An experiment for a Friday night
The essense of BBQ sauce is the combination of sweet, savory, and spice. Americans use salt separately from their sauces, and use the sugars for color and caramelization. Their sauces tend to be tangy, using the acid to balance the enormous amounts of sugar that are common to everything American. Asian BBQ sauces emphasize savoriness and spice more than sweetness. Asians tend to use soy for flavor and color and lighter fruit juices for sweetness, although small amounts of brown sugar are common. A good Korean BBQ sauce uses Korean pear juice (those large round pears that look like pale-green apples), is never too salty, and has a healthy amount of garlic and ginger chunks. Differences in the ratios of soy to herbs/spices to pear juice will render different sauces for different meats. The Koreans have perfected the right combinations for beef, which differ from the right combination for pork, which differ from chicken. I myself found a sauce I thought was useful for all kinds of meats, including salmon and white fish.
Which brings me to my point. Not having any Korean BBQ sauce has forced me to think creatively. Soy is available everywhere. Using the good Tamari I have in my fridge, I am going to try to make myself a small batch of all-purpose Asian BBQ sauce using what I know about good Asian sauces. I will try to find pear juice or pear nectar, but if I can't find it, a good apple juice will have do. At first, I will try equal parts chopped garlic, to chopped ginger, to chopped shallots, and a splash of rice wine vinegar for a little acidity. Cooked together with the tamari and reduced to at least a half, I will see what I come up with. I am sure I will need to add water and corn starch, but let's see how things work for now.
I am sure that, after a good amount of experimentation, I will be able to concoct something useful. Once I do that, its all a matter of jaring, freezing, and then plenty more 30-minute dinners! If I discover something exceptionally good, I will post it here.