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Beef Kushiyaki

Experience the irresistible flavors of my Beef Kushiyaki, a beloved Japanese classic that is an absolute must-try! These beef skewers are grilled to perfection and generously basted with a sweet and savory yakitori sauce, will transport you to the heart of Japanese cuisine. Whether you’re a seasoned home cook or a beginner, I promise this recipe provides a simple and delightful way to savor the authentic taste of Japanese grilling at home!

Beef kushiyaki served on a white plate sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds.

Why I Love This Recipe

Kushiyaki, which translates to ‘grilled skewers’ in Japanese, is a Japanese classic that I really enjoy to make! While it’s often associated with yakitori at Japanese restaurants, it’s important to note that they are not quite the same, as yakitori specifically refers to grilled chicken. These Beef Kushiyaki, on the other hand, is crafted from seasoned skewered beef. These beef skewers are generously basted with a savory, umami-packed sauce I created in my kitchen and grilled over an open flame.

In the realm of Japanese grilling, classics like Beef Kushiyaki stand proudly alongside favorites like Negima Yakitori and Pork Belly Yakiton. These skewered delights authentically represent Japanese tradition, capturing the very essence of Japanese BBQ in each flavorful bite! I promise my recipe provides a straightforward, hassle free and convenient way to savor the genuine taste of Japanese grilling from the comfort of your own home!



  • Beef – thin strips of rib roast, chuck, or top sirloin.
  • Toasted Sesame Seeds – optional garnish.
  • Green Onion – finely chopped green onion scallions.
  • Soy Sauce – low-sodium Soy Sauce preferred. Can also use tamari for gluten-free.
  • Japanese Sake – typically will come in a large bottle labeled junmai sake. Can also substitute with dry sherry wine or Chinese cooking wine, found at local grocery stores or Asian markets.
  • Sweetener – use your preferred sweetener.
  • Bonito Flakes – made from shaved Dried Bonito fish. Commonly used to make broth and responsible for giving Japanese cuisine that signature umami flavor. Can replace with Hondashi.
  • Garlic– freshly diced and sliced garlic.
  • Lemon – optional fresh wedge.

πŸ₯© Beef Note

It’s best to use strips of tender beef such as Rib Roast, Chuck, or Top Sirloin. These cuts, already in strips, can often be found at Japanese grocery stores labeled under yaki-niku, making them ideal for this delicious grilled dish.

🍢 Mirin Note

While mirin is traditionally used to make the tare sauce, we’ve considered that mirin might not be readily available in all areas. To accommodate this, the recipe modifies the ratio of Japanese sake and sweetener, allowing you to savor the authentic flavors of tare even when mirin is not at hand.

Beef kushiyaki served on a white plate sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds.

Essential Kitchen Equipment

🍒 Skewer Pro Tip

Using Metal Skewers eliminates concerns about them catching on fire, ensuring a hassle-free and safe grilling experience.


Step 1 Season beef with salt and black pepper, then let it rest at room temperature for at least 10 minutes.

Seasoned strips of beef.

Step 2 Prepare the sauce by combining soy sauce, Japanese sake, sweetener, bonito flakes or hondashi in a saucepan, and simmer for 7-10 minutes.

Beef kushiyaki sauce in a pot.

⚑ Tare Shortcut Tip

For a shortcut when preparing your tare sauce, opt for Hondashi instead of bonito flakes. This substitution eliminates the need to strain the tare sauce.

Step 3 Skewer the meat, placing a piece of garlic in-between.

Beef kushiyaki skewered.

Step 4 Baste the skewers with the sauce and grill at 350Β°F, covered, until done, rotating every 2 minutes.

Beef kushiyaki being grilled.

πŸ”₯ Grilling Pro Tip

It’s recommended to grill the meat to a β€˜Medium-Rare’ to β€˜Medium’ doneness level. This ensures that the beef remains tender and flavorful, allowing you to fully enjoy the flavors of yakiniku.

Step 5 Finish by topping with toasted sesame seeds, green onions, and a wedge of lemon.

Beef kushiyaki served on a plate.

Paring Recommendations

Since you’re already at the grill, consider adding the smoky goodness of Bacon Wrapped Enoki Mushroom, the savory temptation of Bacon Wrapped Quail Eggs, or some juicy Tsukune Chicken Meatball skewers to your feast. These delightful additions will elevate your meal, bringing you a taste of authentic Japanese flavors hot from your grill.

Beef kushiyaki served on a white plate sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds on a skewer.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between Yakitori and Kushiyaki?

Yakitori focuses exclusively on grilled chicken skewers, using various parts of the chicken like thigh meat, wings, or chicken skin. In contrast, Kushiyaki includes a wider range of grilled skewers, encompassing beef, pork, vegetables, and other ingredients besides chicken.

Is it necessary to soak wooden skewers before using them?

Yes, it's essential to soak wooden skewers before using them. Soaking prevents them from catching fire on the grill, ensuring a safer and more enjoyable grilling experience.

What kind of sweetener can I use in the sauce?

Use either sugar or a sugar substitute in the sauce.

Storage Tips

For storing leftovers, place them in an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator. They’ll stay fresh and delicious for 3-5 days and can be easily reheated in the microwave when you’re ready to enjoy them again.

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Watch How To Make It

Beef kushiyaki served on a white plate sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds.

Beef Kushiyaki

Indulge in the flavors of my Beef Kushiyaki, a delightful Japanese grilled beef skewer dish that combines tender strips of beef with a savory yakitori sauce.
5 from 8 votes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: beef kushiyaki, beef yakitori
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 3 Skewers
Print Recipe
Calories: 283kcal



  • 1/3 lb Beef thin strips of rib boast, chuck, or top sirloin
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
  • 3-4 Pieces Wooden Skewers
  • 1/8 tsp Toasted Sesame Seed optional
  • 1/2 Stalk Green Onion optional

Basting Sauce

  • 3 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 4 1/2 tbsp Japanese Sake
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Water
  • 2 tbsp Sweetener your preferred sweetener
  • 1/2 Cup Bonito Flakes can sub with 1/8 tsp of hondashi
  • 5-7 Cloves Garlic
  • 2 Wedges Lemon optional


  • Gather all the ingredients.
    Ingredients for beef kushiyaki.
  • Cut beef into 1 x 1 inch strips/squares and sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides. For best results, let salt marinate into beef for 10 minutes at room temperature.
    Seasoned strips of beef.
  • Soak wooden skewers in water for at least 10 minutes.
    Seasoned strips of beef.
  • Slice optional green onions and set aside (we slice them at a 45 degree angle).
    Sliced green onions.
  • Finely dice 1 clove of garlic and cut the renaming garlic clove in halves.
    Minced garlic.
  • In a stove top pot, add all the ingredients for the sauce - Soy Sauce, Japanese Sake, Water, sweetener, Bonito Flakes, and half of the diced garlic - and bring to boil. Once boiling, reduce to simmer heat and let sauce reduce for 7-10 minutes or until slightly reduced. Once reduced, strain sauce with strainer and make sure to squeeze/press any excess sauce from the bonito flakes. Note - if you are making more sauce, it will take longer to reduce.
    Beef kushiyaki sauce in a pot.
  • Skewer each piece of beef. For every 2-3 pieces of meat, place garlic halve in between as shown in picture below.
    Beef kushiyaki skewered.
  • Preheat grill to 350F. Once grill is preheated, reduce heat to medium-low and place skewers on the grill. Take a basting brush and generously brush sauce on each skewer and cook covered for 2 minutes. Flip beef after 2 minutes and baste once again. Cover and cook for an additional 1-2 minute until meat reaches your liking. Discard remaining basting sauce. Serve with sprinkle of optional Toasted Sesame Seed, green onions and lemon wedge.
    Beef kushiyaki being grilled.


Calories: 283kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 62mg | Sodium: 854mg | Potassium: 558mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 21IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 2mg
*Values Based Per Serving
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