The Best Way To Prep Chicken For Teriyaki Dishes

Teriyaki chicken is one of those meals that, when prepared correctly, is mind-blow-ingly delicious. Making it at home is not always as easy or satisfying as ordering it in a restaurant, and part of that is because a scratch-made teriyaki sauce from a restaurant is just so yummy. Another reason is that most restaurant cooks and chefs have perfected the sometimes difficult art of serving tender and juicy chicken with the perfect sear on it.

If you make teriyaki chicken at home and have found a sauce recipe or bottled sauce that you love, you can ratchet your recipe up to restaurant quality if you use the right cut of chicken and prepare it the right way. Most people have a preference between light and dark meat. While you can use either kind for teriyaki, it's helpful to consider that dark meat is juicier and contains more fat, so it can add an extra layer of moisture when paired with a drier ingredient like rice. Now, how do you prepare it to keep it juicy while still getting a nice char on it?

Give it a few whacks

Whether you decide to use thighs or breasts, Drive Me Hungry notes that you want to make sure you use boneless meat. This is because you'll want to start by pounding out your chicken to about ¾ of an inch thick so that the meat cooks evenly. Then you'll want to marinade your chicken for at least 15 minutes before cooking it. Drive Me Hungry also notes that if you're grilling your chicken or cooking it in a pan, start skin-side down if you opt for the skin-on cuts of chicken. If you opt for cooking the chicken in a pan, Delish notes that you don't want to stir it too much. You want to get a nice sear on your meat to keep the juices locked in, and you'll get a little bit of a tasty crust on it too.

Pro tip: keep a close eye on your chicken to ensure the sauce doesn't over caramelize and burn, as most teriyaki sauces and marinades contain sugar. Next time you're craving teriyaki chicken, you can be confident that you have the know-how to make it as good as your favorite restaurant.