Soy adds saltiness along with a deep color to these skewers; the glaze would also be great on short ribs.
- For the sprinkle:
- 2 tablespoons toasted white and/or black sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon thinly sliced chives
- 1 teaspoon Aleppo-style pepper or other mild red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- Kosher salt
- For the chicken and assembly:
- 1/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
- 1/3 cup mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine)
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1 1/4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs
- Vegetable oil (for grill)
- Kosher salt
- Special Equipment
- 8 (8–12-inch-long) metal skewers
- Make the sesame-citrus sprinkle:
- Mix sesame seeds, chives, Aleppo-style pepper, and lemon zest in a small bowl to combine; season with salt.
- Make the chicken kebabs:
- Combine brown sugar, mirin, soy sauce, and vinegar in a small saucepan. Transfer 1/4 cup mixture to a large resealable plastic bag. Working one at a time, slice chicken thighs in half lengthwise. Add to bag with marinade and massage marinade into chicken. Chill at least 2 hours or up to 12 hours.
- Meanwhile, bring remaining marinade to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook until reduced by half and slightly thickened (just shy of syrupy), 8–10 minutes. Remove glaze from heat.
- Prepare a grill for medium-high, indirect heat (for a charcoal grill, bank coals on one side of grill; for a gas grill, leave one or two burners off). Oil grates. Thread chicken onto 6–8 skewers, folding and piling onto itself to form a compact shape. Season lightly with salt and grill over direct heat, turning every minute or so, until browned and beginning to char in spots, about 4 minutes. Move to cooler side of grill and continue to grill, basting lightly with glaze and turning every 30 seconds or so, until cooked through and coated with glaze, about 5 minutes longer. Serve chicken topped with sesame-citrus sprinkle.
- Do Ahead
- Glaze can be made 12 hours ahead. Let cool; cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before using.