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I want to cook chicken skins on the grill – but only the skin, no meat. My kids like the seasoning and crunch of the skin and always leave a skinless drumstick behind, so I want to just cook the skins so I don't have to eat a bunch of chicken meat by itself. Is this even possible, and if it is, does anyone have a good recipe or idea?

3 Answers 3

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Edit for details - thanks moscafj

Yakitori - Japanese grilled chicken skewers - may be a good option for you if you want to stick with grilling. It's generally seasoned with just salt and white pepper, or a sweet soy sauce/teriyaki style glaze.

Yakitori comes in many varieties based on the parts of chicken used, and chicken skin-only skewers are known as 'kawa yakitori'. You can separate the skin from muscle on thighs, breasts, etc., skewer and season them separately, and grill them together for a variety of skewers in the same meal. Serious Eats has a recipe for chicken thigh and green onion yakitori, as well as a more detailed article on yakitori culture.

The texture will vary with how you prepare the skin for skewering. Tightly rolling the skin into cylinders would keep the centre from rendering too much and remain soft as the outside crisps, while a looser roll or sheet will crisp up more.

Tight skin rolls

Thinner and crispier

Crispy pleat

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  • These look a lot like german "Grillfackeln" which is thin pork belly on a stick
    – SirHawrk
    Aug 3 at 12:42
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My personal experience is to avoid the grill. The fat runs down and the flares may consume it very quickly if you are not babysitting it. I recommend that you use an air fryer. It will look golden brown and with a nice crisp taste. You will need to turn it over at least once.

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  • +1 Though maybe not so "absolutism". My Trager wood grill wouldn't likely suffer from many flareups due to it's drip tray design; I'd trust it to not overkill. Similarly, the recommendation about flipping in the air fryer only applies to those with baskets. My PowerXL air fryer has racks that you place things on, and a tray on the bottom with these fins that help direct air flow back up. Most things I put in there cook fairly evenly as a result.
    – phyrfox
    Jul 24 at 13:05
  • Reasonable, and even better if you have an air fryer....but the OP specifically asked for advice about cooking on the grill.
    – moscafj
    Aug 27 at 18:22
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I would avoid the grill as you may get some severe flare-ups as the fat renders out of the skin. Unless you are using a broiler like grill, it will be difficult to control the temperature as well.

A better solution would be to get a heavy bottomed pan e.g. cast iron, and heat until blistering hot. Add the chicken skins, and use a chefs press or a large spatula to press the skin evenly against the heat, turning as required. The chicken fat will render out and can be poured away for reuse or disposal, depending on the heat applied you may need to remove this part way through and clean the pan if it starts smoking.

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