These Korean steak tacos are the business! Deliciously marinated steak cooked to perfection, spicy gochujang aioli, charred tortillas, and some cabbage for crunch. So simple to make and even easier to eat half a dozen! Read on to see how and why you should have these in your life 😉
THE BEST STEAK FOR KOREAN STEAK TACOS
It wouldn't be a Korean steak taco without the steak element. You can pretty much use any steak that will cook hot & fast - the BBQ term for cooking something quickly. But given it's a taco and we are marinating the steak and adding a KICK-ASS gochujang aioli, I tend to steer away from using ribeye/rib fillet, striploin/sirloin or tenderloin. Things like skirt, flank, hangar, or flap are the cuts I tend to lean towards.
Skirt - a cut that comes from the plate of the cow. The what? Right down underneath the belly. It's not prized for its tenderness but more for its flavour. This cut is perfect for marinating and cooking hot, fast and rare to medium-rare.
Flank - comes from a similar area to the skirt and is also long and truthfully kinda weird looking! Once again, it's about the marinade. Cook it hot and fast, cut against the grain and thin slices.
Flap meat - known as bavette in France or sirloin tip in the US. It's is a piece that is thin with similar grain and texture to skirt, flank, and hangar, making it ideal for cooking hot & fast and eating medium-rare. It takes well to being marinated and, of course, cutting thinly against the grain.
Hangar - prized for its flavour it comes from the plate, aka the upper belly of the cow. Once again, great to marinate and cook hot n fast. It's a little thicker than the likes of skirt or flank, but defo works well in tacos and/or fajitas.
MARINATING YOUR STEAK
Fajitas and tacos, to me, are all about the marinated piece of meat. Whether it's pork, chicken or beef, we are trying to impart MAXIMUM flavour to the meat so using either a dry rub or a wet rub is the key to tenderising the cuts mentioned above but also to take you one step closer to flavourtown 😉
Given we are using Asian flavours I have gone for a wet rub. Get your minds out of the gutter peeps! For this, I have used gochujang paste for a spicy kick (more about that in a minute), soy for its saltiness, ginger for its vibrant spice flavour, rice vinegar to help tenderise the meat, palm sugar to balance it all out and some oil to help it from sticking when we cook it.
Mix all the ingredients together, pop your steak of choice into a zip lock bag and cover with the marinade. Do this for a minimum of 30 mins but if you are organised then overnight is best!
The holy grail of Korean cooking. This stuff is simply wicked good! It's merely a red chili paste, but believe me, there is nothing simple about this delicious paste. It's spicy, sweet and sticky with a lovely fermented flavour too. Aside from chili, it contains soybeans, glutinous rice, and sometimes sugar as a sweetener. Spice levels vary with the brand, so bare that in mind. Don't just dunk a load in if you are used tom using a specific brand. It's got a great shelf (fridge) life once opened. It's quite thick, so it's usually thinned out with water/vinegar before use, and remember a little goes a long way!
MAKING GOCHUJANG AIOLI
By far, the best aioli I have made to date. Truthfully, I probably should have created a whole separate post just for it, but heck who doesn't love a 2 for 1!! Where possible, I like to keep it simple. So for this recipe, we basically chuck garlic, lime, salt, gochujang paste, egg yolks, and rice vinegar into a mini food processor. Whiz it up for a few seconds and then add oil (50:50 ratio of canola and olive) slowly to the blender and whiz it up some more. This will emulsify the sauce and thicken it up. After this, I like to add 1 tbsp of cold water and guess what - whiz it up! This thins out the sauce to the perfect consistency to drizzle all over those delicious Korean steak tacos!!
You can, of course, do this all by hand, but using either a stick blender or mini food processor will have the job done in seconds! The gochujang aioli will keep at it's best in the fridge for up to 5 days. Lather it on a burger, spread it on a sandwich or heck make the tacos again later in the week if you have any leftover 😉
KOREAN STEAK TACOS ACCOMPANIMENTS
The other beauty of tacos is the accompaniment is typically so darn easy. Cabbage! Red cabbage, white cabbage, or a combo of both. Obviously, you can start to sexy it up a bit and add other things too, but whatever you add - for me, it's all about adding some texture and crunch to the dish. Here are some alternatives if you want to move away from cabbage.
Radish - sweet, spicy with a little pepper flavour. These guys add lovely freshness and texture to any taco.
Coriander - you love it or hate it but to me, a taco ain't a taco without a sprinkling of coriander on top
Pickled onions - always a container in the fridge, these guys add a nice crunch but also a little zing to whatever they go on. Quick enough to make and a great shelf-life; you should defo click this LINK and whip some up!
Kale - if we are talking healthy, then here you go! Buy it whole and slice it thin, or if you are feeling lazy, then grab one of those ready-made kaleslaw bags most stores have!
Beansprouts - an excellent alternative to cabbage, they have a higher water content than cabbage, but they are fresh, healthy and won't take over the flavour profile of the steak and/or aioli.
I went a little leftfield on this one. Lately, I've gotten into some sparkling shiraz wines. The wife isn't a red drinker which is both good and bad, to be honest. Good as I can enjoy the bottle myself but bad because it makes it hard to choose wine together. She is, however, a HUGE bubbles fan, so I figured let's give sparkling red a go. It feels like a celebration opening bubbles and to me, any day that tacos are involved is a HUGE celebration, so these guys are already a great match 😉
The Syn Rouge by Leconfield is best drunk chilled. It has a deep red colour, rich and velvety yet medium-bodied. Pro tip - drinking some red wines slightly chilled helps soften the tannins so straight away the wife was happier. At $17 a bottle from winedirect.com.au, this was the PERFECT addition to taco Tuesday! Plenty of red berry fruit going on, a little chocolate on the nose, and plenty of 'moreish' on the palate.
It's got plenty of body to stand alongside the medium-rare steak and spicy gochujang aioli but not too much that they are fighting against each other. I would defo recommend introducing this to the cellar/fridge and cracking one when you make these Korean steak tacos!
MORE TACO INSPIRATION
Check out these other taco recipes from yours truly and some other kick-ass blogs I follow!
Blackened Salmon Tacos by Yours Truly
Roasted Chipotle Cauliflower Tacos by Jamie Chin of 'Drive Me Hungry'
Black Pudding Tacos by Yours Truly
Baja Fish Tacos by Amy Casebolt Nash of "House Of Nash Eats'
Steak Tacos 'Carne Asada Style' by Yours Truly
Grilled Chicken Tacos w/ Cilantro Lime Butter by Caitlyn Erhardt of 'Erhardts Eats'
Roasted Chickpea Tacos by Kelly Neil of 'Kelly Neil'
Papaya Chicken Tacos w/ Papaya Salsa by Kylie Archer of 'Kidgredients'
Happy Cooking and Happy Eating Friends!!!
- 400 g steak skirt, flank or hangar
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp gochujang paste
- 1 tbsp palm sugar
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp ginger grated
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- 1 tsp lime juice
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 egg yolks
- 3 tbsp gochujang paste
- 100 ml canola oil
- 100 ml olive oil
- 1 tbsp cold water
- 1 pinch salt
- 6 tortillas
- 1/4 red cabbage shredded
- 1 handful coriander leaves
- Place all ingredients EXCEPT oil and water in a mini food processor and blitz together for 10-15 seconds
- Combine the 2 oils together and while blending gradually add the oil. The sauce should be quite thick at this point. Add the cold water slowly while still blending to thin it out to a pourable state.
- Add all the marinade ingredients together and place in a ziplock bag with steak. Allow to marinate for minimum 30 minutes but overnight is best
- Grill steak on BBQ @ 250c for 3 mins each side or until internal temp is 54c for medium-rare *see tips*
- Rest for 6-8 minutes before slicing thinly.
- While the steak is resting, slice the red cabbage finely, pick the coriander leaves and char the tortillas
- Place some cabbage on the base of tortilla, add a slice of steak, top with aioli and a sprinkle of coriander. Eat (quickly no doubt) and repeat!
- chef knives
- chopping board
- mini food processor or whisk and elbow grease
- measuring utensils
- if not using a BBQ then cook the steak in a hot pan for a couple minutes each side and then into the oven for 3-4 minutes until 54c or desired temperature. If you cook it the whole time in a frying pan it will burn due to the sugars in the marinade
- aioli will keep best for up to 5 days in the fridge
- resting the steak is just as important as cooking it. Top with foil and rest for approx 6 - 8 minutes so that the juices re-distribute.