This Korean BBQ sauce is as easy and as authentic as can be. It’s also sticky, sweet, spicy, gingery, garlicky, and exponentially more spectacular than anything store-bought.
If we had to describe this Korean BBQ sauce in a single word, we’d be in trouble. The pantry staple sorta defies simplification. It’s sticky, sweet, spicy, gingery, garlicky, exponentially more spectacular than anything store-bought, and welcome wherever regular barbecue sauce works but also spectacular in all manner of more authentic Asian incarnations, including stir-fries, lettuce wraps, fried rice, grilled meats, and, well, we could go on. But don’t take our word for it. Try it yourself. If you don’t want to bother with canning a big batch of the sauce, simply scale down the recipe and keep it in the fridge.–Renee Schettler Rossi
How To Use Canning Starch
When you look at the ingredients in the recipe below, you’ll see mention of “ClearJel, ThermFlo, or other canning starch.” If you’re not familiar with them, not to worry. Veteran recipe tester and home canner Melissa Maedgen shared with us some helpful insights. As she explains, “Both ClearJel and ThermFlo are modified cornstarches. The reason they are preferred over regular cornstarch is that they will retain their thickening power in the presence of acid ingredients, and acid ingredients are a requirement for hot water bath canning. You cannot substitute regular cornstarch. You can, however, substitute arrowroot starch, which stands up to acid and to prolonged heat, which is the requirement for a canning starch. Another option, if you don’t object to a thin sauce, is to omit the starch altogether.”
Korean BBQ Sauce
- Quick Glance
- 30 M
- 1 H
- Makes about 4 pints (2 liters)
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Recipe Testers Reviews
This Korean BBQ sauce is my new go-to Asian sauce. Spicy with a subtle sweetness, it will be perfect for marinades, stir-fries, and grilling. It is quite spicy, so if you prefer a milder sauce, I would cut back on the pepper flakes. I also found that after adding the 3 tsp Clear Jel mixed with water that the sauce mixture didn't thicken at all and still had the consistency of soy sauce. I added another 3 tsp mixed with 1/4 cup water and the mixture thickened a bit. After cooling, it had the consistency of barbecue sauce.
This Korean BBQ sauce is a winner in so many ways. The recipe makes a large batch that you can put away for future use, but you could always scale it down and keep it in the refrigerator. It's a lovely blend of sweet, salt, heat, and tang, and its uses are myriad. It can be used as a glaze for anything going on the grill, but it can also be incorporated into a stir-fry, which is what I did with it to create some Korean-inspired lettuce wraps. Either way, the results are delicious. Agave nectar can be substituted for honey in this recipe to make it vegan with no impact on flavor or texture. While the recipe calls for canning in pint jars, you might consider using half-pint jars (8 oz) if you don't think you'll be using a lot of sauce at one time.