Beef Yakiniku

Experience the mouthwatering delight of my Beef Yakiniku, a classic Japanese BBQ dish that brings the art of grilling thin strips of beef to your home! With its homemade tare sauce, a blend of savory and sweet, this recipe offers an authentic taste of Japanese cuisine. Get ready to transport your taste buds to the heart of Japanese grilling traditions!

Japanese grilled beef yakiniku being dipping into a homemade yakiniku sauce.

Why I Love This Recipe

Beef Yakiniku is a delightful celebration of Japanese cuisine that holds a special place in my heart. It takes tender beef strips and transforms them into a masterpiece by seasoning them with a simple yet irresistible blend of salt and black pepper. The real magic happens with my homemade yakiniku sauce, a combination of Japanese sake, soy sauce, sweetener, grated apple, toasted sesame oil, and other staple Japanese ingredients, creating a burst of umami and sweet flavors! This dish is a delightful representation of Japanese BBQ, perfect for me as I seek a savory, meaty experience any chance I can get!

My yakiniku recipe offers a taste of authentic Japanese grilling in the comfort of your home made hassle-free. In the realm of Japanese cuisine, yakiniku is to grilled beef what Yakitori is to grilled chicken and Kushiyaki is to grilled skewers, making it an essential addition your collection of Japanese recipes!



  • Beef – ribeye, chuck, or flank cut into 1/2 inch strips.
  • Salt – sea salt preferred.
  • Black Pepper – ground.
  • 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. 
  • Soy Sauce – low-sodium Soy Sauce preferred. Can also use tamari for gluten-free.
  • 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 grated garlic.
  • Apple – grated using a hand grater.
  • Toasted Sesame Oil – 100% Toasted Sesame Oil that should have a dark brown color.  
  • Toasted Sesame Seeds – optional garnish.
  • Rice VinegarRice Vinegar distilled from rice used in Asian cuisine. Can sub with distilled white vinegar.

Additional Vegetables To Grill

Enhance your grilled dish with a variety of vegetables such as Shishito, Onions, Bell Pepper, Mushrooms, Carrots, Squash, Corn, and Kabocha (Japanese Pumpkin).

🥩 Beef Ingredient Note

For the best results in your Beef Yakiniku, it’s recommended to use cuts such as Ribeye, Flank, or Sirloin. These cuts are ideal for yakiniku and can often be found labeled specifically for this purpose at Asian grocery stores.

🍶 Mirin Ingredient Note

While mirin is traditionally used to make this yakiniku tare, 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 yakiniku sauce even when mirin is not at hand.

Yakiniku beef served on a black slate with veggies.

Essential Kitchen Equipment

  • Gas or Charcoal BBQ Grill


Step 1 Prepare the yakiniku sauce by combining Japanese sake, sweetener, soy sauce, and hondashi or bonito flakes in a pot. Bring it to a boil and then let it cool down.

Homemade yakiniku 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 2 Once the sauce has cooled, add grated apple, grated garlic, toasted sesame oil, toasted sesame seeds, black pepper, and rice vinegar. Mix these ingredients thoroughly and store the sauce in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.

Homemade yakiniku sauce in a bowl.

🥢 Tare Flavor Pro Tip

The longer the tare sauce marinates, the more flavorful it will become. For optimal results, consider letting it Rest Overnight to develop rich and robust flavors.

Step 3 Season your beef strips with a pinch of salt and black pepper. Grill them on a BBQ along with your choice of vegetables. Cover them as they grill until they reach your desired level of doneness.

Yakiniku beef being grilled on the BBQ.

🔥 Grilling Pro Tip

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

Step 4 Serve the grilled beef and vegetables with the prepared yakiniku tare.

Homemade yakiniku served on a plate with tare sauce.

Paring Recommendations

Start with a side of Garlic Edamame, which adds a burst of flavor and a touch of freshness to your meal. Pair your Yakiniku with your choice of rice, be it fluffy steamed white rice, nutritious brown rice or low carb cauliflower rice. To complete the authentic Japanese experience, a bowl of Tofu Miso Soup with its savory umami notes will perfectly balance the rich flavors of the beef.

Japanese style grilled beef yakiniku on the grill with vegetables.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I prepare the Yakiniku sauce in advance and store it for later use?

Absolutely, preparing the Yakiniku sauce in advance and letting it sit in the fridge is a great idea. This resting period allows all the flavors to meld together, resulting in a bolder and more delicious sauce. You can store the tare sauce in an airtight container in the fridge, and it will remain good for 14-21 days, making it convenient for multiple servings.

Can I make this recipe without a grill?

Certainly, you can still make this recipe without a grill by pan-searing the meat. However, it's important to note that you might miss out on the smoky BBQ flavors that add a special touch to yakiniku when it's grilled.


Japanese grilled beef yakiniku served with yakiniku sauce and veggies, top down shot.

Storage Tips

To store leftovers, place the grilled beef and dipping sauce in separate airtight containers. Store them in the fridge where the grilled beef will be good for 3 to 5 days and the sauce will hold for 14-21 days. When you’re ready to enjoy them again, simply reheat the meat in the microwave until it reaches your desired temperature.

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Watch How To Make It

Japanese grilled beef yakiniku served with yakiniku sauce and veggies, top down shot.

Beef Yakiniku

Indulge in the mouthwatering flavors of Beef Yakiniku, a classic Japanese BBQ dish.
4.50 from 8 votes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: beef yakiniku, Japanese bbq recipe
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 2
Print Recipe
Calories: 545kcal



  • 3/4 lb Beef Ribeye, Chuck, or Flank in 1/2" Strips
  • 1/8 tsp Salt
  • 1/8 tsp Black Pepper

Yakiniku Sauce


  • Gather all the ingredients.
    Ingredients for Japanese beef yakiniku.
  • Use a paper towel to pat down any excess moisture from slices of beef. Sprinkle on salt and black pepper and set aside at room temperature.
    Seasoned yakiniku beef.
  • In a stove top pot, add Japanese sake, sweetener, Soy Sauce and Bonito Flakes (or hondashi) and bring to boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to simmer and let it simmer for 1 minute. After 1 minute has passed, strain Bonito Flakes with a strainer and use a spoon to push out any excess juices from the Bonito Flakes. Transfer sauce to a mixing bowl and set aside to cool down. Note - if using hondashi, no need to strain.
    Homemade yakiniku sauce in a pot.
  • Peel the apple and grate it, along with the garlic cloves, using a grater. Put them into a mixing bowl along with Toasted Sesame Oil, Toasted Sesame Seeds, Black Pepper, and Rice Vinegar. Mix the sauce thoroughly and refrigerate it until you're ready to use. Note that the yakiniku dipping sauce will have the best flavor if allowed to sit in the fridge overnight, but it's not mandatory.
    Homemade yakiniku sauce in a bowl.
  • Preheat the grill to approximately 350°F. Once it reaches the desired temperature, lay the beef slices on the grill. Close the lid and grill for about 1 minute until they are nicely browned. Flip the beef and grill for an additional minute or to your preferred level of doneness. Transfer the grilled beef to a serving plate and enjoy it with yakiniku dipping sauce.
    Homemade yakiniku served on a plate with tare sauce.


Calories: 545kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 42g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 121mg | Sodium: 1769mg | Potassium: 520mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 4mg
*Values Based Per Serving
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