Asian-Style Barbecued Chicken

Pairs Well With

Serves 6


6 chicken leg-thigh pieces

— Kosher salt

2/3 cup soy sauce

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

3 garlic cloves, crushed and minced

3 tablespoons sugar

1 star anise, broken into pieces

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

— Black pepper in a mill

1 cup dry sake

— Juice of 1 orange

— Olive oil

1 orange, in wedges

— Steamed rice of choice (white, brown, red or black)


Rinse the chicken under cool water and pat dry with a tea towel. Season lightly all over with kosher salt, arrange in a single layer in a glass dish and set aside, briefly.

Put the soy sauce, ginger, garlic and sugar into a small saucepan set over low heat, and stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar is dissolved. Add the star anise, red pepper flakes, and several turns of black pepper, sake and orange juice. Stir, remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

Pour the marinade over the chicken and turn the chicken over several times to coat each piece thoroughly. Refrigerate, covered, at least 8 hours and as long as 24 hours. Turn the chicken, now and then, in the marinade.

About 45 minutes before cooking, remove the chicken from the refrigerator and prepare a fire in a charcoal grill. Arrange the grill rack about 4 to 5 inches above the coals and coat with olive oil.

When the coals are evenly covered with white ash, remove the chicken from the liquid and brush off excess marinade. Arrange the chicken, skin side down, on the grill and cook for 5 minutes. Rotate 90 degrees and cook 15 minutes more. Turn the chicken over and cook another 15 to 20 minutes, until juices run clear when the chicken is pricked at its thickest point. Transfer to a platter, cover loosely with foil and let rest 10 to 15 minutes. Garnish with orange wedges and enjoy right away, with rice alongside.

Michele Anna Jordan has written 24 books to date. Email her at