It’s summer and that means time to BBQ! In Japan, Japanese style BBQ is called Yakiniku (焼肉) and literary means grilled meat in Japanese. It’s a popular dish originated from Korea. Each Yakiniku restaurant in Japan offers their own dipping sauce and it’s called Yakiniku no Tare (焼肉のタレ), or simply tare (タレ). Tare is the key seasoning for Japanese BBQ as we do not typically marinade the meat prior to grilling.
For Yakiniku, bite-sized meat (usually beef and offal) and vegetables are grilled over gas/electric grill or charcoals. Whether you are enjoying Yakiniku meal at home or in a restaurant, everyone sits around the BBQ grill and cooks the meat throughout the meal. It’s a great menu for 6-8 people as preparation is very minimal.
Generally the meat is not marinated for yakiniku; therefore, the quality of meat is very important. The well-marbled short rib is usually thinly sliced and grill over charcoal for 30 to 60 seconds on each side (you only need to flip the meat once to preserve juicy flavor) and then dip in the sauce to eat.
Typical “tare” is made of soy sauce mixed with sake, mirin, sugar, garlic, fruit juice and sesame seeds. This particular sauce was inspired by my favorite Yakiniku restaurant in the Bay Area called Juban, which I’ve been going for many years. My sauce may not exactly be the same but I adapted from Juban sauce to my family’s liking. Dip the grilled items in the sauce to enhance the BBQ flavor. The well-marbled meat coated with this sauce is so delicious. Hope you enjoy!
We also enjoyed dipping the grilled meat and veggies in Thai Sriracha Sea Salt from Season with Spice shop. If you like Sriracha, this is a must have seasoning in your kitchen! We love to spice up food with this sea salt. It goes very well with Japanese BBQ too!
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UPDATE: A lot of readers asked me about the grill. This grill is called “Shichirin.” I bought one from a Japanese hardware store in SF but you can also purchase on Amazon. It looks great on photography, but to be honest, it’s not practical for yakiniku. In the US, small BBQ cooking stoves resembling shichirin are referred to as “hibachi.” Hibachi is actually a small heating device in Japan which is not usually used for cooking. Shichirin was marketed as “hibachi” by mistake when they were introduced to the US.
- Add sake, mirin, sugar, rice vinegar, soy sauce, miso, katsuobushi, and simmer for 1 ½ minutes.
- Strain the sauce.
- Add the sesame seeds and grated apple. Let the sauce sit for half day or overnight in the refrigerator to let the flavor mix well together.
Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.