Chiles and strawberries come together for this sweet, savory Korean BBQ Sauce. Baste this on chicken, pork, seafood, or anything that needs a big kick of sweet heat.
I’ve become a massive fan of Korean flavors mixed in with American-style barbecue. This Korean BBQ sauce is built using foundational ingredients for a typical sauce, but fortified with thick gochujang paste and sweetened with strawberry preserves. Try pairing this with Korean BBQ seasoning!
Why This Recipe Works
- Sweet heat that’s balanced. Gochujang is a complex, fermented ingredient with many layers of flavor. Pairing it with the right types of sugars such as honey, ketchup, and strawberry preserves creates a balanced, thick sauce that doesn’t overpower your tastebuds with either sweetness or spice.
- Umami packed. Soy, ginger, and gochujang bring on the savory flavors, which adds a nice undertone to this sauce. You won’t need to heavily salt the foods you’re cooking, as this Korean BBQ sauce will add a tasty layer of savory umami with every bite.
Key Ingredients You’ll Need
Most of these ingredients are pretty common, the one oddity will potentially be gochujang. This is a thick, fermented paste of chiles and other ingredients to create a very complex flavor. Here are a few key ingredients that are essential and cannot be replaced:
- Grated ginger and garlic – Fresh ingredients are required. I’ve tested this with different dry spices and the flavor just doesn’t match.
- Strawberry preserves – This is the foundation for the sweet flavors, and the strawberry is a classic pairing with gochujang. You can use jam as a substitute, just be aware that the texture might be a little different.
- Gochujang – Make sure you have plenty, as you’ll need 1/2 Cup for this recipe. I highly recommend buying one of the tubs at your local Asian markets, or you can find them online here as well. There is no substitute for gochujang in this recipe.
- Rice wine vinegar – Sometimes this comes as a “seasoned” version, and I recommend using regular rice wine vinegar instead. The tang and sweetness from this ingredient taste much better than white vinegar, or red wine vinegar in this recipe.
STEP 1: Add everything to a saucepan and bring it to a boil.
This will only take a few minutes. Make sure you whisk everything together so the sugars dissolve evenly.
STEP 2: Drop the heat down to a simmer.
Allow it to cook for at least 20-25 minutes, depending on how thick you’d like to have it. Make sure you keep whisking periodically to keep the sugar from pooling at the bottom. The sauce should coat the back of a spoon and will continue to thicken as it cools. I typically simmer for about 20 minutes.
More Delicious Sauces You’ll Love
Homemade BBQ sauce is the best! Here’s a list of our BEST homemade barbecue sauces, or choose from a few recommended below:
- Spicy Buffalo BBQ Sauce
- Mexican Buffalo Sauce
- Sweet Honey Bourbon BBQ Sauce
- Maple Chipotle BBQ Sauce
- Hatch Chile Chimichurri Sauce
- 1 clove grated garlic
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1/3 cup strawberry preserves
- 1/2 cup gochujang
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
- Combine ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Whisk to make sure the sugars dissolve and don’t settle on the bottom.
- Reduce to a low simmer for about 20-25 minutes until thickened. Continue to periodically whisk. The sauce should coat the back of a spoon and will continue to thicken as it cools.
- Store the sauce in an airtight jar once cooled. This sauce will stay freshest for about 10-14 days.
- There is no substitute for the gochujang, so make sure you have that on hand before you make this sauce.
- You can also use strawberry jam if you prefer. I’ve tested with with a few other flavors as well, so feel free to mix it up!
- Prep Time: 5
- Cook Time: 25
- Category: Sauces & Salsas
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: BBQ Sauce
Keywords: bbq sauce, gochujang, strawberry preserves, korean bbq sauce, korean sauce, spicy bbq sauce, sweet heat bbq sauce