Making Korean BBQ Sauce and Noodle Salad in our Let's Eat Kitchen

Posted at: 03/21/2014 4:54 PM
Updated at: 03/23/2014 10:26 PM
By: WNYT Staff

Korean Barbecue Sauce


Adapted from Barbecue! Bible Sauces, Rubs and Marinades, Bastes, Butters & Glazes by Steven Raichlen

Makes 2 1/2 cups; enough to serve 6 to 8

Korea's barbecue sauce is not so much a slather as a dip, a delicate blend of sake (rice wine) and soy sauce, with a dollop of honey for sweetness and a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds for crunch. To my knowledge, this is the world's only barbecue sauce that contains pear (although surely someone in Kansas City has tried it). Asian pear is remarkable for its crispness and succulence; it's sweet, but not quite as sweet as an American pear, which makes it perfect for serving with beef. Look for this singular fruit in your supermarket and buy the firmest one you can find. (Asian pears lose their goodness when they go soft.) If unavailable, use a firm bosc or anjou pear.

Combine the sugar, scallion whites, garlic, and pepper in a bowl and mash to a smooth paste with the back of a spoon. Add the soy sauce, sake, and honey and stir until the sugar and honey are dissolved. Stir in the scallion greens, sesame seeds, and pear. Correct the seasoning, adding honey for sweetness or soy sauce for salt. Serve within a few hours of making. Share3Share0Share5

Try This!

Ladle the sauce into small bowls, providing one for each person. The traditional way to eat Korean barbecue is to wrap the grilled beef in a lettuce leaf, then dip it in the sauce with your chopsticks.

Noodle Salad

1 lb soba (buckwheat) noodles (can sub practically any favorite noodle)

Choose from assorted toppings:

Lettuce, thinly sliced

Green and/or red cabbage, thinly sliced

Cucumber, julienned

Carrot, julienned

Asian pear, julienned

Green onions, thinly sliced

Sesame (perilla) leaves, thinly sliced (while traditional for this dish, you can skip)

Radish sprouts

Cabbage and/or radish kimchi

2 hard boiled eggs


4 Tbsp Korean red chili paste (gochu jang)*

4 Tbsp rice vinegar (un-seasoned or seasoned will both work)

2 Tbsp soy sauce

2 Tbsp honey

2 Tbsp brown sugar (light or dark)

2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil

2 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds

* Korean red chile paste is a thick, sweet, and slightly garlicky paste made of fermented red chiles. It is available at some asian food stores and at Korean markets. If it is unavailable in your area feel free to use this substitute with similar results:

1 tablespoon hot paprika (or can use 1 tablespoon Hungarian sweet paprika plus 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper)

5 teaspoons corn syrup (light or dark)

1 teaspoon miso paste (miso is fermented and will help approximate the flavor of the gochu jang, if you don't have it, you can omit)

1 mashed garlic clove

1 tablespoon water

Salt, to taste


1 On the stovetop, fill a medium large pot with water and bring to a boil. While the water is heating, prepare toppings and the sauce. Prepare the lettuce, cabbage, cucumber, carrots, asian pear, sesame leaves and radish sprouts. Set aside. Cut each hard boiled egg in half. Set aside.

2 In a small bowl, combine red pepper paste, rice vinegar, soy sauce, honey, brown sugar, sesame oil and sesame seeds. Stir to combine and set aside.

3 Once the water is boiling, add buckwheat, or other type, of noodle and cook according to package instructions, or about six minutes, until al dente. When noodles are finished cooking, pour into a collander and rinse with cold water and drain. To quickly cool your noodles you may also place a few ice cubes in the collander or place the drained noodles into the freezer for a short time, just don't forget them!

4 To serve, place cooled noodles in a medium sized bowl. Top with dressing and vegetables/fruit of your choice. Place one of the hard-boiled egg halves on top and a few radish sprouts.