Coconut Sugar Is The Secret Ingredient For Korean BBQ Sauce

Seasoned grill masters know that choosing the perfect sauce for your favorite BBQ and grilling recipes is an important decision not to be taken lightly. If Asian cuisines frequent your dinner menu at home, perhaps you wish you had a more umami-tasting version of BBQ sauce to infuse into your savory dishes. Thankfully, we have just the condiment you're searching for, and it takes less than 20 minutes to whip up at home. The special ingredient that gives it an added layer of complexity is one you might not have used before – coconut sugar.

Mashed recipe developer Miriam Hahn has created the perfect Korean BBQ sauce, which she says goes well with tofu, wings, slathered onto pizza, "with lettuce wraps, or as a dip for spring rolls or eggrolls." She goes on to explain that the main difference between American and Korean BBQ sauce is that the Korean version is sweet instead of smoky. That's where the coconut sugar comes in to work its magic, along with the rich molasses undertones of brown sugar.

Most of the sauce's ingredients are probably already tucked away somewhere in your kitchen, like black pepper, garlic, red pepper flakes, ginger powder, soy sauce, and sriracha. Various Asian culinary staples like rice vinegar and sesame oil are also needed to get this Korean BBQ sauce tasting just right.

Coconut sugar lends a caramelized taste to the sauce

Contrary to what you might assume, coconut sugar doesn't taste like coconuts. Sometimes labeled as coconut palm sugar, its flavor can be compared to that of brown sugar, except it tastes nuttier and packs an earthy kick of sweet caramel. Miriam Hahn says that when she adds it to her Korean BBQ sauce, it "takes it a notch up" and adds yet another interesting layer for your taste buds to enjoy. Coconut sugar has become a trendy additive in Western cuisines in recent years, so you should be able to find it in most grocery store baking aisles.

Hahn simmers all of the ingredients for her sauce for just five minutes before preparing a cornstarch slurry to dump into the sauce. After eight minutes, the condiment thickens up nicely and can be used as a tasty marinade for a Korean barbecue feast or for dunking fried snacks. In your favorite BBQ recipes, try swapping out your normal grocery store BBQ sauce for this homemade Korean version to see what caramel-laced possibilities you can concoct.