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- Bachan's small-batch Japanese Barbecue Sauce is far more complex tasting than most bottled sauces.
- It's Amazon's #1-selling BBQ sauce, but it also elevates everything from vegetables to pizza to eggs.
- It's so tasty and diverse that my chef boyfriend and I keep it in our kitchen at all times.
I grew up cooking with my southern family, but once I met my boyfriend, an industry-taught chef, I learned a lot of small tips and tricks that seriously upped my dinner game – things like chopped herbs are the secret to a tasty salad, you should top everything with finishing salt, and a dinner's soul is in the sauce.
The sauce not only maximizes the flavor of your dish, but also keeps everything juicy and moist. The problem, of course, is a good sauce takes work. Premade sauces are often one-dimensional and too something, be it sweet, savory, citrusy, or another dominating flavor. To make a good sauce at home, my boyfriend will either spend time and effort making it from scratch or, in a pinch, end up mixing together five-plus premade sauces to find the right balance of flavor.
The one sauce he will use straight from the bottle: Bachan's Japanese Barbecue Sauce, a small-batch, multi-generational family recipe of ginger, teriyaki, soy-deliciousness that delivers the perfect umami kiss to literally any food you're cooking.
It's hands down the best pre-made sauce I've tried and is a staple in our kitchen for meats, vegetables, pizza – pretty much anything that needs a little added oomph.
About Bachan's Japanese Barbecue Sauce
Bachan's was founded by Justin Gill, a Japanese American who grew up eating and gifting friends his family's homemade sauce. It became so popular among those that tried it that he decided to launch a business with it. As it's a family recipe, Gill named the brand after his bachan, or his grandmother.
The sauce, which uses less than 10 ingredients, hits somewhere between a less-sweet teriyaki and a more-complex shoyu sauce. Its ingredients are all non-GMO and mostly organic, and it's cold-filled, which means they don't need to use preservatives or additives. And of equal importance, it has ridiculously cute packaging.
What makes Bachan's sauce different
What makes Bachan's so much better than other pre-made sauces is it's able to retain the nuances of its ingredients, like ginger and green onion, and it's incredibly well-balanced, delivering the perfect amount of umami without being too sweet.
I was originally sent Bachan's as a press sample when the brand was first launched in 2019, and my boyfriend, exhausted from cooking at the restaurant all week, was so obsessed with the flavor that we went through a single bottle in under two weeks. I quickly signed us up for auto-order to get three new bottles every two months (I had to put my foot down on pacing him) to make sure we always have it on hand when we need to throw dinner together on a time crunch.
Cooking with Bachan's sauce
The real reason you should buy Bachan's, though, is because this sauce tastes good on literally all food. Obviously, it makes a killer stir-fry sauce and meat or tofu marinade, but it also elevates any vegetable (I especially love it on pellet-grilled broccoli). It's a bowl-licking-good glaze on salmon. My boyfriend likes to douse his morning egg-and-rice bowl in it, and we've also combined it with cream cheese for a super easy, super delicious cracker dip. (The company's website has a bunch of great recipe ideas, too.)
If you're not the best cook or short on time, this bottle is an easy way to score the complexity of a homemade sauce when you don't have the time or skillset to know which flavors to combine.
In addition to my household's praise, Bachan's is highly regarded by chef and editor Chris Kimball; Water Robb, the former CEO of Whole Foods; and has more than 2,200 five-star reviews on Amazon. In fact, it's the #1 and #3-selling barbecue sauce on Amazon and the #5 sauce overall.
In addition to its Original flavor, Bachan's also offers a gluten-free option and a Hot and Spicy. The brand is also set to release an exciting new flavor in early November, which I've previewed and is maybe even better than the Original.