I am a big fan of Korean cuisine and one of my favourite dishes is bulgogi (aka Korean BBQ beef). The beef is marinated in a tasty sauce that is sweet and salty and full of flavour! This BBQ sauce is a take on the flavours of the bulgogi marinade in BBQ sauce form! The saltiness comes from soy sauce, the sweetness from the combination of sugar, mirin, honey and grated pear, which also adds an element of fruitiness. Grated onion, garlic and ginger add a ton of flavour to the sauce along with sliced green onion. Rice vinegar adds a sour tanginess and gochujang and adds the spicy heat. Everything is simmered to let the flavours mingle before optionally straining out the solids and if you like a thicker sauce you can add some cornstarch to thicken it as it simmers. The final component is the toasted sesame oil which has such amazing aromatics.
I like to make this sauce ahead of time, store it in the fridge, and use it when ready! I like to use it on things like grilled chicken, burgers, etc., pretty much any place that you would think about using BBQ sauce!
Korean BBQ Sauce
A simple and tasty homemade Korean style BBQ sauce!
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons mirin* (optional)
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/4 cup pear (or apple), grated
- 1/4 cup onion, grated
- 1 tablespoon garlic, grated
- 1 tablespoon ginger, grated
- 1 green onion, sliced
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon gochujang*
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- Bring the soy sauce, brown sugar, honey, mirin, pear, onion, garlic, ginger, green onion, rice vinegar, gochujang, pepper, and cornstarch to simmer and cook until the sugar has dissolved into the sauce and the sauce has thickened a bit, about 5 minutes, before straining the solids out and letting it cool.
Note: Gochujang is a Korean style chili paste that can be found in the Asian/International section of a grocery store or at an Asian grocery store. Korean BBQ sauce is not always spicy and you can omit this if desired. If you cannot find gochujang, you can replace it with something like sriracha or sambal oelek.
Option: The cornstarch is added to thicken the sauce and it can be omitted.