I don’t know about you, but I get stuck in a food rut mid-summer. (And seriously, rut sounds like a word when you say it but does not look right when typed.) Burgers, sausage and corn are delicious, of course, but I’m just about maxed out. The only solution? Add kimchi. I know I’m late to the Korean Taco game, but I can’t wait to share how we make them Chez Cooking Onions. And sure, you can buy a jar of Korean BBQ/Bulgogi marinade at most stores now, but it is so much better when you make it yourself. And is there anything cooler than making your own crazy fusion street food wannabe tacos? I think not. Even cooler? That you can make them all year long with the help of your slow cooker!
The hardest part about making kalbi and bulgogi is finding the right cut of beef at your local grocery store. And what’s the difference between the two? Kalbi is a Korean cut of short ribs and bulgogi is thinly cut porterhouse steak. Both are delicious AND typically only available at a Korean grocery store. But this is a taco we’re talking about, so we’re not going to over-complicate things. Instead, we’re using brisket so that we can cook it low and slow in the slow cooker. (That sounds redundant, does it?) Still meaty and delicious, but easier to find and no need to avoid bones in your taco. And it has a lot of surface area and to soak up the tasty sauce. I’ve tried the same marinade on sirloin steaks, flank steak and chicken and they all have had delicious results when grilled, so don’t be scared off if a huge brisket is intimidating.
Toppings are critical for Korean tacos because you need to add heat and crunch for balance. Of course you need kimchi, but a quick cabbage slaw provides crunch and makes a tasty side dish. And there’s nothing traditional about dish, so go crazy and improvise if you want. Shredded veggies on top are always delicious, maybe some pickled onions, but I’m getting carried away. And did you notice the Mexican Coke in the recipe? I saw this in a bulgogi recipe ages ago, although I can’t remember where. But it tenderizes the meat and adds sweetness –perfect for tacos. More traditional bulgogi recipes call for apple for the same purpose, but this is much easier. And you don’t have to use Mexican Coca-Cola, but please stick with a cola that contains real sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners. For your health, of course, but also because this just tastes better. Plus, Korean beef + corn tortillas + Mexican Coca-Cola = Fusion! But you don’t need to save this meat just for tacos – it is AMAZING on salads, rice, ramen. Pretty much anything that you can stick your fork in.
Speaking of fusion, I wanted to share this cool graphic with you guys from my friends at Kendall College. Seriously, fusion food is really simple. And check out Kendall’s blog for details on Chicago-area fusion restaurants. And a quick shout-out: I’m a huge fan of their TASTE classes too, if you live around Chicago and want to upgrade your cooking skills. Their boot camp classes were a huge help for me – I learned everything from knife skills to how to truss a chicken.
|Slow Cooker Korean Brisket Tacos|| |
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- ½ cup Mexican Coca-Cola
- 3 -4 lb brisket
- ⅓ cup mayonnaise + more to preference
- 1-2 tablespoons gochujang
- 4 cups shredded napa cabbage (1 small cabbage)
- 2 carrots, shredded
- 2 scallions, finely sliced
- 1 giant handful cilantro, finely sliced
- Mix together marinade ingredients
- Add brisket to slow cooker and pour marinade on top
- Cook on low for 10-12 hours, or until brisket is tender
- Shred meat with fork
- Whisk together mayonnaise and gochujang in the base of a large bowl
- Add in remaining ingredients and toss until coated
- Adjust mayo and gochujang to taste
- Serve brisket in warm tortillas topped with slaw.