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.

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 1 scallion, white part only, trimmed and minced

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce

  • 1/2 cup sake

  • 2 tablespoons honey

  • 4 scallions (green parts only)

  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

  • 1 small or 1/2 large Asian pear, peeled, cored, and cut into the finest dice possible

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.

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.