Tender beef yakitori marinated in soy tare
Ah beef yakitori, aspara bacon, nankotsu, kawa! The variety is endless and so delicious!
For those who aren’t too familiar with the term, yakitori literally means grilled meats in Japanese. Yakitori bars (or kushiyaki; they mean the same thing so either one is fine to use) are extremely popular drinking and eating establishments all throughout Japan where different parts of a chicken, pork and beef are used. Yes my dear friends, you can order skewers of cartilage, gizzards, liver, neck, tail, intestines, tongue and heart. Surprised? Grossed out? Don’t be, it’s delicious! You can also order less intense cuts like breast, wing or ground chicken (called tsukune).
Each skewer is dipped in a sweet soy sauce or sprinkled with salt before resting on a grill over charcoal until cooked to absolute perfection. You haven’t had good chicken until you’ve gone a to a Yakitori bar, trust me on that. Magic happens when poultry touches the hands of a grill master.
The menu also comes with an array of small dishes to accompany the skewers, such as tsukemono (pickles), onigiri (rice balls), ohitashi (boiled spinach with sesame), even sashimi at times. Yakitori bars also serve plenty of seafood and vegetable options, which tends to make your eyes bigger than your stomach during the selection process. I always have to remind myself not to order too much, that I can always order more later.
If I owned a charcoal grill I would spend all day experimenting with protein and different marinades. I like that no oil is needed to cook yummy beef yakitori. I also love what marinating does to meat; it breaks down the enzymes, making it super tender and moist.
For this recipe, I made something very close to a classic tare sauce but instead of dipping the meat in right before cooking, I marinated it for a few hours. This guarantees lots of umami flavors, a little sweetness and piri piri - Japanese for tingly, hot – from the pinch of ichimi togarashi.
This marinade also works well with pork, chicken and firm tofu cubes.