Dec 3, 2015

Braised Korean BBQ Beef Tacos

Prep Time: 1 day
Cook Time: 3 hours
Braised beef short ribs in a flavorful soy sauce with kiwi to tenderize the meat served in corn tortillas with slaw inspired by my favorite Kogi tacos.
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Los Angeles has some of the best food trucks, and since my boyfriend and I are both obsessed with food, we sometimes make a date night out of choosing a food truck and tracking it down wherever it may be. We have driven an hour and a half just to go to a food truck.

The things you do for a food craving. One of our favorite trucks is Roy Choi’s Kogi Beef Truck. They make some of the best Korean BBQ tacos among other things, but if we aren’t in the mood to track down the truck on twitter, these braised tacos are a good alternative.

Braised Korean BBQ Beef Tacos

What’s in the marinade?

  • Kiwi
  • Garlic
  • Soy sauce
  • Sesame oil
  • Brown sugar
  • Rice Vinegar
  • Black pepper


broccoli slaw ingredients in a bowl

Ingredients needed to make Korean BBQ tacos


Kiwi tenderizes the meat in this recipe. Blend the kiwi into the marinade to add subtle flavor while enzymes in the fruit help break down the proteins in the meat resulting in juicy, pulled short ribs served as tacos.


I always use fresh cloves of garlic, the pre-minced jars of garlic don’t taste the same. It loses a lot of the powerful garlic flavor when it’s jarred since it’s soaked in water for a long period of time. Peeling garlic only takes a bit.

Soy Sauce

I use reduced sodium soy sauce so that I can control the amount of salt in the recipe, adding more if needed.

Sesame Oil

Toasted sesame oil has a strong nutty flavor and high smoke point (450ºF)

Brown Sugar

I use dark brown sugar in this recipe (dark or light refers to the amount of molasses in the sugar). The sugar helps to balance the savory flavors of the soy sauce and pungent garlic.

Rice Vinegar

Add vinegar to the marinade both to help to tenderize the meat as well as balance the sweet and savory flavors.

Short Ribs

I use bone-in beef short ribs in this recipe though boneless short ribs can be substituted as well. When purchasing short ribs, look for well-marbled, short ribs with good meat to bone ratio. They’re one of my favorite cuts of beef because when they are cooked slowly over a long period of time, they retain a meaty, beefy flavor and the collagen melts into the sauce all in one pot.

Sesame Seeds

I like the flavor of toasted sesame seeds over un-toasted. They are more of a garnish than used to flavor the recipe (most of the sesame flavor in this recipe comes from the sesame oil). If you don’t have toasted sesame seeds simply add them to a nonstick sauté pan and cook, stirring constantly, until the seeds turn a uniform golden brown color. Immediately remove them to a bowl to cool.

Green Onion

Garnish the tacos with diced green onion for a subtle punch. They’re members of the allium family (along with onions) and often interchangeably called scallions.

Broccoli Slaw

While you can often find pre-cut broccoli slaw in the grocery store in the same area as bagged lettuce and salads I prefer to make my own. First, it’s much fresher and second, I like to control the ingredients added. This is a great way to use leftover broccoli stalks after cutting and roasting the florets. I combine the shredded stalks with carrots and cabbage and season it with mirin and rice vinegar.


Mirin is a type of rice wine used as a seasoning. It can be found at an Asian market or online. If you cannot locate it then substitute with a dry white wine, such as Chardonnay or omit it entirely from the recipe.

Corn tortillas

The flavor of the corn works really well in this recipe though flour tortillas can also be used. I warm my corn tortillas by holding them over a medium flame on the stove with tongs.

Braised Korean BBQ Beef Tacos topped with broccoli and cabbage slaw in parchment paper

How to make this recipe

Step 1

Make the marinade. Blend the kiwi, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, rice vinegar and black pepper together.

Step 2

Add the marinade and the meat to a sealed container and refrigerate for at least 24 hours.

Step 3

Preheat the oven then add the marinade to a Dutch oven. Bring to a boil, then add and the ribs to the pot.

Step 4

Cover the pot, transfer to oven, and let slowly braise until the ribs are fork-tender.

Step 5

Remove the ribs from the marinade, and place on a cutting board. Shred the meat using two forks or with your fingers.

Step 6

Reduce the sauce until thickened and reduced. Strain the sauce and set aside.

Step 7

Mix the meat with the sauce. Top with green onions.

Step 8

Make the broccoli slaw. Shred the broccoli and combine with the cabbage and carrots then toss with the seasoning.

Step 9

Pile meat, and broccoli slaw onto warmed tortillas. Serve extra sauce and lime wedges on the side.

braised korean bbq tacos in yellow corn tortillas recipe

Why Braise meat?

Braising is the method of cooking meat at a low temperature for a long period of time in a tightly sealed container. It’s forgiving and it allows for tough cuts of meat to break down and become tender and juicy. Check out other comforting braise recipes here.

Tips for this recipe

How to Make the Korean BBQ In a Crockpot

Brown the short ribs then add to a crock-pot and pour sauce over the meat. Turn the Crockpot on low heat and cook for six to eight hours. Move the meat around occasionally so it cooks evenly. After the ribs are finished cooking and meat is tender, remove meat and skim the fat off the top of the pot. Set the meat aside and let it cool then shred the beef.

How to Reheat the Meat

If entertaining, braise the beef ahead of time and reheat it just before serving. This also allows the flavors to meld together.

Serving ideas

  • Serve the leftover braised beef over rice with steamed vegetables.
  • Use leftover beef in quesadillas with cheddar cheese with diced green onion and sesame seeds similar to this recipe where pork is used.
  • Shred the meat and serve on top of a pizza with mozzarella cheese, roasted corn, kimchi and green onion.
  • If you don’t have a food processor then use a coarse cheese grater to shred the broccoli.

Other Recipes to Try

Braised Korean BBQ Beef Tacos

Print Pin
Prep Time 1 day
Cook Time 3 hours
Serves 6


For the Korean beef:

  • 2 kiwis, peeled
  • 10 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup sesame oil
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup rice vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 5 pounds beef short ribs, bone in
  • ½ teaspoon toasted white sesame seeds
  • ¼ cup sliced green onion

For the broccoli slaw:

  • 1 large broccoli stalk, florets reserved for another use (about 2 pounds)
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled
  • 1 cup shredded cabbage
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Mirin
  • Kosher salt, , as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper, as needed

For serving:

  • 18 small corn or flour tortillas, for serving
  • Lime wedges, for serving


For the Korean beef:

  • Add the kiwi, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, rice vinegar and black pepper to a blender and blend until smooth. Add the marinade and the meat to a sealed container and refrigerate for at least 24 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 300°F (150ºC). Add the marinade to a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven with a cover. Put the pot over high heat and bring to a boil, then add 1 cup of water and the ribs to the pot bone side up and remove from heat.
  • Cover the pot, transfer to oven, and let slowly braise until the ribs are fork-tender, about 2 ½ hours. Remove the ribs from the marinade, and place on a cutting board. When cool to the touch, shred the meat using two forks or with your fingers. Move the shredded meat to a large bowl.
  • In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, simmer the remaining marinade until it has thickened and reduced, about 20 minutes. Skim off any fat and discard. Use a fine mesh strainer to strain the sauce and set aside. Ladle ¼ cup of the sauce onto the shredded meat and gently mix. Top with green onions and set aside.

For the broccoli slaw:

  • Shred the broccoli and carrots in a food processor using the grater disk (the attachment with the holes, not the blade. In a medium bowl combine shredded broccoli, carrots, cabbage, rice vinegar, mirin, salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.

For serving:

  • Pile meat, and broccoli slaw onto warmed tortillas. Serve extra sauce and lime wedges on the side.




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Recipe Rating

  1. My boyfriend, the smartaleck that he his, has a game he likes to play when I ask him what he wants for dinner. He’ll name two foods from opposite cuisines and ask me to put them together to make a single recipe. I stumbled upon this recipe when he listed tacos and Korean beef (at the time, I was not amused). It has become one of our all-time favorite recipes and have made it about 5 times. The recipe is amazing I follow it precisely and each time it comes out delicious. We like to eat the left over over steamed rice and veggies for Korean beef bowls. I’ve Never been so appreciative of such a stupid game. Thanks for sharing (:

    • haha I loved this story!!! I am so happy to hear that you both enjoy these tacos, they definitely are addicting and yes, I love serving the meat over rice too (sometimes I add the leftover beef to quesadillas too – equally as addicting). Thanks for sharing Lisa!