Soy-Basted Chicken Kebabs with Sesame-Citrus Sprinkle – Memorial Day is Grilling Day!

Memorial Day is about spending the day waterside with delicious food grilled over an open flame, welcoming in the summertime. That's why we declare Memorial Day is Grilling Day! Elevate your Memorial Day grilling game with mouthwatering Soy-Basted Chicken Kebabs with Sesame-Citrus Sprinkle. Memorial Day is not just a day off but a day to celebrate the beginning of Summer with delicious food and good company.

For a day spent waterside, these kebabs are the perfect addition to your menu. Packed with bold flavors and a touch of heat, these handheld skewers of joy will have your taste buds dancing. The secret is in the marinade and glaze. Made with a unique blend of brown sugar, mirin, soy sauce, and rice vinegar, this sauce will take your chicken to the next level. Let the chicken marinate overnight to fully absorb the flavors, and then baste it with the reduced glaze while grilling for an irresistible caramelized finish. These handheld skewers of joy are like candy for adults, but your kids will surely enjoy them, too.

Mix brown sugar, mirin, soy sauce, and rice vinegar to make the marinade and glaze for basting. Slice the chicken thighs in half and marinate them overnight with a portion of the mixture. Heat the remaining marinade in a saucepan and reduce by half to a thickened glaze. Thread chicken onto skewers and grill over medium-high direct heat, rotating every minute until slightly charred. Transfer to the other side of the grates and finish cooking, basting with the glaze repeatedly for beautiful caramelization.

These kebabs will be the hit of the day, keeping you fueled for your fun in the sun. They finish dark, sticky, and delightfully addicting. So, fire up the grill, put on your swimming trunks, and enjoy because Memorial Day is Grilling Day!

Serves 4

Soy-Basted Chicken Kebabs with Sesame-Citrus Sprinkle Ingredients

Sesame-Citrus Sprinkle

  • 2 tablespoons toasted white and/or black sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced chives
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo-style pepper or other mild red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • Kosher salt

Chicken and Assembly

  • ⅓ cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine)
  • ⅓ cup of soy sauce
  • ¼ cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1¼ pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • Vegetable oil (for the grill)
  • Kosher salt

Special Equipment

  • Eight 8–12-inch-long metal skewers

Soy-Basted Chicken Kebabs with Sesame-Citrus Sprinkle Directions

Sesame-Citrus Sprinkle

  1. Mix sesame seeds, chives, Aleppo-style pepper, and lemon zest in a small bowl to combine; season with salt.

Chicken and Assembly

  1. Combine brown sugar, mirin, soy sauce, and vinegar in a small saucepan. Transfer ¼ cups of the mixture to a large resealable plastic bag to marinate the chicken. Working one at a time, slice chicken thighs in half lengthwise. Add the chicken to the bag with marinade and massage the marinade into the chicken. Chill for at least 2 hours or up to 12 hours.
  2. Meanwhile, bring the remaining marinade to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook until reduced by half and slightly thickened (just shy of syrupy), 8–10 minutes. Remove glaze from heat.
  3. Leave one or two burners off to prepare a grill for medium-high, indirect heat. Oil the grill grates.
  4. Thread chicken onto 6–8 skewers, folding and piling onto itself to form a compact shape. Season lightly with salt and grill over direct heat, turning every minute or so until browned and beginning to char in spots, about 4 minutes. Move to the cooler side of the grill and continue to cook. For another five minutes, baste lightly with glaze and turn every 30 seconds until cooked through and coated.
  5. Serve chicken topped with a sesame-citrus sprinkle.


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