Korean Honey-Sesame Chicken Skewers

Modified from: Barbecue! Bible by Steven Raichlen

Korean Honey Sesame Chicken Skewers / She Cooks, He Cleans

Yes, this is yet another post about meat on a stick.  We are just plain nuts about grilling meat on skewers (and there are those that would say we are just plain nuts, period).  I’m pretty fond of a good sweet-salty combination, which led me to the recipe for Korean Honey-Sesame Marinade in the Barbeque! Bible.  This marinade combines the salty taste of soy sauce with an assortment of sweet flavors from honey, pears, and ginger.  Then there’s the garlic and the toasted sesame seeds to round it all out.

I modified the recipe to cut down on the sugar, and because I didn’t have all the right ingredients on hand.  The chicken turned out great, but I’d like to try it again and stick closer to the original ingredients.  Also, next time, I would like to set aside some of the marinade to brush onto the chicken while it’s grilling.


  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup Asian (dark) sesame oil  (I substituted regular sesame oil)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup sake or dry sherry
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds*
  • 1 tablespoon minced, fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon hot paprika (I used 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika and 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small Asian pear or firm regular pear, peeled, cored, and diced (I did not have a pear – I used 1/2 gala apple)
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips

Combine all ingredients (except chicken) in a food processor or blender; process to a smooth purée.  Place the chicken strips in a resealable plastic bag or glass baking dish.  Cover with the marinade and refrigerate for at least one hour, and up to 4 hours.

Set up a grill for direct cooking around 400F.  Thread chicken onto skewers (I twisted the strips as I threaded them for this thicker, knotted-looking appearance.  Bunching up the chicken may help keep it moist.)

Grill chicken for 3-4 minutes per side.  Serve ’em up!

*Note about toasting sesame seeds:  Toasting seeds and nuts intensifies their flavors and makes them, well, toasty and better.  Sesame seeds are tiny little buggers and are prone to flying all over the place and burning when you toast them, but this can be overcome.  Just put the seeds in a dry, heavy skillet over medium heat, and stir them and shake the pan until they are lightly brown and you can smell the toasty goodness.  Then immediately get them out of the hot pan or they will burn.  Don’t turn your back on them for a second!

Korean Honey Sesame Chicken Skewers / She Cooks, He Cleans

I’m somewhat of a gadget geek, and my most recent nifty new thing is a Kindle. I love to read, and anything that lets you carry 3500 books at a time, I’m all for. One of the more interesting aspects is the ability to read a sample of a novel. So, I gave The Cello Suites: J. S. Bach, Pablo Casals, and the Search for a Baroque Masterpiece a shot, and my, I’m glad I did! The story of the origins of Bach’s masterwork for the cello, its discovery by a 13 year old Pablo Casals in a second-hand music shop and the change it made to the musical world is fascinating!

Of course, you can’t read about Bach: Six Suites for Solo Cello without listening to them at the same time, right? This is a sublime work, one of the greatest classical recordings ever. Now, if I could only find it on vinyl!


15 thoughts on “Korean Honey-Sesame Chicken Skewers

    1. Thanks, Greg! We’re glad you agree! What’s not to like about meat on a stick?

  1. Looks fabulous. Can’t wait to try it. Especially pleased for the apple substitution, as pears aren’t in season around here (Washington DC). I usually do a Middle Eastern “chicken-on-a-stick” thing, (with fresh cilantro, parsley, garlic and lemon) – this will be a nice change.

    1. If I were going to substitute something non-alcoholic there, I think I’d go for a juice (apple?, lemon?) or just water. I hope you like it!

  2. Made these for company last night and they were not dry at all. Great flavour. The twisting was a good move too. I drizzled honey over them at the last minute too so the kids would devour them. I never noticed if they did though because I was too distracted eating mine!

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