“Korean Thunder Chicken” by Wasi Syed (3rd place 2018 Poultry Competition)

One of the few competitors who cooked on-site, Wasi showed off his pitmaster skills, using  a public park grill (the frustrating kind) in windy situations. His wife Muna’s recipe (see below) combined with his grilling expertise resulted in tender and juicy chicken with “perfect Asian flavor” per the judges.

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Wasi presenting his Korean Thunder Chicken to the judges
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Wasi is the type of pitmaster who can thrive with any grill. For this competition, he used this rusty public park grill at the competition site.

 

As part of our ongoing series interviewing the competitors, below are Wasi’s answers and his award-winning recipe.

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What type of grill/smoker do you have?  I have the Weber Charcoal Grill and a Gas Grill.

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What grills/smokers have you had in the past?  I have mostly had Charcoal Grills in the past, nothing fancy.

What is the favorite grill/smoker you’ve ever had and why?  I use to have this smaller charcoal grill it was this smaller 1ft by 1ft grill.
I loved it because it didn’t take much charcoal to get super hot and was the perfect size for my family back than, it was only Muna and I then.
At what age did you start grilling/smoking meat?  My journey started with my childhood best friend Chris Medina, in Northern California. His dad William was a huge BBQ/Pitmaster. They were of Filipino decent. We would always be in the backyard hanging out with his dad. One day when I was 17 years old he showed me how to grill and the passion started there.  Living in the Bay Area, I had tons of friends from many Asian countries, that is where the love for Teriyaki/sweet and hot sauces developed.

What do you enjoy the most about grilling/smoking? 
It’s an awesome reason to have people come over (that actually want to come). Think about it, which would you be more excited to go to:  A desi dawat (aka South Asian party/feast) –  where the food is most likely catered – or a BBQ in someone’s backyard? I love having friends and family over, and I want to make sure they go home full and more than satisfied!!
What’s your signature dish? Tandoori Lamb Chops
Give us one tip/hack to make improve our grilling/BBQ skills. When grilling chicken once you have had on the grill past 20 minutes, poke tiny holes thru it with a toothpick closest to the bone. Let it sit another few mins and pull off. This will allow heat to go thru without the juices to come out.
Recipe
This recipe credit goes all to my beautiful wife Muna!!
Recipe for Muna’s Korean ThunderBird
Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons  honey
  • 1 heaping tablespoon Korean chili paste (gochujang)
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 whole chicken, cut into parts with skin.
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

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    Korean Chilli Paste
1. Whisk together:
  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons  honey
  • 1 heaping tablespoon Korean chili paste (gochujang)
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
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The marinade.
2. Divide the mixture and pour half over chicken and reserve half for Lighting Sauce
3. Marinate and let it sit overnight or at least 3 hours.

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Chicken marinading!
Lighting Sauce – for use after it is grilled:
4. Take the reserved half and add
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

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    The Lightning Sauce!

5.  Grill the chicken skin down for 3 mins and then skin side up for 3 mins, don’t worry if you have a nice deep char on the skin – it’ll taste great.   Keep cooking for about 17 mins or until done. Constantly be moving the chicken around to get different temps if using charcoal.  Towards the end  is where I poke holes with a toothpick close to the bone.

6. Once done take out in pot/pan that you can put a lid on and pour the Lighting Sauce over it and give it a quick mix and garnish with green onions and cilantro. Cover the chicken and let sit for 2-3 mins this will give it a nice steam, and help moisten the chicken.
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The final product: Korean Thunder Chicken!

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