I love Korean food.  More heavily seasoned (and typically spicier) than Chinese and Japanese cuisines, Korean food incorporates ingredients like chili pepper, sesame oil, and ginger, all three of which make my mouth water.  I cobbled this recipe together on my own, and it is not intended to be an authentic Korean dish.  But it does incorporate authentic flavors, and it hits the spot when I’m craving Korean tacos.  I often make it the day before I plan to serve it.  You’ll see why in a bit.

I start with chuck roast.  Perfect for braising, chuck roast falls apart when it’s cooked low and slow.  It’s ideal for shredding and throwing into a tortilla shell.

chuck roast

I buy a family pack from Wegmans and use one of the roasts, freezing the other one.  Each of these cuts is between 2.5 and 3 pounds.

Gather this stuff:

korean taco ingredients

That’s fresh ginger on the front right.

Now locate your dutch oven.  I use my large (7 and 1/4 quart) Le Creuset.  It’s perfect for braising.

Place your chuck roast in the dutch oven.  (Note: you do not need to rinse the meat first!  Read here to find out why.)

Measure one-half of a cup of soy sauce.

one half cup soy sauce

And pour it on top of the chuck.  Now use the same cup and measure one-half of a cup of water.  Pour that on the chuck, too.

Next measure one-half of a cup of brown sugar.  (You can use dark or light.)  Dump it on top of the meat.

brown sugar korean tacos

Measure one tablespoon of minced garlic.  I used jarred (because I’m lazy) but of course fresh minced garlic is even better!  Add it to the pot.

garlic on chuck

Now for the secret ingredient!  This is gochugaru (or Korean red chili flakes).  Different than American chili powder or cayenne pepper, gochugaru has a specific taste that is unique to Korean food.  You can find it at the Asian market.  Gochugaru varies in heat (depending on where the peppers were grown and how it is prepared), so don’t go crazy the first time you use this.  I use one-half of a teaspoon in this dish (but you might want to use less if you are heat-sensitive or it’s your first time cooking with this spice – go easy).


And if you have no desire to drag your butt to the Asian market, then just substitute with red pepper flakes.  The flavor will not be the same, but the result will still be yummy for your tummy.

Now grab your sesame oil and measure one tablespoon.

sesame oil

Add it to your other ingredients.

Using the same spoon, measure three tablespoons of rice vinegar.

rice vinegar

Oh my gosh, this was the cuteness going on in the midst of me preparing this.


“I shopping, mommy.  I go to eat and shop.”

We call the grocery store “eat and shop” for obvious reasons.  I ply my children with snacks the entire time we shop in order to maintain the peace, and my sanity.

Oh, you’re getting cranky?  Here, want a cookie?

Oh, your brother just hit you?  Want some goldfish?

What’s wrong?  Your [insert body part] hurts?  Would you like a frozen yogurt?

Go ahead and judge.  You may call it bribery.  I call it survival.

But I digress…

Back to the tacos.

Add the three tablespoons of rice vinegar to the pot.

Now grab six scallions, and lob off the ends.


Then dice.  Look at that beautiful natural ombre.


Throw ’em in the pot.

Now cut one inch of fresh ginger and peel it with a spoon or a potato peeler.  Find your hand grater and grate the ginger into the pot.

grate ginger

Finally, grab a big spoon and give it all a mix to combine the ingredients.  Slap the lid onto your dutch oven and put it in a 275 degree oven for roughly four hours.  The beef is done when it’s fall apart tender and shreds easily with a fork.

At this point you can either shred it, stir with the sauce, and dig in; or you can let it cool and pop the whole pot into the fridge for several hours or overnight.  When you pull it out the next day, the fat will have hardened and separated, and you can easily skim it off and discard it before re-heating the beef.  I prefer the latter method and usually always prepare this one day before I plan on serving it.  (But again, it’s yummy either way.)

Serve in tortilla shells topped with this slaw and some dashes of sriracha sauce.


3 lb. chuck roast

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 tbsp. minced garlic

1/2 tsp. gochugaru

1 tbsp. sesame oil

3 tbsp. rice vinegar

6 diced scallions

1 inch grated fresh ginger