How often do you use your crockpot? A while back, mine actually broke. The safety glass in the lid exploded into eleventy billion perfect little squares that scattered across the kitchen and pantry floor. And none of us were wearing shoes.
I wasn’t that sad. Aside from pulled pork and french dip sandwiches, it saw little action. I didn’t really miss it at first. A covered dutch oven and a 275 degree-oven produces the same fall-apart, amazingly tender meats as a crockpot. But I couldn’t leave to run errands with the oven on. And heating up the oven for 6-8 hours seems less energy-efficient. So I begrudgingly replaced it a couple of weeks ago.
These tacos were one of the first things I made in the new crockpot (which is digital! And programmable! And has a tiny hole in the lid for a digital thermometer!). I saw them on My Life as a Mrs last week – she combined Joelen’s Korean beef short rib recipe with Jaden’s pickled cucumbers to make a taco so flavorful, it gives my beloved smoked brisket taco a run for its money. For real.
The meat is cooked in a mixture of soy, brown sugar, garlic, fresh ginger – and the sriracha I added for extra heat. 3 hours into it, if you’re home, your house will smell amazing! Because I used quite a bit less brown sugar than the original recipe called for and I added extra water that the original recipe didn’t call for, I reduced some of the liquid in a sauce pan while I was shredding the cooked beef. This concentrated the flavors and made a thicker glaze that nicely coated the beef. Certainly not required if you’re in a hurry. But totally worth it if you’ve got time.
We served the tacos topped with a cucumber slaw, bean sprouts, cilantro, additional sriracha, and a dollop of Greek yogurt.The cucumber slaw adds a cool, tangy, fresh crunch to the tacos. They’re also loaded with water so I took the extra step of salting them to pull out some of the excess moisture since I was making the slaw ahead of time.
Tina noted that short ribs were quite pricey in her area and used back ribs instead. I have successfully used chuck roast (which is what I use for french dip sandwiches). As for the leftovers? If you get tired of tacos, tuck the leftovers and a couple of mango slices inside a spring roll wrapper.
Crockpot Korean Beef Tacos with Cucumber Slaw
Tacos filled with sweet, tender Korean-style beef and tangy cucumber slaw.
- For the Korean beef:
- ~5 lbs beef short ribs (can also use chuck roast or back ribs)
- 1 bottle (10 oz) low sodium soy sauce
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 Tbsp ginger, grated
- 6 Tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 Tbsp dark sesame oil
- 2 Tbsp vegetable or olive oil
- 2 Tbsp sriracha
- 1 cup water (optional)
- For the Cucumber Slaw:
- 1 cucumber (seedless recommended)
- Thinly sliced red onion rounds
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
- crushed red pepper flakes to taste
- For the tacos:
- 16 small wheat tortillas
- bean sprouts
- Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
- To make the cucumber slaw, slice the cucumber very thinly and sprinkle with salt. Place in a colander and let sit for up to an hour over a bowl or in the sink.
- Shake additional water from the colander or pat with paper towels.
- Transfer to a bowl and toss with red onions, rice vinegar, and red pepper flakes. Refrigerate until ready to use (leftovers get less and less crunchy as they sit but it can be made ahead, just pour off any accumulated liquid and toss with an additional 1-2 tsp vinegar to taste, if necessary).
- To make the Korean beef for the tacos, spray your slow cooker crock with non-stick cooking spray and add the ribs.
- Whisk soy sauce, sugar, and vinegar with the garlic, ginger, sriracha, and oils.
- Pour over the ribs in the crockpot. (I thought the liquid level looked a little low so I added ~ 1 1/2 cups of water.)
- Cook on low for 8 hours.
- (optional) Remove 1 1/2 cups of the cooking liquid and skim the fat from the top. Pour the liquid into a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer while separating the meat from the bones. Reduce the liquid by about half and pour over the shredded meat.
- To assemble, serve the shredded meat on warmed tortillas topped a spoon of cucumber slaw, cilantro, bean sprouts, sriracha and a dollop of yogurt.
Yields: 8 servings
Estimated time: 9 hours