• Yield: Makes 4 cups

  • Time: 20 minutes prep

I learned the essence of American barbecue when I worked as a cook in Atlanta, and I still crave that sticky, smoky, tender meat. We capture those memories when we cook with this sauce at our restaurants. With sweetness coming from the brown sugar, kiwi, and pear, plus the sharpness from the onion, soy sauce, and garlic, this sauce has everything you need for barbecue with a Korean touch. I always give credit to my mom for this recipe because she showed me how to make it. Over the years, I’ve made some modifications to take it to the next level, but don’t tell her! She believes that I am still using the same recipe she taught me all those years ago.

Once Upon a Chef by Jennifer Segal Korean BBQ by Bill Kim


  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 1 cup soy sauce

  • 1 small white onion, coarsely chopped

  • 1 Asian pear, peeled and coarsely chopped

  • 1 kiwi, peeled and coarsely chopped

  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled

  • 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced

  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame oil


Combine the brown sugar, water, and soy sauce in a bowl and whisk until the sugar dissolves. Transfer the mixture to a food processor, add the onion, pear, kiwi, garlic, and ginger, and process for about 2 minutes, until completely smooth. Add the sesame oil and blend until fully combined.

Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 2 months. Or freeze in standard ice cube trays, then transfer the cubes (they’ll be about 2 tablespoons each) to plastic freezer bags and freeze for up to 2 months.

Reprinted with permission from Korean BBQ: Master Your Grill in Seven Sauces, copyright © 2018 by Bill Kim with Chandra Ram. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.