Sesame-Ginger Chicken

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4

To toast sesame seeds, put them in a small, dry fry pan and place over medium heat. Toast, stirring the seeds or shaking the pan often, until the seeds are fragrant and just beginning to turn golden brown, about 3 minutes. Keep a close eye on them, as they burn easily. Toast only the amount you need, as the seeds taste best fresh.


  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup shredded ginger
  • 2 Tbs. Asian sesame oil
  • 2 Tbs. dry sherry
  • 1 Tbs. firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 4 chicken legs, about 2 1/2 lb. total
  • 2 Tbs. sesame seeds, toasted (see note above)


Marinate the chicken
In a nonreactive bowl large enough to accommodate the chicken, whisk together the soy sauce, ginger, sesame oil, sherry, brown sugar, garlic and pepper. Add the chicken and turn to coat evenly. Cover and let stand while the grill heats. (The chicken can be refrigerated at this point for up to 8 hours; turn occasionally in the marinade.)

Grill the chicken
Prepare a gas or charcoal grill for indirect grilling over high heat.

Lightly oil the grill rack. Place the chicken, skin side down, on the rack over the drip pan, and cover the grill. Cook for 25 minutes. Turn the chicken and continue to cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of a thigh (but not touching bone) reads 170°F, about 20 minutes more.

Transfer to individual plates or a platter, sprinkle with the sesame seeds and serve. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Grilling, by Rick Rodgers (Oxmoor House, 2007).

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