Tag Archives: Yuzu

Reasons to give Thanks: Yuzu-rubbed smoked turkey

As the Holiday Season kicks off so does Citrus Season. Fortunately, we can enjoy both the wonderful American tradition of stuffing our faces AND newly minted traditions of adding Yuzu to seemingly everything we can in order to see how many different ways we can dine cross-culturally. Thanksgiving brought us the Yuzu Rubbed Smoked Turkey.

I’ve had many people ask me “How do you use Yuzu?” and I keep responding, a bit shocked, “How CAN’T you use Yuzu?”
I have had suggestions from the basic:
–  Yuzu in soda water
To the more adult:
–  Yuzu Gin and Tonic
To the self-care:
–  Yuzu in bath water

24hr Yuzu marinaded turkey

Yuzu rubbed turkey after 24 hours of “marinating”

I personally use it in all forms of cooking and marinating. This time, it was my turkey for Thanksgiving that got the Yuzu treatment. I have standard dry rubs that include salt, rosemary, thyme, chili powder and a few other goodies. To this, I add pulverized, dried Yuzu peel and let it marinate overnight.

It’s no secret that I love my smoker and this was the first time I was able to use it on a turkey. It took just over 3 hours to smoke the 12lb bird and as you can see it came out looking amazing. One thing I continue to learn about Yuzu is its ability to continue to give off its amazing flavor and aroma long after the initial cooking process.

Enough words, on with the pictures of the final product!

Smoked Yuzu Turkey

Smoked heritage turkey with Yuzu dry rub

Smoked Yuzu Rubbed Turkey

Yuzu rubbed smoked turkey from the back – snip along the spine with cooking shears for quicker, more even exposure to heat and smoke.

Yuzu crusted beef brisket

A few days ago, I was craving beef brisket, so I visited a local restaurant with a variety of “southern” dishes on the menu. I was looking forward to something BBQ-ish, and I was hoping this would hit the spot. Instead, it motivated me to visit the butcher for a 5lb brisket and set to work on making a superior product.

I am often underwhelmed by restaurants. There are very few that have a great blend of creativity, simplicity and value, so my feelings aren’t new when I had this dish. What disappointed me was the complete lack of flavor. The texture was excellent, but I suspect they purchased the meat, cooked, from their food service provider and tried to ‘marinate’ it in their own spices before serving. What the chef (or cook) didn’t take into account is that meat cannot be coerced into a new flavor profile after it has been cooked. You have 1 shot to do it right, and they blew it for me.

Because we import Yuzu products we tend to get a lot of Yuzu related ingredients to test before selling. For this recipe I used dried Yuzu peel I have kept in my freezer.

Recipe: Yuzu-Crusted Beef Brisket

5lbs beef brisket
1 T dried Yuzu peel (pulverized)
2 T salt
1 t pepper
1 t cumin
1 t garlic powder

This brisket will be cooked in a 2 stage process; first the smoker, then the slow cooker. I use charcoal and black cherry wood in the smoker because I find it adds great flavor without overpowering the meat.

I combined the dry ingredients into a rub to coat the brisket and let it rest overnight (6 hours, minimum). The pieces of Yuzu will begin to rehydrate and stick to the brisket.

Yuzu beef brisket

Beef brisket & Yuzu peel dry rub, awaiting the smoker

After 1 hour in the smoker, the meat immediately goes into the slow cooker for 18 hours on low/simmer to cook in its own juices.

Smoked Yuzu peel beef brisket

Out of the smoker, into the slow cooker

It’s easiest to separate the meat from the remaining fat while the brisket is still fairly hot. Burned finger tips are likely, so be cautious, but the effort is well worth it.

I wasn’t at all disappointed by this encounter with beef brisket.

Shredded Yuzu Brisket

Shredded beef brisket. Totally worth burned finger tips.

Citrus Cranberry Sauce Recipe

Cranberry evokes memories of Thanksgiving and holiday meals, but this little berry offers a burst of fresh fruit flavor well into the winter when we in Washington tend to forget there are types of produce other than apples, potatoes and citrus (courtesy of the Southern US).

I’ll admit that cranberry was always Juice or Sauce (cylindrical, with the rings from the can), but when I discovered how quick and simple it was to make my own with this cranberry sauce recipe, I never looked back.

Yuzu citron

Yuzu citron

My newest twist on the ever-evolving Cranberry Clementine Sauce resulted from a recent visit to Kochi, Japan, and our introduction to Yuzu Citrus. Yuzu is a citrus variety that’s both a mix of other citrus, yet like nothing else you’ve tasted, mixing the brightness of Meyer Lemon, the richness of blood orange and the mild tartness of grapefruit.

The complexity of Yuzu turns this simple dish into a real treat – the aroma is almost spicy and the citrus brightens without taking over. Clementines and pecans add additional texture, but are optional if you prefer a smoother sauce to a chunkier relish.

Yuzu Cranberry Sauce

Yuzu Cranberry Sauce

Citrus Cranberry Sauce

12 oz. fresh cranberries, rinsed
¾ C water
1 T Yuzu juice (100% juice)
1 T dried Yuzu peel, soaked in water, finely chopped
1 t dried Japanese ginger, soaked in water, finely chopped
1 C honey
Pinch Salt
3-4 clementines, peeled & cut into 3-4 pieces per segment
¾ C pecan halves, roughly chopped

In 3-quart saucepan with lid, bring cranberries, water, Yuzu peel, and ginger to a low boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Sweetener – instead of 1 C honey, substitute 1 C sugar or 1/2 C sugar & 1/2 C honey
Yuzu – Satsuma or clementine juice, zest

Yoohoo, Yuzu Citrus! Tasting sunshine in winter

Yuzu Citrus, also known by the more Westernized name of Yuzu Citron, is as synonymous with Japan’s Kochi Prefecture as oranges are with Florida or California, but this unique citrus is largely unknown in the US market. Heard of Ponzu? This citrus-soy sauce is one of the common ways that Yuzu is incorporated into Japanese cuisine.

Describing Yuzu has proved challenging because “like a lemony orange, but not exactly” doesn’t quite capture the complexity of the aroma and flavor. The best descriptions I’ve seen say that it’s a blend of all the best parts of Meyer lemon, blood orange and grapefruit.

We believe that Yuzu can have as great an impact on the US market as blood oranges or mangos. It, along with Buntan (another specialty citrus closer to a grapefruit, but not exactly), are able to add a depth of flavor that can create an awe-inspiring meal that will leave your guests wondering what the secret ingredient is.


  • Ponzu, salad dressings
  • Honey tea (nearly marmalade)
  • Beverages (10% juice, 50% juice) – better than lemonade!
  • Pure juice (100% juice) – add to seltzer or uzeki, with bonito
  • Desserts (Yuzu cakes or tarts)

One of my favorite ways to use it is as a substitute for lemon juice to brighten up braised kale, or in homemade cranberry sauce. I’m still experimenting with cocktails 😉

Flank steak over braised kale

Flank steak over braised kale

Cranberry sauce with Yuzu

Cranberry sauce with Yuzu