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Three Ultimate Korean BBQ Dipping Sauces

Learn how to make Korean BBQ Dipping Sauce in three different ways. It’s so easy!

Three Ultimate Korean BBQ Dipping Sauces | MyKoreanKitchen.com

Do you like Korean BBQ? And have you been forever wondering how to make that awesome Korean BBQ dipping sauce that always accompanies your favourite Korean BBQ meat at a Korean restaurant? Then you’ll be excited to be here today, because I’m going to share my Korean BBQ dipping sauce.

Actually maybe I should say “sauces” instead as I’m going to share the three most popular and common Korean BBQ dipping sauces, not just one!

While some Korean BBQ restaurants might serve these three BBQ dipping sauces all together at the same time, I think certain sauce pairs better with certain types of BBQ meat, just like cheese with wine pairing. So I’ll do that pairing job for you below as well. I hope you have an awesome Korean BBQ next time at home!

The ultimate Korean BBQ Dipping sauce #1. 

Korean chili and soybean paste sauce with maple syrup and pistachio nuts (메이플 시럽 & 피스타치오 쌈장)

The ultimate Korean BBQ Dipping sauce #1. Korean chili and soybean paste sauce with maple syrup and pistachio nuts | MyKoreanKitchen.com

In Korean language, Ssamjang (쌈장) literally means dipping sauce (Jang, 장) for your wrap (Ssam, 쌈), which typically involves grilled Korean BBQ meat in a lettuce, perilla or steamed cabbage etc. You can also dip cucumber or carrot sticks. While this dipping sauce could be spicy or non-spicy, when Koreans say Ssamjang that means spicy dipping sauce.

Typical ingredients for Korean Ssamjang include, Korean soybean paste (DoenJang, 된장), Korean chili paste (Gochujang, 고추장), minced garlic, minced onion, chopped green onion and sesame oil.

But as you can read from my heading above, my recipe is, well, no ordinary Korean Ssamjang. I decided to add some maple syrup to give it more moisture and also sweetness (and reduce some spiciness) and also pistachio nuts to give some extra texture and savoury flavour. It’s just awesome and wholesome!

I’ve always used store purchased ssamjang in the past for convenience reasons, but now I often make it at home. Not only can you control the ingredients and adjust the level of spiciness and sweetness, it’s also fresher and it doesn’t take much time to make at home. So give this a try! 

Update – I wrote about ssamjang in more detail in my latest ssamjang article, so check it out if you want to learn more. It includes my tips on using non-Korean ingredients such as Japanese miso paste and sriracha sauce. [Ssamjang recipe]

Ingredients for 2 to 3 servings

*1 Tbsp = 15ml

**If you want to learn more about Korean ingredients, check my 30 essential Korean cooking ingredients list!

Instructions

Mix the above ingredients in a bowl together. Distribute out to individual dip serving plates as needed.

The ultimate Korean BBQ Dipping sauce #2.

Sesame oil, salt and pepper sauce (소금 & 후추 기름장)

The ultimate Korean BBQ Dipping sauce #2. Sesame oil, salt and pepper sauce | MyKoreanKitchen.com

This sauce goes well with grilled mushrooms and grilled non-marinated pork belly (Samgyeopsal, 삼결살) or beef. Some ask if grilled pork belly already has enough fat on its own, why do you dip the pork in oil again?

Obviously it’s not everyone’s favourite option but my husband loves this combination. This sauce has a more mild and subtle flavour than the Ssamjang sauce from above so you can actually taste the main ingredients (meat or mushroom) better. And actually I don’t think it tastes extra oily, but rather it’s more savoury.

Ingredients for 1 serving

  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • Pinch (Slightly less than 1/8 tsp) of fine sea salt
  • Pinch (Slightly less than 1/8 tsp) of ground black pepper

*1 Tbsp = 15ml

Instructions

Add the above ingredients in a serving plate directly. If you need to serve for more people, make them individually in a separate dip serving plate. (This is how my mum used to do it at her restaurant. You don’t mix a big batch in a bowl.)

The ultimate Korean BBQ Dipping sauce #3.

Wasabi and soy sauce (간장 와사비 소스)

The ultimate Korean BBQ Dipping sauce #3. Wasabi and soy sauce | MyKoreanKitchen.com

This sauce goes very well with char-grilled marinated pork or beef (Sutbul Galbi, 숯불갈비). I really like it. Probably because I prefer char-grilled BBQ over other meat and I always have used this sauce as a pair.

I usually dip the char-grilled meat into this sauce and eat it on its own rather than putting it in a lettuce wrap. If I do make a lettuce wrap, however,  I also add the Ssamjang sauce (from #1) in it. So it’s double dipped.

Ingredients for 2 to 3 servings

  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 2 tsp white sugar
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • A thin slice of onion – to be added in a serving plate
  • A dab of wasabi paste (from a tube) – to be pasted on the side of a serving plate

*1 Tbsp = 15ml

Instructions

  1. Mix the first four ingredients from above in a bowl. Stir until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Distribute the sauce using a spoon (1 Tbsp measuring spoon works well) to an individual dip serving plate as needed.
  3. Add the sliced onion in the sauce and wasabi paste on the side of the plate.

Three Ultimate Korean BBQ Dipping Sauces | MyKoreanKitchen.comNote

  • If you can’t find Korean soybean paste (DoenJang, 된장), you can use Japanese miso instead. They are different but very similar. I would say, Japanese miso has a more mild flavour and is less pungent.
  • Typically a Korean restaurant would serve sauce #1 (Ssamjang) in a small bowl to share and sauce #2 (Sesame oil, salt and pepper sauce) and #3 (Wasabi and soy sauce) individually to people. These sauces are usually refilled for free as needed.
  • Your outcome might be slightly different to mine depending on what type of soybean paste and chilli paste you use. Make sure they are standard versions, not extra spicy or made for soup or anything like that as mine is based on the standard version.

Three Ultimate Korean BBQ Dipping Sauces | MyKoreanKitchen.com


Three Ultimate Korean BBQ Dipping Sauces | MyKoreanKitchen.com

Three Ultimate Korean BBQ Dipping Sauces

How to make Korean BBQ Dipping Sauce in three different ways
5 from 9 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side dishes
Cuisine: Korean
Prep Time: 6 minutes
Total Time: 6 minutes
Servings: 2 to 3
Calories: 87kcal
Author: Sue | My Korean Kitchen

Ingredients

Korean chili and soybean paste sauce with maple syrup and pistachio nuts

Sesame oil, salt and pepper sauce

  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • A pinch fine sea salt
  • A pinch ground black pepper

Wasabi and soy sauce

  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 2 tsp white sugar
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • A thin slice of onion to be added in a serving plate
  • A dab of wasabi paste (from a tube) – to be pasted on the side of a serving plate

Instructions

Korean chili and soybean paste sauce with maple syrup and pistachio nuts

  • Mix the above ingredients in a bowl together. Distribute out to individual dip serving plates as needed.

Sesame oil, salt and pepper sauce

  • Add the above ingredients in a serving plate directly. If you need to serve for more people, make them individually in a separate dip serving plate. (This is how my mum used to do it at her restaurant. You don’t mix a big batch in a bowl.)

Wasabi and soy sauce

  • Mix the first four ingredients from above in a bowl. Stir until the sugar dissolves.
  • Distribute the sauce using a spoon (1 Tbsp measuring spoon works well) to an individual dip serving plate as needed.
  • Add the sliced onion in the sauce and wasabi paste on the side of the plate.

Nutrition

Calories: 87kcal
Tried this recipe?I love hearing how you went with my recipes! Leave a comment below or Tag me on Instagram @MyKoreanKitchen.

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Written by: Sue

Last Updated: August 19, 2019

Hi, I'm Sue and I am the creator of My Korean Kitchen. Thank you for joining me in this delicious culinary journey!

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25 thoughts on “Three Ultimate Korean BBQ Dipping Sauces”

  1. Just had my first experience at a Koean Bar B q. The food was delicious, but I thin must have looked like a fool eating and prepare ii and have to buy the pan and your cookbook.

      • She’s saying: “I look like a fool eating and preparing (at the korean BBQ place). I have to buy the pan and your cookbook”. I don’t know why I’m replying to this old comment. God I’m hungry.

  2. I’m Mexican and married a Korean man. Trying to impress him beyond my Mexican cuisine only happened when I came across your site. Thank you so much!! I needed these sauces!!

  3. I’ve been looking for this certain kbbq dipping sauce recipe for the longest time and my friend sent me this link — I think the third one is really close but not quite? I’m thinking of this soy sauce based dipping sauce that usually has a lot of garlic and jalapenos in it, but tastes a bit sweet? Goes super well with plain brisket. Maybe I should just add jalapenos and garlic in that third sauce recipe? Anyway cool blog!! I love Korean food.

      • I wonder if JY and I are Looking for the same sauce. I’ve only encountered it in Seoul and it’s a thin, clear, savory dipping sauce (watery, not oily) that only came with the thin sliced brisket. It had a bunch of sliced green chili peppers in it which were spicy but the sauce itself wasn’t particularly spicy. This sauce was so amazing but I’ve never had it at any US Korean BBQ’s. I really wish I could find the recipe because I have no idea what the flavor was.

  4. I have been searching for the 3rd sauce for YEARS. I used to live in NYC and would go to Woo Chon like as often as humanely possible. I LOVE the cuisine, it’s absolutely amazing. But I moved to rural Montana and well, Amazon is my friend for a lot of ingredients now as I’m 5 hours from Billings or Missoula. I learned to make a lot of the dishes but that exact recipe had eluded me. I’ve seen others, I’ve tried tweaking them but to no avail. This, came out PERFECT!

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. Cause I have to be honest, I now use that stuff like some people use ketchup and on dishes it probably was never meant for but it’s so dang good and really brings out the flavor of whatever you’re eating.

    • I can almost feel your pain about you not being able to get the Korean ingredients you want! Though, I’m very glad to hear that you love making the sauce, even if you use it too often! I won’t judge. 😉

  5. Hi Sue, I love Korean food and BBQ. But I’d like to ask if there any dipping sauces for seafood? Maybe suitable for steamed seafood or BBQ? I went to a restaurant selling steamed seafood and I love the sauce for dipping. Is that normal spicy sauce or does it need a recipe for it? Please also let me know which type of dipping sauce other than the spicy one is suitable best for steamed seafood. Can’t wait to prepare it myself!

  6. Hi thank you for these recipe I have your cookbook. My korean kitchen and I love it. I just wish it had more recipes. I love reading all the info in it. I dont speak Korean but I watch some cooking shows, however they are all in Korean and not in english, so it is hard for me to figure out what they are making & what ingredients they are using. I hope someday you will have a cooking show in English. thanks again for all the info.

    • Hi Dee, I haven’t actually published any cookbook yet. Have you seen a cookbook called My Korean Kitchen? Or Am I not understanding you correctly…? Please let me know if you know of someone using “My Korean Kitchen” name elsewhere other than my blog. I would really love to do a cooking video too. I just need more time to make that commitment plus an assistant to help me making the video. 🙂 My recipe collection will only increase as time goes by. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  7. When I need simple and delicious recipes, I known where to come to. Your lovely website. These dipping recipes are no exception.

    Always greatly appreciated and value your recipes. Thank you for allowing us to share your recipes.
    Steve

    • Thanks Steve. For some reason, your comments always make me to become even more humble about how I run my blog. 🙂 I thank you for keep coming back to my blog to try my recipes.

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