Here, the minced meat is all homemade. Most restaurants tend to buy minced meat directly from the butcher, but for me, I don’t like not knowing when it was prepared, or what kind of meat was used for it. That’s why I make it myself. Tsukune is a popular item in yakitori restaurants, so I don’t want to be lazy about it.
There are very few places that make homemade tsukune. I would guess about 5% or so. I also think that there are very few yakitori shops that even have this equipment.
Depending on the state of the meat, I sometimes add a bit of onion, but usually avoid using secondary ingredients here. After dressing the chicken, the leftover meat like the skin, neck, and wings are minced to make tsukune.
Since the quality of the meat tends to differ according to the season, we make slight changes to the formulation. For example, in winter, the meat has some grease, but in summer it doesn’t, so I adjust by putting in more greasy parts like the skin.
Finally, I add some salt and pepper and mix it in.
If I mix it too much, the grease starts breaking down, so the key is to do it gently.
The minced meat is ready and stored. It’s made into a ball and grilled when there’s an order.
The minced meat shown earlier is left aside for one or two days. It’s then lightly kneaded and grilled.
Just like the seseri, this one is also grilled properly so that the heat passes through.
The tsukune is served with sauce.
This sauce has been used for 18 years and the recipe hasn’t changed. It’s what you would call a secret sauce.
We had the chance to see three types of skewers getting prepared for this filming, but Ayamu-Ya regularly prepares and serves more than twenty types of skewers.
Each part of the meat has its own special characteristics, so the grilling style and flavoring changes accordingly.