The Meatwave: Barbecue & Grilling Recipes, Reviews, Tips, and Tricks


Tue Sep 29, 2015

Tsukune (Japanese Chicken Meatballs)

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A while back I worked on a recipe for Pakistini chicken keema done in kebab form. This required taking a pretty wet ground chicken mixture and getting it to cling to a skewer, which was no easy feat to accomplish. In my tests, chilling the mixture in the freezer for a little while helped things out, making the meat firm enough to at least withstand the short trip from tray to grill, where it became more solid quickly as it cooked over a very hot fire.

From the comments I got, not everyone had success with it, leaving me wondering what a better solution may be. So I decided to go back at it, but this time using tsukune—Japanese chicken meatballs—as the ground chicken recipe of choice to work out my skewering dilemma.

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Tue May 26, 2015

Smoky Pulled Barbecue Chicken

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Pulled Chicken

Pulled pork is a wondrous thing. Made from pork shoulder, it's slowly smoked until the intramuscular fat and connective tissue renders and softens, leaving nothing but tender, juicy meat that can be shredded easily by hand. The process takes a good twelve to fourteen hours at a low temperature of 225°F, during which time the meat picks up a smoky flavor while developing an intensely flavored exterior bark. It's one of the classics of the barbecue cannon, which raises the question: Why does pulled barbecue chicken fail to reach a similar level of renown?

If my own experience is any indication, the answer is that pulled chicken, as tender and juicy as it can be, almost always lacks the right balance between meat, seasoning, and smoke. It tends to be so inundated with sauce that any trace of chicken flavor is completely drowned out. It's also often devoid of smokiness, unless the barbecue sauce contains liquid smoke (an ingredient I detest for its overpoweringly acrid flavor).

But just because most pulled chicken fails to reach the heights of pulled pork doesn't mean it shouldn't still taste great. I decided that it was time to figure out how to make really good pulled chicken. And with a little barbecue know-how, I was able to come up with a recipe that's outdone any pulled chicken I've ever encountered before.

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Tue Apr 28, 2015

Cilantro-and-Lime Marinated Chicken Fajita Kebabs

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Chicken Fajita Kebabs

I was never a chicken fajita type a guy—why settle for comparatively flavorless and dry chicken when you can have juicy, tender, and beefy skirt steak, a king among cuts. I held onto that unwavering opinion for a long time, until one day a few years I devised a marinade for chicken fajitas so delicious that I not only found myself enjoying them, I actually endorsed it as a recipe you really need to make. Even though I've remained steadfast in my use of beef for fajitas since then, there's been a lingering desire to make those chicken fajitas again. As I was working on a whole slew of skewers last summer, I thought why not give myself my fix, and threw a chicken fajita skewer into the menu line up with my other lamb, beef, and chicken creations.

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Tue Mar 24, 2015

Smoky and Spicy Yogurt Marinated Chicken Kebabs

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Smoky and Spicy Yogurt Marinated Chicken Skewers

I went a little kebab crazy at the Meatwave opener last summer. In all, I made nine different skewers that day, and the full aftermath will be coming to you all Meatwavers over the next few months. I've already unleashed the super beefy steakhouse kebabs and the extra flavorful herb-crusted lamb skewers, so for a change meat this time, I'm presenting these smoky and spicy yogurt marinated chicken kebabs.

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Tue Feb 17, 2015

Chicken Yakitori

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For years, my seafood aversion left me being that person who only orders off the "kitchen" menu at Japanese restaurants. During those days when I wasn't the eater I am today, I knew exactly what I was getting each and every time I stepped inside a Japanese place—chicken teriyaki. As I slowly branched out to other items—katsu, negimaki, tempura, curry...basically anything not seafood based—I left teriyaki behind and anything that resembled it, feeling like I was closing a shameful chapter of my life. So it was with a little trepidation that I decided to do a recipe for yakitori, because this simple grilled chicken skewer with a sweet teriyaki-like glaze seemed like a reversion to days I would like to forget. In making it though, I found that yakitori was nothing to be ashamed of, but rather something to exalt.

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