Monday, September 15, 2008

Homemade Asian Barbecue Sauce and Marinade - So Good You'll Swear it's Artificially Flavored!

Some store-bought sauces and condiments make sense. Ketchup, mayo, and mustard can all be made, but in general, for your average home cook, the price and convenience of these prepared foods doesn't usually justify making them from scratch. The danger with grabbing a jar of relatively harmless Dijon is that just down that aisle you're going to pass by the "Asian" section, and be tempted by a colorful array of barbecue sauces and marinades.

The names are so exotic and enticing. The picture on the label shows glistening ribs, dripping with juice. The instructions say "just pour over meat and grill" - hey, that sounds easy! And then, you look at the ingredient list. The only words you recognize are "high fructose corn syrup," and "dehydrated garlic." But, it's already in your hand, and that meat in the picture sure does look tasty, so in the cart it goes.

Hopefully, when you see this video recipe for my basic Asian barbecue sauce/marinade, you will see just how simple these sauces are to make. Not only are they easy; not only are they MSG-free; but the flavor is far superior to any of those $3.50 bottles. The other goal of this video recipe is to inspire you to find some "skirt steak." Ask your butcher! This is the perfect cut of beef to use with one of these sauces. Enjoy!



Ingredients:
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp sambal, or other hot chili sauce
1/2 orange, juiced
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp fish sauce (or sub extra soy)
2 cloves mashed garlic
*Makes enough for about 2 pounds meat

26 comments:

lily said...

i so loooove skirt steak. You could make Korean tacos with this recipe.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much! I'm really looking forward to trying this. I would also really love to see a great Chef John recipe for some sort of Asian Noodle Salad that I could pack for lunch.

Birder said...

Looks excellent!

Chef John, could us veggie heads use tofu instead of meat and still have this turn out okay?

Chef John said...

Yes, absolutely! Just be careful not to drip any on your hemp pants.

väös said...

John, great recipe! Can't wait to make this myself.
BTW: I can't stop laughing about your hemp-pants comment!!!

Zach said...

isnt this the chicken soup music!!

lechner said...

John is definitely comedic gold today. Thanks for the recipe!

Way back when I was a vegetarian, I would marinate tofu, tempeh, and TVP in a citrus + soy sauce base. I love crafting sauces like this because there they leave me with so much room to experiment in. Freshly minced ginger, a dab of miso, and a peeled cube of fresh tumeric root make excellent accompaniments. Just remember that your tofu and TVP needs to be as dry as possible before applying any marinade.

Birder said...

I'll have you know I do NOT wear hemp pants.


They are clearly chinos.

Chef John said...

lol, you can smoke chinos!

Hey Zach, it was, now it's the Asian bbq music.

Chef John said...

"when I was a vegetarian"

Lechner, welcome back.

lifeinrecipes said...

Spotted this on tastespotting and it grabbed me right away. Looks so tasty and packed with flavors I love.

Anonymous said...

Hey there Chef... Any suggestions for making this recipe wheat/soy-free?? I sometimes substitute fish sauce for soy sauce, but your recipe already calls for it... Would you suggest just omitting the soy sauce, or substituting the soy sauce for more fish sauce, or do you have some other suggestion??

Thanks so much!

Chef John said...

I've never tried to sub soy sauce. That much fish sauce may too much. SS has such a unique flavor I'm not sure. Did you check the soy allergy sites?

Anonymous said...

What exactly is sambal? Is it sweet chinese chili sauce in a jar?

Steven.

Chef John said...

Sambal is a condiment used in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the southern Philippines and Sri Lanka, as well as the Netherlands through Indonesian influence, and in Suriname. It is typically made from a variety of peppers, although chili peppers are the most common. Sambal is used as a condiment or as a side dish, and is sometimes substituted for fresh chilis; it can be very hot for the uninitiated. It is available at exotic food markets or gourmet departments in supermarkets in many countries.

Anonymous said...

Hey chef.

Thanks for the comprehensive reply. I barbecued for my friends last night and put my steak in this marinade. i also did a variation on those awesome indoor barbecue shrimp you did a few weeks back. big success, thank you.

I'm really learning a lot from your blog, please keep it up.

Steven.

Patrick said...

This would be great with your Arepas from a few weeks ago!

HypnoticMolecule said...

Amazing recipe. Now, I hate when people leave comments like "great recipe, I have to ry it!" How do you know it's good if you didn't try it? Cook it first! Well, I did..twice...Delicious! Smells amazing! One important thing I wanted to comment on: I couldn't find the nice-looking thin skirt steak chef John is preparing. I got one at Fairway Market and it looks like straight piece of steak 0.5-0.75 inches thick. So what happened when I grilled it was that it burned on the outside and was still chewy inside. The solution I found was - raise the meat from the charcoals and keep the meat for a little longer (10-20 min/side). It comes out great, doesn't dry out but the chewiness goes away. Hope this helps someone.

Jim Pook said...

Just whipped up this Asian Marinade.

I had to skip the fish sauce as I don't have any, and had to substitute garlic powder for real garlic, but I do like the taste. I have a fresh made burger patty soaking in it now and will cook it up shortly.

I'm going add a slice of pineapple to the burger and I'm looking forward to it!

Jim Pook said...

The burger turned out great!

I kept it fairly simple: Fresh bun, mayo, finely diced Walla Walla sweet onion, fresh made burger patty, and a fried pineapple slice.

I soaked the burger patty for about 15 minutes. A bit of a trick getting it out of the marinade bowl without if breaking up. Pan fried until med. well done.

Very tasty! Thanks!

Chef John said...

sounds great!!

virusdragon7 said...

Does it taste as good as it looks? or better?

Anonymous said...

Dat sace verry verry good! hop-sing say good for you sace! Dat verry taty.

Natasha said...

Dear Chef John, can I substitute the rice vinegar with a regular vinegar? Cause it's hard to find it in my country..

Thanks for all the lovely recipes! :)

Chef John said...

Sure! doesn't sound like you have a choice. ;)

Anonymous said...

Dear Chef John,
Greetings from Indonesia!
can I substitute the rice vinegar with a regular white vinegar? If it's no, is there any other ingredient for the substitue? It's hard to find rice vinegar in my country...
Anyway, thanks a lot for sharing all the lovely recipes!! :)

Natasha