Grilled Chicken with Gochujang Glaze

BBQ Chicken on Grill

by Catherine Haug, August 2020 (image, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

Gochujang Glazed Grilled Chicken recipe in our local Daily Inter Lake newspaper (originally from the LA Times (2)) got my attention because of the gorgeous photo that looks like it was grilled with BBQ Sauce (similar to the photo, right), and because I’d never heard of gochujang sauce and was intrigued.

I am not familiar with gochujang sauce; All Recipes (3) refers to it as “Korean chile paste;” Yummly (4) refers to it as “red pepper paste.”

I also found the introductory information that accompanied the recipe (2) helpful, and I highly recommend reading that before giving it a try. However, that info does not include brining the chicken; instead, “you season the chicken [pieces] all over 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.

I’ve not yet tested this glazed chicken, nor gochujang sauce recipe. When I do test it, I will brine it before marinating and grilling the chicken pieces. Brining helps the meat to retain moisture, especially for breast meat. Of course, you can skip that and simply salt the chicken as in the original recipe, but it may lose some of its moisture.

Grilled Chicken with Gochujang Glaze

This recipe takes about 45 minutes (not including brine time nor the time to make your own gochujang sauce), and serves 6 – 8.

If you want to make some of the ingredients ahead of time: “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.” (2)

Ingredients and Equipment:

  • Chicken:
    • 3 lb bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces, preferably dark meat, brined
    • unrefined sea salt (if you don’t brine the chicken)
    • freshly ground black pepper
  • Marinade:
    • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and grated
    • 1 large (1 – 2 smaller) lemon(s) for juice and zest
    • ¼ cup Tamari (fermented soy sauce)
  • Gochujang glaze:  
    • 1 – 3 Tbsp gochujang sauce (see my recipe, below, using a substitute for gochujang paste)
    • 2 Tbsp Rapadura sugar
    • 2 Tbsp Tamari 
  • Garnish:
    • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • Equipment: 
    • zester (to grate garlic and lemon zest)
    • large, shallow baking dish (I use my Corningware version, as in photo, below-right)

Corning Ware French White, 1.5 Quart, Shallow Oval Casserole


  1. Prep:
    1. Brine chicken pieces; remove from brine and season generously with pepper. (Or if you don’t brine the chicken, season the chicken pieces all over generously with salt and pepper).
    2. Marinade: I’m not sure this is all that goes into the marinade: Meanwhile, grate the garlic (or mince very fine) and then the lemon zest into a large, shallow baking dish (such as my Corningware pan,right). Squeeze all the juice from the lemon into the dish and stir in ¼ cup Tamari sauce.
    3. Gochujang sauce/glaze:  Stir together the gochujang sauce (see recipe, below), Rapadura, and remaining 2 Tbsp Tamari 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.
  2. Heat the grill: 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° F and you can hold your hand an inch above the grate for 3 seconds before pulling away from the heat.
  3. Marinate chicken pieces: Place chicken piece in marinade and turn them to evenly coat in the marinade while massaging the mix into the meat. Let stand while the grill heats, turning occasionally.
  4. Grill: When the grill is ready:
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Flip the chicken over, cover, and cook until the meat near the bone registers 155°F for breasts or 160°F 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.
    4. Glaze: 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.
  5. Transfer the chicken to a platter and drizzle with the sesame oil. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Gochujang Sauce

Gochujang sauce can be hard to find in your local grocery store, and even if I could find it, it would likely be made from GMO soy. So I’m going to attempt to come up with a recipe. For the sauce, I will use a recipe on All Recipes (2) as a guide. However, it calls for gochujang paste, which I cannot find at my local store [it is available on Amazon (ASIN B004JPW9TC)].

I could make my own; according to Kimchimari (5), “A respectable gochujang should only have chili pepper powder (gochukaru), fermented soy bean powder (mejukaru), sweet rice/rice/brown rice/barley/wheat flour, rice syrup, malt barley syrup or powder and salt.” However, researching that online has discouraged me, as it takes months to get the right ferment of the soy beans.

So I will use a substitute instead. Pepperscale (6) recommends the following you will likely find at your local grocer: Thai Chili Sauce or Paste, or Sriracha Chili Sauce; or in a pinch, tomato sauce with some crushed red pepper flakes added. However, most commercial sauces contain ingredients I try to avoid, so I will try Pepperscale’s “on the fly” sauce recipe (6) which I have included in the recipe, below.

The following is adapted from All Recipes (3), with my own preferences and hints from Yummly (4), and Pepperscale (6). It should make just enough to glaze your grilled chicken pieces.  I’ve not yet tested this recipe.

Ingredients and Equipment

    • 1 – 2 Tbsp crushed red pepper or red pepper flakes
    • a few dashes of Tamari sauce (a fermented soy sauce, to moisten and add a tangy bite)
    • a dash of Rapadura sugar to provide sweetness
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger root
  • 1 Tbsp Tamari (fermented soy sauce)
  • 1 Tbsp rice or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 – 3 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 – 4 tsp raw local honey or Rapadura sugar (amount depends on your desired sweetness and thickness)
  • Equipment
  • Small bowl
  • Whisk


  1. If not using a commercial gochujang paste, prepare the substitute:
    1. Whisk together red pepper flakes, Tamari and Rapadura in small bowl.
  2. Slice green onions diagonally; mince garlic, and grate ginger root and add to bowl.
  3. Add Tamari, vinegar, toasted sesame oil and honey/sugar (start with lower amount if a range is listed) to bowl.
  4. Whisk all together in a bowl until smooth. Give it a taste and add more sesame oil and/or honey/sugar if desired. It should be fairly thick.


  4., originally from Sauvier

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