What Is Yakiniku Beef? A Beef Delicacy Explained

Yakiniku beef is a Japanese grilled delicacy seasoned with a special sauce, made from various cuts of beef, and served with a sweet soy sauce.

what is yakiniku beef

Yakiniku beef is a delicacy from Japanese culture and is a broader term used to describe grilled meat that is pre-seasoned or marinated. Continue reading to learn more about what is yakiniku beef.

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What is yakiniku beef?

Yakiniku comes from the Japanese words “yaki” (grilled) and “niku” (meat) and is more of a broader term describing grilled, pre-seasoned beef that is cooked over an open flame. It can be any cut or any breed of cow. It is not limited to Japanese cuts or breeds like Wagyu or Kobe.

This meat can also be cooked on a grill, in a pan, or on a tabletop grill. Regardless of the cooking method, yakiniku is seasoned with or served with a special yakiniku sauce. 

What is yakiniku made out of?

Yakiniku is made from beef that is thinly sliced short ribs, skirt steak, or ribeye, and it is often used in Korean barbecue.

The meat is served unseasoned in a sweet soy sauce commonly used in Korean barbecue recipes. 

What kind of meat is yakiniku? 

Yakiniku is made from unseasoned beef, and the flavoring comes from the sweet soy sauce commonly used in Korean barbecue meals. 

What is the taste of yakiniku? 

Since yakiniku is made with the finest cuts of beef, it is very tender and has a mildly sweet taste.

Therefore, yakiniku is often served with a sweet sesame sauce used to season meat for grilling in Japanese restaurants. 

What is yakiniku sauce? 

Yakiniku sauce is a dipping sauce or glaze commonly used as a condiment when serving traditional Japanese grilled meat. Recipes may vary but can easily be made at home using soy sauce, garlic, sesame seeds, and other ingredients. 

How do I make yakiniku sauce? 

Making yakiniku sauce at home is a great way to create a fresh dipping sauce for your yakiniku dinner. To make a famous yakiniku sauce, you will need: 

  • 1 tbsp sake
  • 1 tbsp mirin
  • 1 ½ tbsps shoyu
  • One grated clove
  • 1 tsp white sesame seeds (optional)
  • Japanese red pepper flakes (to taste)

Below are the steps to making this yakiniku sauce: 

  1. Bring sake and mirin to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat
  2. After boiling, reduce the heat to medium, so the sauce to simmer for about two minutes, allowing all alcohol to evaporate.
  3. Pour sake and mirin into a small heatproof bowl.
  4. Add the shoyu, white sesame seeds, garlic, and red pepper flakes to the liquid and whisk to combine. 
  5. Let stand for a few minutes. 
  6. Serve in a ramekin as a dipping sauce for the grilled meat. 

FAQs about Yakiniku Beef

How do I make yakiniku? 

The best thing about yakiniku is that the cooking process brings out the beef’s natural flavor without pre-seasoning or marinating. To make yakiniku, use meat with plenty of white fat marbling and cut it into slices. 

Heat the grill, flat teppan cooking surface, or a skillet to about 400 °F, and cook the meat on both sides on the hot surface for a few minutes. 

Can I store yakiniku in the fridge? 

Yakiniku can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days after it has been cooked.

Can I store yakiniku in the freezer? 

It is possible to freeze yakiniku after it has been cooked. To freeze the meat, let it cool to 40 °F and then wrap it tightly in plastic freezer wrap. It is also possible to place smaller pieces of meat in an airtight, freezer-safe container. The meat is at risk of drying out and suffering from freezer burn if left uncovered. 

How do I store yakiniku sauce? 

Yakiniku is a famous Japanese barbecue sauce and should be stored in a cool, dry place away from any light source. Once the bottle is open, the sauce should be refrigerated to keep it fresh.

Is yakiniku Japanese or Korean? 

Yakiniku originated in Korea in the 1920s; however, the term refers to the Japanese cooking method with the Korean idea of eating bite-sized slices of beef with vegetables. This dish was inspired by Korean dishes such as bulgogi and galbi, but the Japanese meal is not marinated before grilling.

What can I serve with yakiniku? 

Yakiniku sauce is the most common item served with yakiniku beef. Grilled vegetables, such as carrots, onions, mushrooms, and cabbage, are a great accompaniment to the meat. Some people also serve the yakiniku with a squeeze of lemon juice over the meat.

Do you serve rice with yakiniku? 

Rice is a popular side to add when serving yakiniku. Additionally, salad, miso soup, kimchi, edamame, and a Japanese-style potato salad can make for fantastic side dishes served with yakiniku.

Can yakiniku be made with chicken meat? 

Though yakiniku is primarily beef, it can be made with chicken meat, especially drumstick meats. First, cut the meat into tiny pieces to use chicken, and then cook them with a miso paste, sake, and chopped scallions.

Is there a difference between teppanyaki and yakiniku? 

Yakinku is thinly sliced meat grilled on a woven wire mesh or iron plate to help remove excess water and fat from the meat. Teppanyaki helps seal the fat and juices in the meat by using a solid flat griddle to evenly heat and cook the meat without charring.

Can you eat yakiniku alone, or do you have to enjoy it in a large group? 

The way yakiniku is prepared, it is often enjoyed with others, sitting around a large table with a grill in the center. However, with more people traveling for business, several Japanese restaurants now offer opportunities for people to enjoy yakiniku alone. 

However, it is more enjoyable to enjoy yakiniku with a large group. Therefore, when dining alone, ask the restaurant if they have a group table you can join in on and enjoy an authentic Japanese yakiniku dining experience. 

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