Gochujang Glazed Grilled Chicken

Time45 minutes
YieldsServes 6 to 8
Gochujang-glazed grilled chicken on a white plate with potato salad and kimchi.
(Genevieve Ko / Los Angeles Times)
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Gochujang, a Korean fermented soybean paste with red chiles, gives this grilled chicken a little kick. If you want your chicken spicy, use more gochujang in the salty-sweet glaze. Fresh lemon juice balances the sweetness with tang and also keeps the chicken juicy.

From the story: How to grill chicken so it’s juicy with charred (not burned!) skin


Using a Microplane zester, grate the garlic and then the lemon zest into a large, shallow baking dish. Squeeze all the juice from the lemon into the dish and stir in ¼ cup soy sauce. Season the chicken all over generously with salt and pepper, then turn to evenly coat in the marinade while massaging the mix into the meat. Let stand while the grill heats, turning occasionally.


Set up a charcoal grill for direct heat or heat a gas grill over medium. The grill is ready when a grill thermometer registers 400 degrees and you can hold your hand an inch above the grate for 3 seconds before pulling away.


Stir together the sugar, gochujang and remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce in a bowl until smooth. If the gochujang is very stiff, stir the mixture in a saucepan instead over low heat to help it loosen up.


When the grill is ready, pull the skin taut over the meat. Place the chicken on the hot grill grate, skin side down. Cover the grill and open the top vents of the lid if using a charcoal grill. Cook until the skin is deep golden brown and releases easily from the grate, for about 10 minutes. Start checking on the chicken after 5 minutes. If the skin is browning too quickly, lower the heat if using a gas grill or close the top vents if using a charcoal one.


Flip the chicken over, cover, and cook until the meat near the bone registers 155 degrees for breasts or 160 degrees for dark meat on a meat thermometer, 5 to 10 minutes longer. If you stick a paring knife into the meat, it should slide through easily and the blade should be hot. The timing depends on the size of your chicken pieces.


Brush a generous coating of the gochujang glaze on the skin, then flip the chicken and brush the other side. Flip again and brush the skin with the remaining glaze. Let sit on the grill uncovered until the glaze is burnished onto the chicken, 1 to 2 minutes.


Transfer the chicken to a platter and drizzle with the sesame oil. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Make Ahead:
The glaze can be mixed and refrigerated for up to 1 week. The chicken can be marinated and refrigerated for up to 4 hours. Let stand at room temperature while the grill heats.