Elevate Your Grilling Game with Delicious Korean BBQ Sauce

Are you looking to add a burst of flavor to your grilling recipes? Look no further than this homemade Korean BBQ sauce! Unlike traditional American BBQ sauces, which are tomato-based, this Korean BBQ sauce is soy sauce-based, giving it a unique and complex flavor profile. It’s the perfect combination of salty, sweet, tangy, and slightly spicy, thanks to the addition of gochujang paste.

Korean bbq sauce in jar with spoon on wooden board

Unleash the Power of Korean BBQ Sauce

What sets Korean BBQ sauce apart from the rest? It’s the combination of popular Asian ingredients like garlic, ginger, rice vinegar, and gochujang paste that gives it its distinct taste. The result is a sauce that is tangy, sweet, savory, and packed with umami-rich boldness. Unlike store-bought versions, this homemade sauce is made entirely of wholesome ingredients, with no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. It’s also naturally vegan and can be adapted to be gluten-free, soy-free, and refined sugar-free.

Top shot of Korean barbecue sauce in jar with spoon on wooden board

The Ingredients

To make this delicious Korean BBQ sauce, you’ll need a few key ingredients:

  • Gochujang: A fermented Korean red chili paste that adds a spicy and tangy kick to the sauce.
  • Maple syrup: Provides a touch of sweetness to balance the heat and tanginess.
  • Rice vinegar: Adds brightness and tang to the sauce.
  • Soy sauce: Gives the sauce its savory flavor. Choose a gluten-free option if needed.
  • Red pepper flakes: Enhance the spice level of the sauce.
  • Aromatics: Fresh garlic and ginger add a flavorful punch.
  • Sesame oil: Adds a toasty and nutty depth to the sauce.
  • Vegetable broth: Forms the base of the sauce, adding richness and depth.
  • Cornstarch: Helps thicken the sauce.
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Recipe Variations and Add-Ins

If you want to get creative with your Korean BBQ sauce, here are some variations and add-ins you can try:

  • Black pepper: For extra heat complexity.
  • Onion: Finely minced and sautéed with the garlic.
  • Green onion: Finely minced for a touch of color and freshness.
  • Puréed Asian pear: Adds natural sweetness and thickness, perfect for bulgogi sauce.

For the complete list of ingredients, measurements, and the full recipe method, check out the recipe card below.

Ingredients for Korean BBQ Sauce

How to Make Korean BBQ Sauce

Making your own Korean BBQ sauce is quick and easy! Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Peel and mince fresh garlic and ginger.
  2. Heat sesame oil in a small-medium saucepan.
  3. Sauté the garlic and ginger until fragrant.
  4. Stir in the vegetable broth, cornstarch, and red pepper flakes until the starch dissolves.
  5. Add the remaining ingredients (soy sauce, maple syrup, gochujang paste, and rice vinegar) and stir well.
  6. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until thickened.
  7. Remove from heat and use immediately or transfer to a clean jar for later use.

Fresh garlic and ginger in saucepan with sesame oil

How to Enjoy Korean BBQ Sauce

Korean BBQ sauce is incredibly versatile and can be used in various ways. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Glaze or dip for vegan Korean fried chicken or cauliflower wings.
  • Marinade for tofu, tempeh, or seitan.
  • Base for a spicy Korean stir-fry, noodle bowl, or rice bowl.
  • Basting sauce for roasted and grilled vegetables.
  • Spread for sandwiches, burgers, and wraps.
  • Dip for spring rolls, dumplings, or French fries.
  • Base for a Korean-style pizza.
  • Topping for tacos or a dip for Korean pancakes (Pajeon).
  • Salad dressing for Asian-inspired salads.
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Drizzling Korean BBQ sauce over veggie noodle stir-fry

Storage Instructions

If you have any leftover Korean BBQ sauce, you can store it for future use. Simply pour it into a clean jar and allow it to cool before securing the lid. Keep it in the refrigerator for 7-10 days. It can also be frozen in a freezer-safe container or small Ziplock bags for up to 2 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight or on the counter before using or reheating.

Horizontal shot of Korean sauce in saucepan with wooden spoon

FAQs

Is Korean BBQ sauce gluten-free?
If you need the BBQ gochujang sauce to be gluten-free, you can use tamari or coconut aminos instead of soy sauce. Make sure to double-check the gochujang paste ingredients, as some brands may contain wheat.

What is Gochujang?
Gochujang is a Korean fermented chili pepper paste made with Korean red chili peppers, glutinous rice flour, salt, and other ingredients. It has a thick, bold consistency and offers a spicy, sweet, and tangy flavor.

Is gochujang paste spicy?
Despite its vibrant red color, gochujang is not overly spicy. It contains a balance of spiciness, tanginess, saltiness, and sweetness. You can also find gochujang paste in different heat levels, so you can choose one that suits your taste.

Asian BBQ sauce in jar with spoon on wooden board

Recipe Notes and Tips

Here are some additional tips and tricks to elevate your Korean BBQ sauce experience:

  • Use fresh, high-quality ingredients for the best results.
  • Adjust the heat level by adding more or less gochujang paste and red pepper flakes.
  • For a smoother sauce, blend it until smooth using an immersion blender.
  • Taste the sauce and adjust any ingredient to suit your personal preference.
  • If you’re concerned about the sauce being too salty, opt for reduced-sodium soy sauce and vegetable broth, or simply use water.
  • Allow the sauce to rest for a day, as the flavors will meld and become even more delicious.
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More Easy Vegan Sauce Recipes

If you’re a sauce enthusiast, here are some other easy vegan sauce recipes you might enjoy:

  • Vegan Hollandaise Sauce
  • Vegan Tzatziki Sauce
  • Tahini Dressing
  • The Best Peanut Sauce
  • Easy Vegan Cheese Sauce
  • Healthy Hidden Veggie Pasta Sauce
  • Creamy Mushroom Sauce
  • Sage Cream Sauce
  • Green Spinach Pasta Sauce
  • Vegan Alfredo Sauce

Give this easy Korean BBQ sauce recipe a try, and let me know what you think! Don’t forget to tag me on Instagram or Facebook with your creations. Happy grilling!

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