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How to make Hawaii-style barbecue (teriyaki) sauce. A recipe.

Kau Kau Connection: Hawaiian “Barbecue”
(excerpted from "Kau Kau: Cuisine and Culture in the Hawaiian Islands," by Arnold Hiura, Watermark Publishing, 2009. Reprinted with permission.)

In the Islands, some form of local “barbecue” sauce (i.e., teriyaki) might just be the most popular and versatile means of flavoring any combination of meat, poultry, seafood, and vegetables. Many recipes (including classics like beef tomato, chop steak or pork tofu) rely on some combination of shoyu, sugar, ginger and garlic. Therefore, I am proud to share what is possibly one of the all-time, all-around best local-style teriyaki sauces ever created. My father-in-law, Larry Nakama, passed his legendary teriyaki sauce recipe on to his children, and his daughter, Eloise Nakama Hiura, describes it here:

Dad used a one-gallon glass mayonnaise jar to make his teriyaki sauce. He kept the sauce handy and used it in preparing all sorts of dishes until it ran out and he would have to whip up another batch. I recall my first lesson in making the sauce was to learn how to “eyeball” the ingredients and taste the sauce in between to adjust—Dad didn’t measure anything.

hawaii_style_barbecue_teriyaki_sauce_recipeFirst, he poured the shoyu in, about 2/3 of the jar. Second, he added the sugar until the mixture rose to fill ¾ of the jar. Third was sherry wine (my sister Joan says other types of wine could be substituted, but I remember Dad specifically sending me to the store for sherry). The sherry raised the mixture about another inch above the previous level. Then he lined the lid with wax paper, covered the jar and shook it to mix the ingredients. Next, he tasted it to see if he needed to adjust the flavor with more shoyu, sugar or sherry.

Finally, Dad poured some oil in a skillet and, while it was heating, peeled and crushed some ginger and cloves of garlic. He would brown the ginger first and scoop it into the jar; then he browned the garlic and poured it in. Of course, not everyone can get their hands on a gallon-sized glass mayonnaise jar, so—as best as we can tell—here is Dad’s recipe translated into measurable form:

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