goma (sesame) or goma paste (tahini)

1/4 cup pine nuts

Grind it all up in a blender or food processor -- we have one of the Magic bullets which works quite nicely.

Dump the leftover marinade, ground nut mix into a small pan. Add coconut milk, possibly sweet shoyu, heat at low-medium, stir and simmer for about 5 minutes. You may also wish to add salt if you prefer a strong salt/sweet contrast.

I usually make the sauce after loading the skewers with chicken, then reheat it just before serving.

To grill the sate, we usually use a small shichirin but any bbq such as the ones in your pictures will do fine. The main thing cooking your sate to rotate constantly so as long as you can do that easily, your cool. Note the smaller you cut your chicken pieces above, the quicker they are going to cook.

Speaking to your larger question. Yeah, the basic bbq scene in Japan can sometimes be a bit Spartan but I found it depends on what you bring to it. My own experience has been that folks are comfortable defaulting to fairly basic, simple grilling but are receptive to alternatives -- it often seems to be the case that variations are welcome but people may simply not have been exposed to fancier versions of bbq.

I've served folks my "special hamburgers" with all manner of "different" spices and secret ingredients (miso works really well by the way) and they are well received. This summer, I started using a bbq sauce recipe from torakris which went over very well.

Historically, the bbq's of ours that seem most popular combine a mix of Japanese and (in my case) American elements/ingredients and if at all possible, allow "audience particpation".

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My husband and I love BBQing and we do it almost every weekend! We own 4 grills, 2 of which can also be used for smoking as well, and one stand alone smoker...

Like the way I cook we rarely BBQ the same food twice. Most Japanese BBQ I go too are quite boring and like Hiroyuki said it is always the same food: frozen yakitori from a large box, a couple kinds of meat (with no seasoning) dipped in some generic and pirchased yakiniku sauce followed by yakisoba.

Last weekend I went to the store to see what was good for the BBQ and came home with iwashi (sardines), kama (collar) of some unknown white fish and shrimp.

The fresh sardines were beautiful and 5 good sized ones for only 280yen ($2.50) were too good to pass up. I packed them in about a cup of kocher salt for an hour, then rinsed and dried them and grilled them until they were done, eaten with a queeze of lemon. The kama was incredibly moist and flavorful and I wish I could remember what fish it was, we simply salted and grilled it. The shrimp I marinated in a marinade of soy, sake, Chinese 5 spice powder, garlic, ginger, onion and sugar, the kids were screaming for more.

We also tossed some satsumaimo (wrapped in wet newspaer then foil) into the coals and enjoyed these homemade yaki-imo. Most Asian style BBQ's we finish off with yaki onigiri. Depending on the rest of the food and the mood I am in we make them with a variety of sauces, from simple ones with just soy sauce or miso, to a negi miso or kochujang, this time I boiled down the shrimp marinade and used that.

The week before it was a American style BBQ, I made up a smokey Memphis style BBQ sauce and slathered it on grilled chicken and onions, for sides we grilled corn and had a potato salad.

Is there anything you can't grill? :biggrin:

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Thanks Torakris - reading down this thread, I was starting to wonder if anyone was going to mention fish! I've often wondered why barbecues in Japan are usually fishless. My memories are mostly of cheap supermarket meat, and half-burned, half-raw vegetables. In the end, that (and the even worse barbecues in Hong Kong) was a sort of negative inspiration for me. When I bought my first barbecue, I decided to try making different food each time, and to do as much fish as meat. The results were always good, and it was very easy to do. Unfortunately, I can't break out the barbecue where I live at the moment, but there's certainly no shortage of great, fresh ingredients to try. Fish should be top of the list.

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I'd like to see what everybody is using for their BBQ/grilling. Shichirin? Weber kettle? Gas grill (freestanding)?

I see that these options are available in Japan, but I sure as heck don't recall anyone owning a BBQ when I lived there. Are they more popular now? If so, which type? Are we talking camping/outdoors equipment put to home use?

Edited by sanrensho (log)
Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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I'd like to see what everybody is using for their BBQ/grilling. Shichirin? Weber kettle? Gas grill (freestanding)?

I see that these options are available in Japan, but I sure as heck don't recall anyone owning a BBQ when I lived there. Are they more popular now? If so, which type? Are we talking camping/outdoors equipment put to home use?

as you may know from another thread I use a flower pot that I converted to a kushi yaki and regular grill type bbq. It burns charcoal so it is fairly hot and cooks things very quickly, so I avoid the slow crowded overcooking that hiroyuki mentioned above. I set it on a table and people can choose which raw ingredients they want to grill. It is kind of like fire shabushabu, it takes less than a minute for yakiniku type meat to cook. at my last bbq I used by takoyaki pan with pancake batter, bananas, and chocolate to make dessertyaki.

gallery_23727_2765_23539.jpg

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I'd like to see what everybody is using for their BBQ/grilling. Shichirin? Weber kettle? Gas grill (freestanding)?

I see that these options are available in Japan, but I sure as heck don't recall anyone owning a BBQ when I lived there. Are they more popular now? If so, which type? Are we talking camping/outdoors equipment put to home use?

Just take a look at the photos I posted here, which I provided in my first post on this thread. The ones shown in the photos, which use charcoal, are quite popular, I often see these and similar types sold at "home centers", but I don't know how to call them even in Japanese (probably "barbeque grills").

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John: Thanks for jogging my memory, I remember that now. What do you use as a starter? I assume you're using binchotan?

Hiroyuki: Would you say that's the most popular type of grill (it looks like a portable camping grill to me)? Do most of your neighbours have some type of outdoor grill that they use semi-regularly?

I'm really curious about this, as I lived in the 23 wards of Tokyo during my entire time in Japan--not really a hotbed for home BBQ culture.:biggrin:

Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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John: Thanks for jogging my memory, I remember that now. What do you use as a starter? I assume you're using binchotan?

Hiroyuki: Would you say that's the most popular type of grill (it looks like a portable camping grill to me)? Do most of your neighbours have some type of outdoor grill that they use semi-regularly?

I'm really curious about this, as I lived in the 23 wards of Tokyo during my entire time in Japan--not really a hotbed for home BBQ culture.:biggrin:

I guess so. The cheapest models are around 1,000 yen, and you can get a decent one for 2,000 to 3,000 yen. I wouldn't say "most", but I think the percentage of households that have a barbeque grill is much higher here in my rural city.

I lived in Shibuya ward, so I know what you are talking about. But, when I was little (around 4 or 5 years old), some neighbors had a shichirin, which they used outdoors to grill fish like sanma. I think we had one, too, but I really don't remember much about it.

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John: Thanks for jogging my memory, I remember that now. What do you use as a starter? I assume you're using binchotan?

I don't think it is binchotan. It is just large lumps of hardwood charcoal, it looks like mesquite. I start it using my stove and a device that looks like a chestnut roaster. It is sort of a super shichirin, which is where I got the idea for it in the first place. I was at the hardware store (コーナン) and I was looking at the camping stoves that could be used for kushiyaki and the idea came to me. The camping stoves were the same size and shape as the terra cotta planter that I saw outside for 400yen :smile: . In my experience camping stoves and disposable bbqs are most common.

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Thanks Torakris - reading down this thread, I was starting to wonder if anyone was going to mention fish! I've often wondered why barbecues in Japan are usually fishless....

Most of the bbq's we throw or attend seem have a lot of seafood. Then again my wife's brother is a fish trader and the whole family is pretty fish crazy even by Japanese standards so ours may not be a representative sample!

Sazae (turban shell), hotate (scallops), salmon and various sorts of grilled silver-skinned fish make regular appearances at our bbq's. Also a few kinds of shrimp (sorry, don't know which kind...I usually just refer to them as the "red kind" and the "big grey kind" :blink:)

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  • 4 months later...

This is most likely a stupid question but...

In the U.S. Barbeque potato chips are 99% of the time "southern barbeque"......sweet and sometimes hot.

I've heard there are barbeque potato chips in Japan but I assume they have a different flavor....for example korean barbeque is popular.

SO what do they taste like? :)

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This is most likely a stupid question but...

In the U.S. Barbeque potato chips are 99% of the time "southern barbeque"......sweet and sometimes hot.

I've heard there are barbeque potato chips in Japan but I assume they have a different flavor....for example korean barbeque is popular.

SO what do they taste like? :)

In Japan, a barbeque flavor is usually a mixture of meat and vegetable flavors, and is not sweet or hot.

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