Three Heavenly Korean BBQ Sauces

Are you a fan of Korean BBQ? Have you ever wondered how to recreate that incredible dipping sauce served with your favorite Korean BBQ meats at restaurants? Well, wonder no more! Today, I am thrilled to share with you my recipe for the ultimate Korean BBQ dipping sauces.

But wait, there’s more! I won’t be sharing just one sauce, but the three most popular and common ones that will elevate your Korean BBQ experience to new heights. These sauces are not just any ordinary dips; they are carefully crafted to complement specific types of BBQ meat, just like cheese and wine pairings. So, get ready for a tantalizing culinary adventure!

The Marvelous Maple Ssamjang

In Korean, Ssamjang (쌈장) literally translates to dipping sauce (Jang, 장) for your wrap (Ssam, 쌈). Traditionally, it is used to accompany grilled Korean BBQ meat wrapped in lettuce, perilla, or steamed cabbage. However, you can also enjoy it with cucumber or carrot sticks. While Ssamjang can be spicy or non-spicy, we’ll focus on the spicy version.

My version of Ssamjang is far from ordinary. I took the liberty to add a touch of maple syrup for extra moisture and sweetness, which also reduces the spiciness. As if that wasn’t enough, I included pistachio nuts for an additional texture and savory flavor. The result is simply astonishing and wholesome!

To make this delectable sauce, you will need Korean soybean paste (DoenJang, 된장), Korean chili paste (Gochujang, 고추장), minced garlic, minced onion, chopped green onion, sesame oil, roasted sesame seeds, maple syrup, and coarsely chopped pistachio nuts. Combine these ingredients in a bowl, mix well, and portion the mixture into individual dipping plates as needed.

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The Sensational Sesame Oil, Salt, and Pepper Sauce

This sauce is a match made in culinary heaven for grilled mushrooms, as well as non-marinated grilled pork belly (Samgyeopsal, 삼겹살) or beef. You might be wondering why you would dip pork belly, already rich with its own fat, into oil again. While it may not be the obvious choice for everyone, this combination has won over the taste buds of my husband.

The sesame oil, salt, and pepper sauce offer a milder and more subtle flavor compared to the earlier mentioned ssamjang sauce, allowing you to fully savor the main ingredients – the meat or mushrooms. Surprisingly, it doesn’t come across as overly oily but rather remarkably savory.

To make this sauce, simply add sesame oil, a pinch of fine sea salt, and a pinch of ground black pepper directly to a serving plate. If you’re serving a larger group, prepare individual dipping plates for each person instead.

The Exquisite Wasabi and Soy Sauce

This sauce is a delightful accompaniment to char-grilled marinated pork or beef (Sutbul Galbi, 숯불갈비). If you’re like me and have a preference for char-grilled BBQ, you’ll absolutely love this sauce. Personally, I enjoy dipping the char-grilled meat into this sauce and savoring it on its own, or occasionally adding the Ssamjang sauce from earlier for a double-dipped explosion of flavors.

To make this exquisite sauce, combine soy sauce, water, white sugar, and white vinegar in a bowl, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Portion the sauce onto individual dipping plates as needed, and add a thin slice of onion to the sauce. Place a dab of wasabi paste on the side of the plate for an extra kick.

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Bringing It All Together

The beauty of these Korean BBQ dipping sauces lies in their ability to enhance the flavors of each specific type of meat, elevating your dining experience to a whole new level. Whether you’re a fan of spicy, savory, or subtly seasoned sauces, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Now, you might be thinking about where to find these ingredients or looking for substitutions. If you can’t find Korean soybean paste (DoenJang, 된장), you can use Japanese miso as a substitute. While they are slightly different, Japanese miso has a milder flavor and is less pungent than Korean soybean paste. Remember, results may vary depending on the type of soybean paste and chili paste you use, so stick to the standard versions.

Next time you crave a mouth-watering Korean BBQ feast, don’t forget to whip up these incredible dipping sauces. They will transport you straight to the vibrant streets of Korea, where every bite is a tantalizing adventure.

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Three Ultimate Korean BBQ Dipping Sauces

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