Skewers Yakitori Recipe (Charcoal Grilled Bacon, Chicken and Veggies)

I love making yakitori recipe at my home. You can use charcoals or binchotan to give it that bbq flavor you can’t replicate with any other method.

You can have yakitori with many different things, which makes it even more fun to eat. My favorite is chicken with green onions, but I will also eat pork belly, grilled eggs, bacon-wrapped vegetables, and mushrooms.

These are all must-haves, but they’re great leftovers. Let’s grill!

Yakitori is Japanese for “grilled chicken”, and it’s a traditional Japanese method of grilling. There are many cuts of chicken meat that can be pierced onto metal skewers or bamboo, but it also could refer to grilled vegetables and other meats such as pork belly.

Honda Ya and Shinsengumi are my favorite places to eat Yakitori. It’s also possible to grill yakitori recipe at your home.

Types and setup of Yakitori grills

Yakitori grills can be used to grill skewers. The rectangular shape of the Yakitori grills I have found is quite different from your standard American bbq charcoal grill.

Yakitori grills can hold a row of 6-8 inch skewers. They also have different grill widths that allow you to grill more skewers side-by side.

These are the features of charcoal yakitori grills:

  • Flat bottoms and flat sides in the interior are necessary to accommodate binchotan, which is the common coal used.
  • A coal area should be approximately 5-6 feet deep. This gives you enough space to stack at most 2 layers of coals. The distance between the coals and the skewers should be about 1-2 inches.
  • To regulate the temperature of charcoal, there are sliding doors at the front and back.
  • The construction material for the yakitori charcoal I have, is diatomite brick. This allows me to better insulate the high-than-normal heat from bincho-tan. However, stainless steel barbecues are common.
  • Grill grates are used to maintain food at a consistent temperature.
  • Some grills have notches that allow skewers to be seated in. This allows you to easily target large chunks of chicken and other items that don’t lie flat, such as quail eggs.

The Yak Grill is a stainless steel charcoal barbecue that shares all the above attributes but may also have:

  • There is no other insulation layer than the stainless-steel wall.
  • A box inside that you can open and remove charcoal, ash and oil from cooking
  • Grid to lift the charcoal from the bottom. This allows for more airflow below.

The shape of electric yakitori grills is similar to the one above and has:

  • Much lower maximum temperatures
  • They are not flavored with charcoal, but they also produce less smoke, so they can be safely grilled indoors with some ventilation.
  • Flexibility in heating element placement. Some models allow you to place the skewers vertically, but no model seems to be better than the flat orientation.

Coals & binchotan

Bincho-tan or white charcoal are the types of coals that are used in yakitori. These coals are made from a hardwood such as oak and have a long burning time of about 4-5 hours with high heat levels (up to 1600degF). Korin has more information about the different types of binchotan.

These coals can be expensive, but they have a long burning time and are worth the investment. A new version of coals I purchased from PokPok (yes that’s the restaurant) was Thaan. It is slightly cheaper.

Homemade yakitori tare (sauce)

Although most yakitori recipe are seasoned with salt, it is important to apply a delicious basting sauce called “tare” to your dish. Each restaurant or yakitori-ya, a restaurant that specializes in yakitori, has its own unique ratio. This tare is often re-used and passed down from one chef to another, creating complex flavors over the years.

Bamboo skewers for grilling

I used a Korin assortment of skewers. I prefer larger skewers (more than 6 inches) as it is easier to hold onto the grill and not burn myself. To make it easier to pierce the meat, I preferred thinner skewers for most meat pieces. To hold pieces such as okra and bacon-covered enoki mushrooms in place while grilling, I used thicker bamboo skewers.

To prevent vegetables and meat from getting too hot on the grill, soak them in water for at minimum 1 hour before skewering.

Types of meat suitable for yakitori

Some of my favorite things are:


  • momo – Chicken thigh
  • negima – Chicken thigh and spring onions
  • kawa: chicken skin
  • buta bura: pork belly
  • Quail eggs

Types of vegetables to be used for Yakitori Skewers Recipe

These are some of my favorite places:

  • shishito peppers
  • Bacon wrapped asparagus is wonderful
  • Okra (bacon wrapped is great!)
  • Enoki (ok, you can wrap any thing in bacon).
  • Green onions
  • Any thick mushrooms
  • Shiso leaf
Ingredients for Yakitori Recipe (Charcoal Grilled Bacon, Chicken and Veggies)

Make yakitori on a non-grill.

A charcoal grill is my favorite way to cook & eat yakitori. It’s impossible to duplicate the delicious smoky flavors from the grill. You can broil your yakitori in an oven if you don’t have a grill.

However, I recommend that you watch your oven carefully as the meat and skewers can quickly burn if it is too hot. Make sure to pull the meat, and then baste the tare at the end.

Hibachi vs teppanyaki

Yakitori recipe is usually prepared on a hibachi grill. Many Americans have a misunderstanding of hibachi and Teppanyaki. Hibachi grills are more common than teppanyaki grills, which have been in existence since 1945.

The major difference between hibachi and Teppanyaki grills lies in the fact that hibachi grills use a traditional charcoal stove or firebox with a grate, while teppanyaki grills use a flat and wide top more like a grill (like those at Benihana).

Tips for cooking

  • Here’s how you can properly start a charcoal grill.
  • Do not make your chicken or other food too thick. It will be difficult to season.
  • Don’t let skewers sit over flare-ups. Flammable food can ignite if it drips with fat. This can make your food taste bad and not good for you to eat. You can move the skewers from the flame and spray water on them to extinguish the fire.
  • Do not leave the grill unattended. You can make things very quickly.
  • To promote even heating, flip your skewers frequently to increase heat and allow you to see how the cooking progresses.
Yakitori Recipe (Charcoal Grilled Bacon, Chicken and Veggies)

Other grilled barbecue options include Filipino BBQ pork Skewers and vegetable kabobs.

Yakitori Skewers Recipe (Charcoal Grilled Bacon, Chicken and Veggies)

This delicious, charcoal-grilled yakitori is a wonderful treat. You can substitute any other meats or vegetables you like in this recipe.
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 3 hours
Course dinner, lunch, Main Course
Cuisine Japanese
Servings 6 SERVINGS
Calories 738 kcal


  • Charcoal grill and charcoals
  • 40 bamboo skewers of at least 6 inches
  • Sheet pans or plates
  • Tongs



  • 1 lb pork belly, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
  • 1 lb chicken leg (or thigh) skin on, deboned
  • 6 strips bacon
  • 1 bunch of green onions, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • Shiso leaves
  • 12 quail eggs
  • 12 shishito peppers
  • 4 trumpet mushrooms cut into even slices
  • 1 pack enoki mushrooms
  • 4 asparagus stalks cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 12 okra


  • 3 fl oz (6 tbsp) soy sauce
  • 3 fl oz (6 tbsp) sake
  • 3 fl oz (6 tbsp) mirin
  • 3 fl oz (6 tbsp) water
  • 17.2 g (4 teaspoons) brown sugar


  • Lemon or yuzu
  • Salt



  • Let the wooden skewers soak in water for at most 1 hour.
  • Leg/thigh of chicken: Remove bones from bone-in chicken leg or thighs. You have two options: keep the skin on, or remove the skin and skewer it separately. Place the meat flat on a cutting board. Cut the meat into 2×2-square shapes. To ensure that all chickens cook at the same time, it is important to keep them in the same shapes.
  • With green onions and chicken: Cut the green onions into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Each chicken square should be folded in half. Place one of the pieces on the skewer. Place one green onion slice horizontally parallel to the chicken. Continue the process until you have a piece of chicken.
  • Chicken with shiso leaves You can skewer up to four pieces of chicken. Wrap one shiso leaf around each skewered meat stick. It should adhere to the meat and not move.
  • Chicken skin Cut the chicken skin into long strips. Place the chicken skin onto a skewer and fold the skin in accordion fashion. You might find this a bit slippery, so dry it with a paper towel. Also, dry your hands during the entire process to ensure you have a firm grip on the skin.
  • Pork bellyCut into quarter inch slices. Depending on your skewers, you can stack approximately 2 slices of pork belly horizontally flat with one or two thick skewers.
  • Quail eggs Heat a saucepan of boiling water on medium heat. Carefully lower the eggs into the water. Boil for three minutes. If your eggs weigh between 10 and 11 g, you can add 30 seconds to the boiling process. Transfer the eggs to an ice bath for 2 minutes. The shells should be removed. Place the eggs vertically on the wooden skewers, so that the pointed top faces the sharp point of each skewer.
  • Trumpet mushrooms: Clean the mushrooms with running water to remove any dirt. The mushrooms can be cut into 1-inch pieces. Each mushroom should be skewered onto one skewer.
  • Enoki mushroom bacon Cut the bottoms off the enoki mushrooms, and then rinse them under cold water. Be careful not to damage the mushrooms. Cut the bacon into 3-inch pieces. Divide the enoki mushrooms into pieces about 1/2 inch thick. Wrap one bacon piece around each enoki. The skewer can be used to puncture the bacon's overlap. This will attach the bacon to the enoki. Continue this process until you have three bacon pieces wrapped around the enoki.
  • Asparagus bacon Wash the asparagus in running water and cut off the ends to remove any tough bottoms. The asparagus should be cut into pieces of about 2-inch lengths. Make 2 strips of bacon about 2-inches in length. To secure the bacon, wrap one piece of bacon around one asparagus piece. Continue this process until you have four pieces of bacon-wrapped asparagus on your skewer.
  • Shishito peppers Clean the shishito bell peppers and use two wooden skewers to place about three shishito bells of equal size on the skewers horizontally.
  • Okra Clean the okra, and then use two skewers for about three okra of equal size to attach horizontally to the skewers.


  • Mix all the ingredients in one small saucepan over medium heat. To ensure everything is well combined, use a whisk. Bring the sauce to boil. Reduce heat to medium. Cook the sauce for another 10-15 minutes, or until it thickens and coats a spoon. (Or reduce in half).
  • Allow the sauce to cool in a jar for at least 15 mins or until it is cool enough to touch.


  • Heat the coals. Use a chimney starter and heat it for about 10-15 minutes. To heat it evenly, I flip the binchotan in it halfway through. When the coals are nearly completely covered in whiteash, it is done. Place these coals in your yakitori grill and place the grate.
  • Get started grilling. Use a fattier piece of pork belly or bacon wrapped pieces to get some oil. You can also use skewers to cook the meat. Flip them once every 20 seconds, making sure that both sides are cooked evenly.
  • Control the heat. Some spots are hotter than others. You should move the skewers around to ensure that each one cooks evenly and doesn't burn any food you put on it. You can move a charred item to a cooler place if it isn't fully cooked.
  • Salt Season each Skewer with salt a little on both sides before you put it on the grill. Then, re-season with salt halfway through. You can reduce the amount of yakitori sauce or tare you are going to be basting your skewers with. After the first batch is finished, taste each one to check the seasoning and adjust for the next batch. You can dip or baste any skewers in the tare.
  • The coals should be cooled. To cool the coals, place them in a bucket or galvanized container. Pour a few cups water over them. My coals remain large even after four hours of grilling. You can heat them again and use them in future grilling sessions.
Keyword how to make yakitori recipe, Yakitori Skewers Recipe

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