Korean Barbecue Sauce can go just about anywhere regular barbecue sauce can go, but is also wonderful with stir fries, lettuce wraps, fried rice; this sauce is an instant flavor boost to almost any food. 

I’ve poured Korean Barbecue Sauce over pulled pork, marinated flank steak in the sauce for lettuce wraps, drizzled the sauce over grilled chicken, sautéed chicken and vegetables with the sauce for a stir-fry.

Ingredients —  

1 cup soy sauce
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Chile - garlic sauce (such as Sriracha(R)) (optional)
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon Asian (toasted) sesame oil
1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water


Stir soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, rice wine vinegar, chile-garlic sauce, ginger, sesame oil, and black pepper together in a saucepan; bring to a boil.
Whisk cornstarch and water together in a small bowl until the cornstarch dissolves; pour into boiling soy sauce mixture. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until the sauce is thick, 3 to 5 minutes.

2nd - HIGHER LEVEL - Bill Kim

I learned the essence of Korean American barbecue when I worked as a cook in Atlanta, and I still crave that sticky, smoky, tender meat. We capture those memories when we cook with this sauce at our restaurants. With sweetness coming from the brown sugar, kiwi, and pear, plus the sharpness from the onion, soy sauce, and garlic, this sauce has everything you need for barbecue with a Korean touch. 

James Beard Award Finalist  —   A casual and practical guide to grilling with Korean-American flavors from chef Bill Kim of Chicago’s award-winning bellyQ restaurants, with 80 recipes tailored for home cooks with suitable substitutions for hard-to-find ingredients.

Born in Korea but raised in the American Midwest, chef Bill Kim brings these two sensibilities together in Korean BBQ, translating Korean flavors for the American consumer in a way that is friendly and accessible. This isn’t a traditional Korean cookbook but a Korean-American one, based on gatherings around the grill on weeknights and weekends. 

Kim teaches the fundamentals of the Korean grill through flavor profiles that can be tweaked according to the griller's preference, then gives an array of knockout recipes. Starting with seven master sauces (and three spice rubs), you’ll soon be able to whip up a whole array of recipes, including Hoisin and Yuzu Edamame, Kimchi Potato Salad, Kori-Can Pork Chops, Seoul to Buffalo Shrimp, BBQ Spiced Chicken Thighs, and Honey Soy Flank Steak. From snacks and drinks to desserts and sides, Korean BBQ has everything you need to for a fun and delicious time around the grill.


1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup water
1 cup soy sauce
1 small white onion, coarsely chopped
1 Asian pear, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 kiwi, peeled and coarsely chopped
8 cloves garlic, peeled
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup toasted sesame oil


Combine the brown sugar, water, and soy sauce in a bowl and whisk until the sugar dissolves. Transfer the mixture to a food processor, add the onion, pear, kiwi, garlic, and ginger, and process for about 2 minutes, until completely smooth. Add the sesame oil and blend until fully combined.

Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 2 months. Or freeze in standard ice cube trays, then transfer the cubes (they’ll be about 2 tablespoons each) to plastic freezer bags and freeze for up to 2 months.

Available on Amazon


The recipe’s I found the author wrote were made from a merging of Maangchi’s kimchi soup (kimchi-guk) and Hooni Kim’s kimchi jjigae  and  

NOTE:   Both recipes call for pork belly or shoulder, ( I have lots of loins) neither of which I had. But I did have chicken legs, so I used that instead, and it was excellent and a bit lighter than other versions I’ve had.  Use whatever meat you’ve got on hand, or skip the meat for a vegetarian soup.

STEP ONE  —  To make it, sear the meat in a little oil in a soup pot. For one to two servings, use about 4 ounces of meat and a drizzle of neutral oil. 

STEP TWO  —  When the meat is golden at the edges, add a minced garlic clove or two and a pinch of salt, and stir it around until the garlic makes your stomach growl. 

STEP THREE  —  Then add 2 cups of water or dashi (I used water) and a cup of chopped kimchi and its liquid. Chicken stock might work  

STEP FOUR  —  You’ll also need some kind of Korean pepper, either a tablespoon of paste — gochujang, which Maangchi calls for — or 1 to 1 ½ teaspoons Gochugaru ***  Red Chile powder flakes as per Hooni Kim, or just use whatever you’ve got on hand.   I used gochugaru flakes, along with a pinch of sugar. Bring it all to a simmer and cook for 40 minutes, so the flavors meld and the meat cooks.

STEP FIVE  —  During the last 10 minutes, add half a block of cubed tofu if you have some. (Soft or silken is best, I used firm and it was still good.)    Taste and season with a little salt or a few drops of fish sauce, if needed.

Serve garnished with a handful of sliced scallions,   Add rice if you want extra heft. It’s spicy, warming and colorful and exactly the right thing to do with any extra kimchi you may have on hand.


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 6 scallions, white and pale-green parts chopped, dark-green parts reserved
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 1-inch piece ginger, peeled, finely chopped
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 small daikon, peeled, sliced
  • ½ cup kimchi
  • ¼ block firm silken tofu


  • Heat oil in a large saucepan over high. Cook white and pale-green parts of scallions, garlic, and ginger, stirring often, until softened and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add broth, then whisk in gochujang and soy sauce. Add daikon and gently simmer until daikon is tender, 15–20 minutes.
  • Add kimchi and tofu. Simmer until tofu is heated through. Carefully divide among bowls. Thinly slice reserved scallion tops and scatter over.



  • 1 pound fresh pork belly, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil   
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cups kimchi, aged if possible, squeezed dry and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons Korean red pepper paste (gochujang)
  • 1 tablespoon Korean red pepper flakes (gochugaru)***
  • 1 cup kimchi juice
  • 8 cups water (for a richer soup, use chicken, pork or beef broth)
  • 8 ounces soft or silken tofu, cut in large cubes
  • 8 scallions or Korean chives, chopped, for garnish


  1. Put pork belly in a bowl. Add garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil and fish sauce. Toss well to coat and let marinate for 10 minutes.
  2. Set a heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium heat. Melt butter, then add pork belly mixture and let it cook gently for 5 minutes. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Turn heat to medium high and add kimchi, gochujang and gochugaru. Let mixture simmer for 2 minutes.
  3. Add kimchi juice and water (or broth, if using) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a brisk simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Taste broth and adjust seasoning.
  4. Just before serving, add tofu and stir gently to combine. When tofu is heated through, ladle into bowls and garnish with scallions.

Dashi  —  

Dashi is a light, pale-gold soup and cooking broth that smells like the sea. It’s an essential ingredient in many classic Japanese dishes -- miso soup, noodle dishes, stews, and more. 

You can find dashi granules and dashi powder for instant dashi broth at well-stocked grocery stores. But it's actually quite simple to make homemade dashi. And the flavor of homemade dashi can be more subtle than store-bought instant dashi.

There are several types of dashi stock. The most popular dashi is made with dried fish flakes (katsuobushi or bonito flakes) and dried kelp (kombu). There are also vegetarian or vegan dashi, including versions that call for dried kelp without the fish flakes and shiitake dashi that uses dried shiitake mushrooms. 

How to Make Dashi Stock  Method #1 —  

1. If you're using a recipe with kombu (dried kelp), wipe away any dirt with a paper towel or damp cloth. Then add it to a saucepan of water and soak for 30 minutes to soften it.

2. Slice a few slits in the softened kelp leaves and return them to the water. Bring the water to a boil.

3. Remove the kombu from the water once it boils to keep the broth from getting bitter.

4. If you're using bonito flakes, add them to the boiling water -- and take the pan off the heat. The bonito flakes will settle to the bottom of the pan as the broth cools a bit.

5. Strain the bonito flakes through a strainer lined with cheesecloth. A coffee filter will also work.

How to Make Dashi, Method #2:   —  
You can also make a cold-brew version of dashi simply by soaking kombu in water for 1-2 hours.

Konbu Dashi  —  "This is a good vegetarian broth and enhances the subtle flavor of Japanese cuisine," says Rachael. "It is also a bit friendlier to the western chef than katsubuoshi, which is made from dried fish flakes and can be very aromatic." It calls for kombu, a variety of dried edible kelp.

Hoshi-Shiitake Dashi  —  "This is one of the many ways to make Dashi soup," says Hinata. "This soup stock is good for recipes like Nikujaga, a Japanese meat and potatoes dish."  Use the mushrooms in other recipes after they make the stock!

Bonito Dashi  —  This simple recipe combines dashi kombu (dried kelp) with bonito shavings (dried fish flakes).

EDITORS NOTES  —  What is dashi powder? Dashi stock powder is the instant version of dashi stock. To make it, you simply combine the granules with hot water. The taste is typically stronger than homemade.

Is there a dashi stock substitute? Yes  If you don’t have dashi stock on hand, try mushroom broth, which can mimic the perception of umami. Other stocks or broths — beef, chicken, vegetarian*** — are also good substitutes.

How should I store homemade dashi?  Keep dashi covered and refrigerated when not in use. It will keep for up to two weeks. When it's gone bad, you may notice a sour smell.