Skip to main content

Seven Chefs. Eight Great Grilling Hacks.

The brilliant chefs of the Kikkoman Kitchen Cabinet share techniques and ideas for enhancing grilled foods with Kikkoman Sauces.

From steaks and chops to poultry, fish, vegetables and meatless proteins, grilled foods are year-round menu stars. And if you’re looking to give your grilled items the kinds of distinctive signature touches that keep customers coming back again and again, Kikkoman sauces can be just the ticket.

To prove this point, we asked seven members of the Kikkoman Kitchen Cabinet, our inner circle of leading-edge chefs and operators, to share some of their favorite grilling tips using Kikkoman products. Their simple, surprising ideas are easy ways to add flavor, umami and appeal to grilled foods without extra labor. And they might just surprise you.

Chef Erik Bruner-Yang



Maketto | Washington DC


1. Ponzu as a Marinade

One of my favorite hacks is using Kikkoman® Lime Ponzu as a quick overnight marinade for cuts like pork collar or pork shoulder. In a lot of barbecue cultures, pineapple juice or other acidic juices are used to tenderize meats in a marinade, and Ponzu has that effect along with adding great flavor.” 

2. A Two-Ingredient Grilling Glaze

My favorite quick brush-on grilling glaze for those same meats is a mixture of Kikkoman® Oyster Sauce and Thai Style Chili Sauce. The combo of the Ponzu marinade and this quick grilling glaze makes a perfectly delicious pairing on the grill.”



Chef Lon Symensma

ChoLon | Denver, CO


3. Reverse Marinating 

“Lately, I have really been enjoying reverse marinating—a technique that involves marinating meat after grilling. Just season your meats with oil, salt and pepper and grill to just below your desired doneness temperature. Immediately plunge the grilled meat into a reverse marinade of Kikkoman® Soy Sauce, Rice Vinegar, Sesame Oil, honey, minced ginger, garlic, scallion and chili. Allow the meat to sit in the marinade for up to an hour. The heat of the meat will gently “cook” the marinade which will be used as the sauce. Just before serving, grill the meat again at a very high temperature to char and reheat.  Serve the meat with the reserved marinade poured over the top.” 

 4. A Simple Soy Butter Sauce

“I also like to make a Soy Butter Sauce for serving alongside grilled meats. In a saucepan, combine Kikkoman® Soy Sauce, Kikkoman Sriracha, lemon juice, sugar and minced garlic and bring to a boil. Off heat, whisk in small cubes of softened butter until the sauce is thick and rich. Stir in some chopped cilantro and serve.”


Chefs Evelyn Garcia and Henry Lu

Jūn by Kin | Houston, TX


5. A Three-Ingredient Glaze for Steaks

“We love using a mixture of equal parts Kikkoman Soy Sauce, Rice Vinegar and Oyster Sauce to finish our steaks. Season the steak with salt and pepper and grill to just below desired temperature. Dip the steak into the mixture and finish on the grill. This will create a beautiful glaze. The grill gives it that smokey wok flavor—my favorite—and a delicious umami punch.”—Chef Evelyn 

6. A Brine for Grilled Vegetables

I love brining my vegetables in a mixture of Kikkoman Soy Sauce, Kikkoman Sesame Oil and water right before throwing them onto the grill. It brings out the beautiful flavors of whole vegetables and adds an extra char you want from the grill!”—Chef Henry 


Chefs Ray Hayashi and Cynthia Hetlinger

RYLA | Hermosa Beach, CA 


7. A Tare Dipping Sauce

When it comes to grilling, one of our favorite ways to use Kikkoman Soy Sauce is to make a tare. Tare is a Japanese ‘dipping sauce’ that’s often used as a seasoning agent for grilling meats like yakitori or yakiniku. At RYLA we like to use Kikkoman Soy Sauce as the base, and we add other ingredients to flavor it. For example, we make a port wine tare by combining soy sauce with port, mirin and sake to season the steaks that we grill over binchotan. You can use a pastry brush to brush on layers of tare while the food is on the grill, or you can even dip it in the sauce. The tare should be quite strong in flavor as it is used to season and flavor the meat while you are grilling.” 


Chef Robbie Felice

pastaRAMEN | Los Angeles, CA and Montclair, NJ


8. A Master Marinade with a Wafu Twist

Equal parts Kikkoman Soy Sauce and Kikkoman Hoisin is one of the simplest, most tasty ways to marinate any meat before the grill. I also like to add 1 part balsamic vinegar, to make a Wafu Italian marinade.”


More Grilling Inspiration

Want to enhance your grilled offerings? From Soy Sauce and Teriyaki to seasoning essentials like Sriracha, Ponzu, Hoisin, Oyster Sauce, Rice Vinegar, Sesame Oil and more, Kikkoman’s premium foodservice products are all you need to add craveable flavor to whatever you’re grilling.

For more grilling recipes and idea, click below.



See Recipes

Sign Me Up!

With recipes from chefs around the country, new applications and trends, and foodservice pro tips, discover delicious new ways to take flavor next-level with Kikkoman’s quarterly eNewsletter.

Sign Up

Click to scroll back to the top