As I wandered the aisles the other day, something caught my eye: Bachan’s Japanese BBQ Sauce. I’ve read a lot of praise for this condiment but have yet to try it.
If you’re a fan of Japanese cuisine, you might have already tried or heard of Japanese BBQ sauce. This savory and slightly sweet sauce complements grilled meat, vegetables, and rice dishes perfectly. While finding authentic Japanese BBQ sauce at your local grocery store can be challenging, Costco now offers a favorite cult brand, Bachan.
Read on as we explore the Japanese BBQ sauce at Costco, its flavor and ingredients, and how to use it to enhance your meals.
What Is Bachans?
The simple answer to what Bachans is is a Japanese Barbecue sauce. Created from ingredients similar to teriyaki sauce, it’s a salty and sweet condiment, marinade, and dipping sauce.
Bachan’s creators pride themselves on using quality ingredients and producing a product free from preservatives, thanks to a cold-fill packaging method.
Other manufacturers process sauces at high temperatures before bottling, which causes flavor loss. Manufacturers add natural flavoring and preservatives to counteract this. Bachan’s cold method results in no flavor loss.
Costco carries 34-ounce bottles for $9.89, which is a great deal. We’ve found 17-ounce bottles for $7.98 in the local grocery store.
Bottles are in the aisle with other condiments.
What Is Bachan’s Japanese BBQ Used For?
- Marinade — Chicken, fish, shrimp, or beef; the sauce complements everything.
- Condiment — Add flavor to various dishes. Change your standard pulled pork and top it with Bachans or mix it with a bit of mayo for a great condiment on a turkey or roast beef sandwich.
- Dressing — Mix with oil and vinegar for an excellent sauce for noodles.
- Dipping Sauce — For veggies and meat, especially Bare Nuggets and dumplings.
Bachan’s BBQ Sauce Recipes
- Bachan’s Stir Fry
Cook your favorite protein (pork, chicken, beef, tofu), and add chopped vegetables. Top with Bachan’s and serve over rice or plain ramen noodles. If you like your sauce thicker, add a cornstarch slurry during the last minute or two of cooking. Mix one tablespoon of cornstarch and one tablespoon of cold water per one cup of sauce and add to your pan or wok; cook until thick.
- Bachan’s Fried Rice
Add instead of soy sauce to fried rice. It even replaces soy sauce in Hawaiian Fried Rice, a family favorite.
- Costco Meatball Topping
Mix with a bit of sriracha and pour on this freezer staple.
- Asian Meatballs
Make your version of meatballs and add a little Bachans for a savory treat. You can dress them with the sauce for even more flavor.
- Spam Musubi
If you want a unique meal full of flavor, try Bachans in Spam Musubi. It’s salty and savory and delicious. Use Bachans in place of the marinade in the Favorite Family Recipes version.
Bachan’s Japanese BBQ Sauce Ingredients
The ingredient list for Bachans Japanese BBQ Sauce is not extensive and is full of familiar ingredients.
Non-GMO Soy Sauce (Water, Soybeans, Wheat, Salt), Cane Sugar, Mirin (Water, Rice, Koji Seed, Sea Salt), Tomato Paste, Organic Ginger, Green onion, Organic Rice Vinegar, Organic Garlic, Sea Salt, Organic Toasted Sesame Oil
Salt is listed several times; this gives a big clue as to how it tastes.
Bachan’s Japanese BBQ Sauce Nutrition Facts
Each one-tablespoon serving has 35 calories. However, like most sauces, there isn’t much to report regarding nutrition facts.
Each serving has 520mg of sodium, which is a fair amount. Of the eight grams of total carbohydrates, seven come from added sugars.
Bachan’s contains no protein or fat. As for allergens, it notably contains wheat, soy, and sesame.
Bachan Original Japanese Barbeque Sauce Costco Reviews
Overall, I like this sauce. Do I LOVE this sauce like many others? No.
The first thing you’ll notice from this sauce is the consistency. It’s not thick like American BBQ Sauce. It’s thinner and slightly runny. I thought it might affect how well it worked as a dipping sauce, but it didn’t, but I still wish it were a little thicker, but we’ve got a great solution down below.
The bottle design is excellent. The top eliminates a mess and makes it easy to use. I wish more condiments had incorporated this design.
This sauce is worth adding to your Costco shopping list if you want a no-fuss sauce that works with many dishes. Do NOT buy this if you are sensitive to sodium or dislike soy sauce’s flavor.
What Does Bachans Taste Like?
This sauce is salty! If you taste it without anything else, you immediately notice that flavor. If you are sensitive to sodium, this is not worth purchasing.
You will taste the soy, but it’s a little muted. It has no kick or spiciness. Adding a little sriracha will quickly change that and allows you to control the heat.
Is Bachans Sweet?
Even though cane sugar is the second ingredient, we didn’t find Bachan’s overly sweet; it is savory. Teriyaki is much sweet, in our opinion.
It has 7 grams of added sugar per serving which is one tablespoon.
Bakerpedia describes cane sugar as a “highly refined sugar derived from sugar cane plant. It is a familiar sweetener in beverages, foods, and bakery products.”
What is the Difference Between Japanese BBQ Sauce and Regular BBQ Sauce?
Comparing regular BBQ sauce with Japanese BBQ Sauce is challenging because there are so many American versions that there isn’t necessarily a standard.
Sweet Baby Ray’s is one of the most popular sauces in the United States and is available at Costco, so that we can compare those two.
Sweet Baby Ray’s has more sugar and a thicker texture, while Bachan’s is saltier and thinner.
Is Japanese BBQ Sauce at Costco the Same as Teriyaki?
Bachan Japanese Barbeque Sauce is similar to Teriyaki but different. The most significant difference is the thickness. Bachans is slightly runny, while teriyaki sauce is thicker.
Bachans are saltier and savory flavors. Teriyaki is sweeter. Traditional teriyaki contains soy sauce, sake or mirin, and sugar that’s boiled until thick. Bachan’s includes all the ingredients plus green onion, ginger garlic, tomato paste, rice vinegar, salt, and toasted sesame oil.
Both work well as marinades and dipping sauces. Teriyaki coats food better since it’s dense from its cooking process.
Is Japanese BBQ Sauce at Costco the Same as Katsu Sauce?
Bachan Japanese BBQ Sauce at Costco is different from Katsu Sauce. They are similar, but they contain other ingredients. Katsu or Tonkatsu sauce is also thicker than Bachans.
Katsu Sauce is considered a Japanese-style BBQ Sauce, and many use it as a dipping sauce for breaded pork cutlets. Bull-Dog Sauce, one of the most famous brands, features fruits and vegetables which produce a sweet flavor.
Bachans lacks fruit, and the only vegetable it contains is green onions. It has a saltier flavor and thinner consistency.
It’s easy to see why these two sauces get confused, but they are NOT the same.
How Long Does Bachan Japanese BBQ Sauce at Costco Last?
There is a best-by date printed on the bottom of the container. The company indicates the shelf life is 18 months post-production. You should refrigerate the sauce after opening it.
This extended shelf life is surprising, considering the company prides itself on not using preservatives. The cold-filling method of bottling blasts the packaging with icy air to sterilize it, thereby reducing the need for preservatives.
As always, lead with your senses. If something doesn’t looks, smell, or taste right, it’s best to toss it.
Can You Use Bachan as a Marinade?
You can use Bachan as part of a marinade. We do this often, but it does take some time. We found that about four hours for pork or chicken is ideal.
The sauce makes the meat more flavorful, but if you want to make a stir fry, you need additional sauce. You can put some directly from the bottle, but it is a little thin and doesn’t coat the food as much as we like.
To counteract this, we recommend you make a cornstarch slurry. Mix one tablespoon of cornstarch for each cup of Bachans with one tablespoon of cold water. Add the sauce and the slurry to your stir fry during the last few minutes to thicken.
What Do You Think?
Have you bought Japanese BBQ Sauce at Costco before? Did you like it? How did you use it? Let me know in the comments below; I’d love to read more.
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