Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Slow-Cooker Korean Beef Tacos w/ Kimchi, Gochujang BBQ Sauce, Asian Slaw & Quick Pickles

Food trucks are rapidly becoming this year's hot new culinary trend, set to strip bacon and cupcakes of their previous titles. One of the most well-known food trucks is Kogi BBQ in LA; they serve an eclectic mix of traditional Korean foods, but in a more portable option, such as tacos and quesadillas.

Being that I probably won't make it out to LA anytime soon, combined with my love of tacos and confidence in preparing Korean cuisine, I decided to try my hand at replicating the much-loved Kogi taco.

I decided it was best to use bulgogi as the meat of the tacos. However, wanting to make this entire meal "make-ahead" (ok, and not wanting to deal with slicing the beef wafer-thin), I opted to slow-cooker a chuck roast with bulgogi marinade, resulting in the great taco-friendly texture of pulled pork and tenderness of pot roast, but with all of the rich Korean flavors of bulgogi.

In addition, I whipped up a gochujang BBQ sauce a la Kogi, along with some thinly sliced quick tsukemono (pickles), and a tart Asian slaw. Along with tortillas and some kimchi, this meal did require some effort, but it was well worth it. Using the slow cooker and making the taco toppings ahead of time made this meal easy to throw together and yielded plenty of good leftovers to layer atop a steaming bowl of bibimbap

Slow-Cooker Korean Beef Tacos w/ Kimchi, Gochujang BBQ Sauce, Asian Slaw & Quick Pickles
adapted from My Kitchen Addiction and Steamy Kitchen

Slow Cooker Korean Beef:
1 2lb beef chuck roast
5 green onions, sliced (white & green parts)
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tsp sesame oil
¼ cup dark brown sugar
1 Tbsp ginger, grated
4 cloves garlic, grated
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Asian Slaw:
¼ head cabbage, shredded
2 large carrots, shredded
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 handful cilantro, chopped
½ cup rice wine vinegar
¼ cup dark brown sugar
Zest & juice of 1 lime
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 tsp sesame oil
½ tsp Sriracha
Gochujang BBQ Sauce:
2 Tbsp gochujang (Korean fermented hot pepper paste)
3 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
2 tsp sesame oil
Quick Pickles:
2 Japanese cucumbers, thinly sliced with a mandoline
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
½ tsp sugar
½ tsp fresh minced chili pepper
Pinch of salt
Flour or corn tortillas
Sesame seeds
Lime wedges

Prepare Korean Beef: Sear beef roast on all sides in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Transfer to a slow cooker. Whisk together green onions, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, brown sugar, ginger, garlic and red pepper flakes.  Pour over beef, cover, and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or until beef is tender and pulls apart. Shred with forks, return to slow cooker, and cook, with lid off, for 30 minutes.

Prepare Slaw: Combine the cabbage, carrots, green onions and cilantro. Whisk together rice wine vinegar and brown sugar; microwave for 30 seconds and stir to dissolve the sugar. Whisk in the lime zest, lime juice, oils and Sriracha. Toss with cabbage mixture and chill 1 hour before serving. Make up to 1 day in advance. 

Prepare BBQ Sauce: Whisk gochujang, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and sesame oil together until sugar has dissolved and mixture is smooth. Let sit at least 1 hour before serving to allow flavors to meld. Make up to 2 days in advance.

Prepare Quick Pickles: Combine cucumbers with rice wine vinegar, sugar, chili pepper and salt. Chill for 1-2 hours before serving. Do not make these too far in advance, or the pickles will lose a good bit of their crunch.

Place meat in tortillas and top with sesame seeds. Garnish with slaw, pickles and kimchi. Top with bbq sauce and serve with lime wedges.


  1. WOW! This looks out of this world! I might have to improvise some (as my resources for an Asian Grocer are about an hour and half away!), but I looking forward to messing with this! Thanks so much for sharing it. My mouth is watering!

  2. Thank you!! You can always buy most Asian ingredients online (especially on Amazon) as well!

  3. mine came out WAY to salty. To start i did chicken and I pulled it out after 6 hours to shed it and it tasted good. I think the problem came when I put it back in shredded, it just absorbed all the liquid, and it was awful. So if you do chicken don't put it back in after shredded. The slaw was delicious!

  4. Thank you for posting your magical recipe, it was super good!

    1. Wonderful! I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

  5. Wow! I'm your biggest fan at the moment