If you love barbecue sauce, then you definitely need to try yakiniku sauce. Yakiniku sauce is a Japanese take on the classic condiment that brings a delicious mix of sweet and savory to any cookout, and is most often used as a marinade for Japanese grilled meat. It’s a must-have condiment for anyone who loves BBQ, so if that sounds like you, keep reading on to learn more!
What is Yakiniku Sauce?
As mentioned, yakiniku sauce is a Japanese barbecue sauce made with soy sauce, mirin, sesame seeds, and sugar to achieve a tasty blend of savory and sweet. Yakiniku sauce literally means “grilled meat sauce” (which is why it’s mainly used with grilled meats), and can be used as a marinade for meats or as a dipping sauce. Yakiniku sauce was created afteryakiniku(barbecue) was brought to Japan in 1872 by writer Kanagaki Robun, though its meaning has since expanded to include Korean barbecue as well.
What is Yakiniku?
It should come as no surprise that yakiniku sauce tastes best when paired with a piece of yakiniku, so if you’re interested in trying the sauce, you need to familiarize yourself with Japanese barbecue first. The kind of meats used in yakiniku cuisine are typically thin, bite-sized slices of beef or offal that have been grilled over a charcoal-burning griddle and served with vegetables. The coal-burning method carbonizes the meat with dry distillation, but if you don’t have access to this particular type of griddle, a gas or electric grill will do just fine.
Because it’s meant to be enjoyed over a grill at the center of the table, yakiniku cuisine cultivates a strong, communal dining experience for all involved. Plus, yakiniku is very similar to hibachi in that every piece of the meal is cooked piece by piece, which means everyone gets to watch in excitement as their meals slowly come together.
Yakiniku sauce is usually added before the meat is cooked, but if you want to add even more flavor to your dish, you can also pair your meat with a Japanesetaresauce.
Japanese Tare Sauces
Tare is a kind of Japanese condiment made with soy sauce, brown sugar, and sake that can be used as a glaze or a dipping sauce. Tare typically refers to condiments that are used in grilling, like yakiniku sauce and teriyaki, but can also be used for sushi, nabe, and gyoza. Besides yakiniku sauce, other kinds of tare sauces include ponzu, goma, and miso tare.
How to Make Yakiniku Sauce
There aren’t many ingredients needed to make yakiniku sauce, which means making the condiment at home is a breeze. If you’re interested in making your own sauce from scratch, here’s what you’ll need to do:
- Combine ¼ cup of soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of mirin, 2 ½ tablespoons of granulated sugar, 1 clove of peeled and chopped garlic, and 2 teaspoons of sesame oil in a saucepan.
- Heat ingredients over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar has dissolved.
- Turn off the heat, and let the sauce cool for 5-10 minutes.
- Pour the mixture into a strainer and collect the sauce in a bowl. Discard any excess ingredients in the strainer.
- Gently stir 1 ½ teaspoons of ground roasted white sesame seeds and ½ teaspoon of whole roasted white sesame seeds into the sauce.
Once you’ve done that, your yakiniku sauce is ready to be used as a marinade or as a dipping sauce.
How to Use Yakiniku Sauce
Because it’s a staple in Japanese barbecue, yakiniku sauce tastes best on barbecued proteins like beef, chicken, pork, and shrimp. No matter how you prefer to enjoy your cooked meats – in a bowl, on a skewer, or with a set of chopsticks – yakiniku sauce can be added before grilling as a marinade, after grilling as a glaze, or while you feast as a dipping sauce.
Tips For Yakiniku Sauce
If you plan on making a batch of yakiniku sauce for yourself, you should know that the Japanese barbecue sauce should be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for 5-7 days. Or, if you’d rather purchase a bottle at the store, you can find yakiniku sauce at your local Asian grocery store, as well as major retailers like Amazon and Walmart.