Friday, May 31, 2013

Korean BBQ Kogi Tacos

Are they Korean, are they Mexican? I guess you would have to call these fusion food. Whatever they are, they are FABULOUS! I feel bad for all of the vegetarians out there who will never get to experience this amazing taco. They are a perfect blend of tender grilled steak and spicy sweet coleslaw neatly contained in a soft taco shell and topped with sriracha sauce, my new favorite condiment. Sriracha is a spicy sweet chili sauce with the rooster on the bottle, you can get more info on sriracha here:

I saw the famous Los Angeles based Kogi Taco food truck ( on the Food Network’s “Best Thing I Ever Ate” episode one weekend and couldn't wait to make them. The popular Kogi Taco truck has become an iconic symbol of LA street food, raising the standard of fast food. If you are lucky enough to live in LA, you can get one of their delicious beef tacos for a little over $2. That is if they are not sold out by the time you reach the counter, lines are long. They have a website where you can check the location and times of their trucks each day and they use Twitter to announce their locations.

Unfortunately I do not live in LA, so I had to come up with my “dejavu” version of Kogi tacos. I found a few food blogs that I used as a starting point, and both had really good versions that I knew I could tweak for my family’s tastes.
So if you can’t get to LA, or just don’t want to wait on the long lines, try my version. I have made this several times for my family, and this past weekend, I made it for the first time for a large group of family and friends. None of them had ever heard of Kogi tacos, so I had to give a demonstration on assembling.

This is a great item to serve a crowd, because a little meat goes a long way when you are making tacos. I doubled the recipe for 14 people and had meat leftover.
Big success, HUGE!
I also made 2 trays of really good chicken francese and my mother in law made her famous eggplant parmesan, but it just wasn’t a fair competition, the star of the buffet were the Kogi tacos.
It’s sweet, it’s savory, it’s spicy, you must try these.

My version is a little different from traditional Korean BBQ. Most recipes I found called for beef short ribs. When I made these the first time I mistakenly bought loin flap beef. It is sold next to the short ribs at Costco, and when I asked for short ribs, the butcher handed me the flap meat. A delicious mistake and at $5.99 per pound, very reasonable. I went back and bought the actual short ribs a few weeks later, and we all preferred the loin flap meat version. You can find out more about flap meat at the Serious Eats website.

Let me know if your family loves these as much as mine does. One of my nephews wants to try it with chicken, I am sure that would be great also.
Make this for your family this weekend and let me know what you think.

       Korean BBQ Steak:
 3-4 pounds loin flap steak
       Beef Marinade
       1 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup mirin (sweetened sake)
6 cloves garlic
6 scallions
2 inch piece fresh peeled ginger, grated

Cilantro-Jalapeño Coleslaw :

1.5 cups red cabbage sliced
       1.5 cups white cabbage sliced
1 large sweet pepper diced any color
1 jalapeño small dice
6 scallions, diced
Bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped
      Coleslaw dressing:
       1 lime, juiced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon mirin
1 tablespoon sriracha or chili pepper sauce
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

       Optional salad instead of coleslaw (my kids don’t like coleslaw)
       Replace the cabbage above with 1 head of chopped romaine lettuce and
       1 cup of fresh diced tomatoes
       Remainder is same as the coleslaw recipe above.

For assembly:

10-15 tortillas

1.      In a food processor combine all marinade ingredients and pulse until blended.
2.      Reserve half of marinade and pour remainder over steak in plastic bag or container and marinate for 24 hours in refrigerator.
3.      Prepare coleslaw vegetables. Whisk coleslaw dressing ingredients and  add to vegetables a few hours before serving tacos to allow the flavors to blend. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
4.   Grill marinated steaks about 3 minutes per side, grill should be pretty hot. Remove to a platter to rest for ten minutes before slicing.
5.   Warm tacos on hot grill, just a few seconds per side.
6.   Heat reserved marinade on stovetop until reduced by half. Use as a sauce for the tacos.
7.   Slice steak against the grain.
8.   To assemble : Fill warmed taco shells with coleslaw or salad, top with sliced steak, reduced sauce and drizzle sriracha on top.

Note: Since the marinade has sugar in it, your grill will be a little messy after, just place clean foil on your grill and close the lid. Keep your grill on high for a few minutes. The stuck on mess should be reduced to ashes, if not, close the lid a few more minutes.

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