Four Japanese barbecue recipes to combine with sake, highballs and more

Four Japanese barbecue recipes to combine with sake, highballs and more

Japanese barbecue is best explained in contrast to the classic American affair. You won’t find whole pigs or pit masters. There are no monster-sized grills and no upfront commitment to long, slow smoking or simmering sauces. Though small compared to more carnivorous American standards, Japanese barbecue is a highly agile, interactive, and omnivorous experience.

Most Japanese households are not equipped with American backyards and built-in barbecues. Instead, portable, often collapsible charcoal grills accompany camping trips or excursions to parks, beaches, or mountains. Instead of a pit master, guests gather around the grill, searing their own appetizers while drinking and chatting.

Rather than massive chunks of brisket or ribs, Japanese barbecues emphasize an array of fresh, seasonal ingredients seasoned most prominently by the charcoal and smoke of charcoal. Clams, scallops, shrimp and whole fish are grilled with simple dashes of sake or soy sauce. Bite-sized pieces of chicken, beef or pork often don’t need to be marinated and sear in an instant. Fresh vegetables are usually just as plentiful as protein, and no outdoor meal would be complete without onigiri, the quintessentially Japanese rice balls.

Beer is a universal accompaniment to barbecuing and there are plenty of Japanese craft beers to try. But a Japanese barbecue is also a fantastic platform to combine with sake, shochu and uniquely Japanese variations of the highball – simple cocktails made from whiskey or shochu mixed with soft drinks, juices and iced tea.

Here are four Japanese barbecue recipes and drink combinations to try this summer!

This article originally appeared in the June/July 2022 issue of wine lover magazine. Click here to subscribe today!

Published on June 10, 2022

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