Summer is the best BBQ season, so you should fire up your grill for a Korean BBQ party! The tender, juicy beef, pork, or chicken pieces wrapped in lettuce and rice with a dollop of delicious topping sauces are sure to please everyone!

Here are two of the most popular Korean BBQ topping sauces that you can whip up in a few minutes. Without the topping sauce, your Korean BBQ will be incomplete, tasting 2% short on flavor. So please, don't miss out on the sauce!

The recipes are ridiculously simple. They are no brainers and super-duper easy recipes that even a young kid can make!

#1 : Bean Paste Topping Sauce (쌈장, Ssam-jang)

Ssamjang is a mixture of Korean soybean paste and chili paste. Simple to make with a deep and earthy taste. This sauce is perhaps the most popular one that every restaurant serves if you order BBQ. It is also served as a dipping sauce for Korean green chilies and cucumber sticks. Very nice~

Mix soybean paste, chili paste, garlic, and sesame oil. That's it! A lovely topping sauce ready to dollop on top of your BBQ.

#2 : Soy Brine Onion Topping Sauce (양파절임, Yangpa-jeulim)

This is a rather slightly sweet sauce with tons of onion. The soy sauce brine reduces the spiciness of onion and yields a very mellow yet flavorful sauce to enhance your meat. This particular sauce is perfect to accompany Korean pork belly (삼겹살, Samgyupssal).

Mix soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, and water. Add the thinly sliced onion and chili (optional) to the sauce. Let them sit for a few minutes before you serve.

Here are the two sauces ready to serve. So easy, right?

Grill your choice of meat, marinated or plain. I used a cast iron skillet, but grilling with an outdoor grill will bring a better taste!

Cut your meat into bite-size pieces with a pair of scissors, the most important Korean kitchen tool for BBQ :)

I like to dip mine in the onion topping sauce first...

Then place on top of a lettuce with a little bit of rice and a dollop of ssamjang sauce together.

You can use one topping sauce or both, depending on how you want to enjoy. You can add cloves of roasted garlic on top as well! (Roast cloves of garlic on the side of the skillet as you grill your meat.)

It is common to serve Korean BBQ with Korean soybean paste stew (된장찌개, duenjang jjigae). A Korean feast at its best!

Now wrap it all up, and shove it in your mouth all at once! Biting off the lettuce wrap is NOT the Korean way of eating it!

If you're embarrassed to open your mouth as wide as a hippo, you just need to plan the size of your wrap in advance to not make it so big. But who cares whether you eat a big wrap or a small one - your BBQ lettuce wrap will melt in your mouth either way!

Hope you can try these Korean BBQ topping sauces the next time you make BBQ!!

~ Holly

Korean BBQ Topping Sauces

( 4 servings )

For Bean Paste Topping Sauce (쌈장, Ssam-jang) :

  • 3 tablespoons Korean soybean paste
  • 2 tablespoon Korean chili paste
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
For Soy Brine Onion Topping (양파절임, yangpa jeulim)
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced

Directions :

  1. For the bean paste topping sauce, combine soybean paste, chili paste, garlic, and sesame oil, and mix well.
  2. For the soy brine onion topping sauce, combine soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, water in a bowl and whisk until the sugar is well dissolved. Add the sliced onion and let it sit for 5 minutes before you serve.

Don't miss out another delicious Korean sauces for rice and noodle dishes!

Chili Bibim Sauce Ssambap Multi-Purpose Gochujang Sauce