Korean Chicken BBQ

When we were still living in the apartment, we had a neighbor who gave us a plate of the best chicken BBQ I have ever tasted in Michigan (I have had good ones elsewhere). They gave us two different kinds but the one that stood out was a little bit sweet and I tasted a hint of sesame oil ( I am good at guessing the ingredients of a dish just by tasting it).  But our neighbors work night shifts and we never got the chance to ask them for the recipe until they moved out.

I have searched for a long time for a chicken BBQ recipe with sesame oil but found nothing.  I even bought a cookbook just for chicken recipes.

Then I thought came to my mind one day.  Our neighbors were Koreans.  Maybe I should look for a Korean Chicken BBQ recipe.  Alas!  I found what I’ve been looking for.

Our neighbors used chicken wings for their recipe.  But my husband does not like chicken wings.  According to him it is too much effort for a part that is mostly bones and skin, hahahaha. He has a point though.   Nonetheless,  the recipes I found used chicken thighs.  So here it is.


  • 3 pounds chicken thighs (you can also use boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts)
  • 6 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 medium scallions cut into 2-inch long pieces
  • 1 (4-inch) piece ginger, cut into 1/4-inch coins
  • 3/4 cup soy sauce or Gluten Free Tamari (more depending on your preference)
  • 1/2 cup organic honey
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (more depending on your preference)
  • 3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
  • chopped green onions, for garnish
  • Vegetable oil, for prepping the grill ( if you are baking it, you don’t need this)
  1. Remove excess skin from the chicken. Make slits on the front and the backside of the chicken thigh.
  2. In a bowl mix all ingredients to make the marinade except for the chicken and the sesame seeds.  Taste the marinade and adjust it to your preference.
  3. Add the chicken and turn to coat evenly. Cover and place in the refrigerator to marinate for 2 hours or overnight.
  4. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature before cooking, at least 30 minutes.
  5. Remove the chicken from the marinade and drain any excess liquid.
Using the Grill
  1. Heat a gas or charcoal grill to high (about 400°F) and rub the grill with a towel dipped in vegetable oil.
  2. Place the chicken on the grill and cook uncovered, basting it with the marinade every 15 minutes. Turning the chicken rarely and cook until it’s brown and the juices are running clear. When ready to serve, garnish with the sesame seeds.

Using the Oven

  1. Pre-heat you oven to 325°F.
  2. Place the chicken on a cookie rack (to drain the fat) and then to a baking pan. Place the chicken in the oven.  Baste the chicken with marinade.  Turn the chicken after 30 minutes and baste the other side. Continue cooking until the juices run clear.

When ready to serve, garnish with the sesame seeds and chopped green onions.


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