January 26th, 2015

Korean-style Beef Short Rib Tacos

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I don’t know too much about Korean food, but on the rare occasions that I dine on dishes like Bibimbap or Galbi Jjim at one of the homespun Korean eateries here in Nashville, I always experience this brilliant palate awakening. The spices, sugar and chili pepper heat, fermented vegetables and grilled meat hit on all the taste buds: Sweet-salty-sour-bitter-umami.

Envigorating!

And I chide myself: Why don’t I eat here more often? Why don’t I try to cook like this?

The truth is, I tend to cook in my culture-comfort zone–which is a mish-mash of Italian-French-Southern-New American whatever! But today’s post reflects a little expansion beyond that zone.

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It’s not authentic Korean, to be sure. The seasoning of the meat–soy-ginger-garlic-sesame—falls in line. Lashing it with the sweet-sour crunch of pickled red cabbage and grassy fresh cilantro fits too–although it’s much tamer than traditional Kim-chi. And, eating it wrapped in a griddled corn tortilla makes it more like Mexi-Korean fusion.

No matter. The result is simply delicious.

Kogi BBQ, a food truck in the Los Angeles area, gets the credit for originating the cleverly filled tacos over 6 years ago. It’s an idea that has caught on across the country–and inspired all manner of taco fusion treats.

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My prompt started back in December, when I had purchased–and overbought– some boneless beef short rib for a big family meal. (which was a classic French preparation.) I put the extra meat into the freezer, knowing that I’d soon have the chance to use it in a different flavor profile:

Tacos inspired by Kogi, for our community potluck.

I did a little research, and put together my plan.

First: the marinade. Easy to make–what is key is allowing enough time for it to permeate the meat. Six to eight hours, if you start in the morning. A 12 hour-overnight would be even better. Don’t worry if you can’t locate an Asian pear. I used an apple that I already had! The texture and mild sweet fruit taste gets communicated into the mix.

Note: if you cannot, for whatever reason, get short rib then I recommend flank steak. These Korean-style beef tacos at Cooking Light use it to great advantage—marinated and grilled.

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Next: The Sear and the Braise. It’s important to get a nice rich brown finish on the beef. The marinade goes far in that regard, caramelizing as you sear the meat. Once you’ve accomplished that, you smother the strips in deglazed juices from the pan, along with the remaining marinade.

Cover and place into a low oven and forget about the meat for the next two to three hours.

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What emerges, after that time, is succulent beef, steeped in garlicky gingery tastes.
You really don’t need a knife to shred the meat for the filling–pick it apart with a fork.
Save all those braising juices, too.

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I didn’t have the time needed to make Kimchi, which is about a week. Instead, I whipped up a quick pickled slaw, using red cabbage and red onion. In short order, it provided a snappy sweet-sour topping.

Finish the taco with some cilantro and a stripe of Sriracha sauce.

Gosh, these were good.

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KOREAN STYLE BRAISED BEEF SHORT RIB TACOS
3 pounds boneless beef short ribs
marinade and braising mixture
vegetable oil

The Marinade:
1 Gala apple or Asian Pear, cored and chopped
1 small onion, peeled and quartered
4-6 cloves garlic, peeled
2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
3/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup mirin
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons sesame oil
a few pinches red pepper flakes

Place the apple, onion, garlic, and ginger into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse the ingredients together.

Add the soy sauce, mirin, brown sugar, water, and sesame oil. Process until smooth.

Place the meat into a non-reactive bowl or container. Pour about 1/2 of the marinade over the meat (reserving the rest for later use in the recipe.) Make sure the meat is well coated. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes. Cover and refrigerate–marinating overnight is best.

The Braise:
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Place a large skillet or pot on medium heat. Add 2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil.
Remove the beef from the marinade and brown the pieces a few minutes on each side.
Place the browned pieces into a shallow baking dish.
Pour remaining marinade over the beef.
Cover with aluminum foil and oven-braise for 3 hours.
When done, the meat will be juicy and fork-tender.

When the meat is cool enough to handle, break it up into small pieces for the tacos. Pour braising juices over the meat. Keep warm until ready to assemble the tacos.

Makes 2 dozen 6 inch tacos

“PICKLED RED” RED CABBAGE AND RED ONION SLAW
1/2 head red cabbage
1/2 large red onion
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt

Slice the cabbage as thinly as possible and place into a mixing bowl.
Slice the onion as thinly as possible and add to the cabbage.
In a separate bowl, whisk the vinegar, sugar, and salt together.
Pour over the slaw and let marinate for 20 minutes.

TACO ASSEMBLY
warm beef in braising juices
pickled red slaw
1 bunch fresh cilantro, leaves picked and coarsely chopped
24 6 inch corn tortillas
Sriracha hot sauce

Place a skillet on medium heat. Brown the tortillas on both sides–about 1 minute a side.
Spoon in the beef. Top with pickled red slaw, fresh cilantro, and a squirt of Sriracha hot sauce.

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Posted in Gluten Free, Meats/Poultry, Recipes, Sandwiches

16 Responses to “Korean-style Beef Short Rib Tacos”
  1. Emily Grace Says:

    Beautiful beef!

  2. Tammy Says:

    My husband may leave me for these Nancy! Your timing is spot on with Super Bowl this weekend.

  3. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Thank you, Emily Grace–and thanks for stopping by!

    HI Tammy—I’m not much on football, but you are right, these would be ideal Super Bowl eats!

  4. Barbara Greene Says:

    These beef ribs look divine! They almost look to good to be eaten in a taco, however, I am sure served Mexican style is yummy as well.

  5. paulette Says:

    And they were very good! I’m so glad to have had the pleasure of tasting this terrific recipe at the potluck. Dynamo! Thanks for the showing us how…

  6. Johanne Lamarche Says:

    OMG! these look unbelievable. YUM!

  7. Joyti Says:

    I don’t eat beef, but the marinade sounds delicious…

  8. goodfoodmatters Says:

    HI Barbara—the meat is so rich, that it works really well in a taco–balanced by the “pickled red”and cilantro.

    Thanks Paulette–I was glad that you got to enjoy them at potluck.

    Hi Johanne–these really delivered big YUM taste.

    Hi Joyti–the marinade is very good, it might work well on tofu or seitan.

  9. Barbara Says:

    Great color, Nancy. And the marinade sounds delicious. Your faux kimchi is just right, in my opinion. Who has a week to make anything? :)

  10. Kitchen Belleicious Says:

    i can;t tell you how many times we eat tacos and I can’t tell you how many times we eat short ribs but in all of those times I have never thought to put the two together. Amazing idea. they look amazing!

  11. Teresa Blackburn Says:

    Yum Nance. I am so sorry I missed these tacos at last Third Thursday due to lots of work and a late day, but my mouth is watering as I look at them. I can just taste the juicy, spicy goodness with the crunch coming from the cole slaw…which I prefer over Kim Chee any day. Great post of goodness.

  12. Beth Says:

    This is a little outside my comfort zone too – but it sounds so delicious, I think I have to try them!

  13. Juliana Says:

    Oh Nancy, these tacos with Korean short ribs sound and look delicious, my mouth is watering just to imagine how this tacos taste…I love the fruity and spicy ingredients…yum!
    Thanks for the inspiration…hope you are having a great week :)

  14. Kath Says:

    I love the colours in the slaw contrasting with the beef. The tacos look delicious.

  15. Gerlinde Says:

    I also need to leave my comfort zone and this recipe might do it. Thank you.

  16. David Miller Says:

    This looks so yummy! Can’t wait to try it! I’m cooking the next 2 weeks dinner.My family members like beef.



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