Teriyaki and BBQ Sauce

Teriyaki Sauce vs BBQ Sauce (What Are The Differences?)

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When it comes to using sauces while cooking, you might be confused about whether to use teriyaki or barbecue sauce for that extra kick of flavor. Both sauces give a meal an exceptional depth of flavor. But when it comes to teriyaki sauce vs. bbq sauce, what is the difference? Let’s get into it. 

Both Teriyaki sauce and BBQ sauces are added to dishes for a strong hit of flavor. But at the base, their ingredients are different. One is from America, while the other is a little more culturally diverse. Apart from that, there are distinctions in flavor and usage as well.

When you are cooking with sauces, it is pretty easy to get caught up between the two similar yet unique sauces. How can you differentiate between them? How can you test and make them at home? And more importantly, is one better than the other? Keep reading to find out!

Teriyaki vs. BBQ Sauce

The base ingredients for teriyaki and bbq sauce are different. Where one uses soy sauce, the other can use vinegar, tomato paste, or even mayonnaise. In different cuisines, you can see the sauces in dishes that are completely different from each other. So, it is not easy to answer whether one is better than the other. They are the best choices for different dishes. 

To understand more about what the sauces are, let’s get into a bit about how the sauce came to be. 

Teriyaki Sauce

Saba fish in teriyaki sauce
Saba fish in teriyaki sauce

Teriyaki sauce is a glaze that people use when cooking teriyaki dishes. The word teriyaki comes from teri, which means shine, and yaki, meaning grilling or boiling. The glaze for this type of cooking is our soy sauce-based cooking condiment. 

You may notice teriyaki sauce is mostly in Japanese or Japanese fusion cuisines. While teriyaki is commonly used in fish dishes in Japanese cuisine, it is also used as a glaze for white and red meat dishes in the West.

The taste of teriyaki is sweet, salty, and tangy. According to food history experts, it was as early as the 1700s when teriyaki was first used in cooking. You can use the sauce for marinating as well as a post-cooking glaze or sauce. 

BBQ Sauce

Ribs with BBQ Sauce
Ribs with BBQ Sauce

BBQ sauce is one of the most popular condiments in the US, as well as the rest of the Western world. This sauce uses a variety of condiments as its base. This can be either vinegar, tomato paste, or mayonnaise. Along with a lot of other spices, this combination gives the sauce a strong, sweet taste. 

Just like teriyaki sauce, bbq sauce derives its name from the cooking style. The barbeque style of cooking led to the development of a sauce that suits this type of cooking best. And so, we have a barbeque sauce perfect for meat cooked on a grill or open fire. 

Many people agree that barbecue sauce originated in the 17th century American colonies. In the early days of bbq sauce, the sauce was vinegar, salt, and pepper only. Gradually, more spices and condiments were added to give it the sweet and smokey taste it has today. 

The Differences Between Teriyaki And BBQ Sauce

The differences between teriyaki and bbq are not only in the ingredients and their histories. The sauces have too many variants depending on where you use them. Additionally, the taste can also vary from place to place. It may not be the best idea to substitute one for the other. And here is why. 

The Ingredients

As I mentioned before, the base condiments for the sauces are different. That is because teriyaki sauce is supposed to make the food taste tangy as well as sweet and savory. And for bbq, the sweet and smoky flavors should enhance the smoky flavor of the grilled meat and cover it with a strong sweet taste. 

In teriyaki sauce, the base is any soy sauce. On top of that, there is brown sugar, sake, honey, garlic, and ginger. One ingredient that you cannot miss is mirin. Mirin is a kind of rice wine that adds sweetness to the teriyaki sauce. Besides these base ingredients, a lot of people add flavor enhancers, preservatives, and other spices. 

BBQ sauce, on the other hand, has to be smokey. People generally use it for smoked meats or anything that you can cook on the grill. Its purpose is to add moisture as well as add a new profile of taste to it. There are many recipes for bbq sauce, but the basic ingredients are the same. You will need vinegar, hot peppers, hot spices, tomato paste, and sugar. 

The Uses

The use of teriyaki and barbecue sauces was created for completely different purposes. The teriyaki sauce was intended to be used as a glaze to add shine and taste to the meal. On the other hand, barbecue sauce began as a technique to preserve the smokey flavor of meats while also adding some flavor to them.

These sauces are now used for a variety of reasons other than those mentioned earlier. Teriyaki is a flavor that can be found on a variety of fast-food menus. The sauce is used as a marinade for fish in Japanese cuisine, or to create a teriyaki glaze. And, given the incredible flavor, seeing a teriyaki chicken burger in America isn’t unusual these days.

And barbecue sauce is a staple in every American refrigerator. You probably already have it with fries, or even dip your vegetable snacks in it. On grilled meats, a little homemade barbeque sauce makes a big difference. However, it is normal to have a store-bought bottle in the kitchen to complement your food.

The Taste

In teriyaki sauce, the first flavors you will notice are how sweet and tangy it is at the same time. The saltiness in it only adds to enhancing the flavor of the base vinegar and soy sauce. That is why it works great as a marinade for any kind of protein. And it is a thin sauce, so you can brush it on grilled food items as much as you want. 

For bbq sauce, the flavor hits you all at once. There are thin and thick bbq sauces, although thick is more common as a household favorite. This sauce has a sweet, almost tangy flavor that smells like someone just took it off the grill. The depth of its dark sweetness is what makes it more of a favorite for people to dip any snack in.  

What If You Mix Teriyaki And BBQ Sauce? 

Teriyaki BBQ sauce—it exists. This condiment is something you will have to make yourself. It adds the best parts of both sauces—the tanginess and savory taste of teriyaki and sweetness and smokey notes of the bbq sauce. So how can you make it?


For ingredients, you will need these items.

– 1 tbsp sesame oil

– ¼ cup minced onions

– 4 garlic cloves minced

– 1 tbsp freshly ground ginger

– 1 can of crushed pineapple in syrup, 20 oz can

– 1 cup of brown sugar

– ½ cup ketchup 

– ½ cup water

– ½ cup teriyaki sauce

– 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

– ¼ cup molasses

– ¼ cup rice wine vinegar


Follow these instructions step by step to make sure you get the perfect teriyaki BBQ sauce. 

Step 1: Take a medium-sized saucepan and use your sesame oil to season it for a bit. Then add the onions, garlic, and ginger to saute and stir frequently till it turns into a soft mush. 

Step 2: Once it is soft and smells good, add your dry and wet condiments into the pan. Wait till it boils, and then reduce the heat so it can simmer for around 20 minutes. After it reduces this way and turns thick, you can take it off the heat. 

Step 3: Off the heat, wait till it is room temperature. Then, put it in a blender and blend it until it turns completely smooth. 

Step 4: After this, you can use it immediately or cool it down completely and preserve it in a jar.

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