thumb|Yakitori being grilled thumb|Yakitori being freshly grilled in Tokyo is a Japanese type of skewered chicken. Its preparation involves skewering the meat with , a type of skewer typically made of steel, bamboo, or similar materials. Afterwards, they are grilled over a charcoal fire. During or after cooking, the meat is typically seasoned with tare sauce or salt. The term is sometimes used informally for ''kushiyaki'' (grilled and skewered foods) in general.


As they are designed for convenience and portability, yakitori are typically cooked using step-by-step methods. Traditionally, it was accomplished using portable charcoal grills. That is the method most often employed by yatai, however, restaurants may use stationary grills and, depending on the situation, higher quality binchōtan charcoal. At home, appliances known as or are used. Yakitori-ki are small electrical appliances that use a heating element similar to that of a broiler or toaster to cook the food placed on top. To facilitate even cooking, the meat is cut into small, roughly uniform shapes and then skewered with ''kushi''; after which the yakitori are seasoned and cooked. Charcoal is the preferred method of cooking as it produces high heat and strong flames while giving off little to no water vapor. This allows for the ingredients to cook quickly while imparting a crunchy texture to the skin. While gas and electric heat sources can be used, they do not develop the same aromas or textures as charcoal-cooked yakitori.


Yakitori seasonings are primarily divided into two types: salty or salty-sweet. The salty type usually uses plain salt as its main seasoning. For the salty-sweet variety, tare, a special sauce consisting of mirin, sake, soy sauce, and sugar is used. Other common spices include powdered cayenne pepper, shichimi, Japanese pepper, black pepper, and wasabi, according to one's tastes.


are small shops specializing in yakitori. They usually take the form of a compact shop offering take-out services only, but sit-down restaurants and restaurant chains are also popular. Yakitori is not limited to speciality shops: It is readily found on the menus of izakaya all across Japan and is sold pre-cooked, as frozen vacuum packs, or even canned. The latter was made popular by Hotei Foods Corporation, the first company that started selling yakitori-in-can in 1970, with nine flavors as of 2016. Their TV commercial song has been iconic to their brand name. Due to its ease of preparation and portability, yakitori is a very popular street food, often sold from small carts and stalls known as yatai. Yatai are found, among other places, dotting streets during festivals or on heavily trafficked routes during the evening commute where customers enjoy beer and sake with yakitori.


Due to a wide diversity in cuts and preparation methods, yakitori takes on many forms. Some popular examples include: * ''momo'' (もも), chicken thigh * "hasami" (はさみ), gizzard * "sasami" (ささみ), breast meat * "negima" (ねぎま), chicken and spring onion * ''tsukune'' (つくね), chicken meatballs * ''(tori)kawa'' ((とり)かわ), chicken skin, grilled until crispy * ''tebasaki'' (手羽先), chicken wing * ''bonjiri'' (ぼんじり), chicken tail * ''shiro'' (シロ), chicken small intestines * ''nankotsu'' (なんこつ), chicken cartilage * ''hāto / hatsu'' (ハート / ハツ) or kokoro (こころ), chicken heart * ''rebā'' (レバー), liver * ''sunagimo'' (砂肝) or zuri (ずり), chicken gizzard * ''toriniku'' (鶏肉), all white meat on skewer * ''yotsumi'' (四つ身), pieces of chicken breast


File:Kushiyaki- assorted kawa (chicken skin), yamaimo (sticky yam), shishito.jpg|Left to right: ''Kawa'' (chicken skin); ''yamaimo''; ''shishitō'' File:Yakitori - chicken liver.jpg|Chicken liver File:Kushiyaki- tsukune, scallion and pork belly.jpg|Left to right: ''Tsukune''; ''negi'' (scallion) and ''butabara'' (pork back ribs) File:Yakitori - Chicken thigh and negi.jpg|''Negima'' (chicken thigh and scallion)

See also

* Brochette – similar skewered food in France * Chuanr – similar skewered food in China * Japanese cuisine * List of chicken dishes * List of kebabs * Nem nướng – similar skewered food in Vietnam * Satay – similar skewered food in Southeast Asia and Sri Lanka * Shashlik * Souvlaki – similar skewered food in Greece


Further reading

* Ono, Tadashi; Salat Harris (2011)
''The Japanese Grill: From Classic Yakitori to Steak, Seafood, and Vegetables''
Ten Speed Press. * *

External links

Everyday Japanese Cuisine
{{Street food Category:Japanese meat dishes Category:Japanese chicken dishes Category:Skewered foods Category:Street food Category:Barbecue Category:Japanese cuisine terms