Crockpot Korean Beef Tacos with Cucumber Slaw

by Shawnda on September 29, 2011

in Beef,Cinco de Mayo,Crockpot,Cucumber,Mexican & TexMex,Sides,Veggies & Starches

Korean Beef Tacos with Cucumber Slaw

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.

Korean Beef Spring Rolls with Mango

Crockpot Korean Beef Tacos with Cucumber Slaw

Tacos filled with sweet, tender Korean-style beef and tangy cucumber slaw.

Ingredients

  • 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
  • cilantro
  • bean sprouts
  • Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
  • sriracha

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. Shake additional water from the colander or pat with paper towels.
  3. 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).
  4. To make the Korean beef for the tacos, spray your slow cooker crock with non-stick cooking spray and add the ribs.
  5. Whisk soy sauce, sugar, and vinegar with the garlic, ginger, sriracha, and oils.
  6. 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.)
  7. Cook on low for 8 hours.
  8. (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.
  9. To assemble, serve the shredded meat on warmed tortillas topped a spoon of cucumber slaw, cilantro, bean sprouts, sriracha and a dollop of yogurt.

Notes

Yields: 8 servings

Adapted from What's Cookin' Chicago and Steamy Kitchen via My Life as a Mrs.

Estimated time: 9 hours

{ 59 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kathryn September 29, 2011 at 2:18 am

These look and sound amazing – I would love my kitchen to smell like them! Going straight on the ‘to-make’ list, thank you!

Reply

2 Laura September 29, 2011 at 5:50 am

These look so good. I dont use my crockpot that often either, but think I may dust the old girl off for these!

Reply

3 Tracey September 29, 2011 at 7:02 am

I don’t use my crockpot that often either, but I definitely appreciate it occasionally in the summer when I don’t feel like having the oven on for 4 or 5 hours. These tacos look amazing! I’ve never made short ribs in the crockpot, but need to remedy that soon.

Reply

4 Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking September 29, 2011 at 8:31 am

Shawnda, these tacos look mouthwatering! What a great recipe and beautiful photos. I love the addition of cucumber slaw too. Great combination! Thanks for sharing.

Reply

5 Sarah September 29, 2011 at 10:59 am

Your photo and this recipe have inspired me to search into the black hole that is our kitchen cabinets and pull out our crock pot. It hasn’t been used in a couple years from a few botched experiments, but I get the feeling that these tacos have the power to change all that.

Reply

6 Chelsea September 29, 2011 at 12:07 pm

I LOVE my crock pot.

I’ve been a little nervous to venture into Korean cuisine but this recipe looks like a great one to start with!

Reply

7 Jessica September 29, 2011 at 12:56 pm

Oh so excited to try this!

Reply

8 ErinsFoodFiles September 29, 2011 at 1:54 pm

I totally made these over the weekend too!

Reply

9 Joanne September 29, 2011 at 7:11 pm

If my crockpot were digital and programmable…I might just use it more often.

I love the flavors in this meat though! Now how to make it vegetarian…that is the question.

Reply

10 sara September 30, 2011 at 12:44 am

This looks so good! I’m always looking for new crockpot recipes, and this one looks fantastic. Gorgeous photos too! :)

Reply

11 Denise @ TLT September 30, 2011 at 4:30 am

Great recipe and stunning pictures! They make me wanna try this dish asap!

Reply

12 Amy (Sing For Your Supper) September 30, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Oh man, Shawnda- these look unreal!!! We love Korean tacos so I’m definitely going to be making these!

Reply

13 Rachel October 2, 2011 at 10:16 am

I have this going in the slow cooker right now and it smells divine in this house! I cannot wait for dinner.

Reply

14 Jessy October 3, 2011 at 6:14 am

these look amazing! They look pretty healthy too. YAY! :)

Reply

15 Tina October 3, 2011 at 2:53 pm

Just getting back in town from a wedding and catching up on my google reader :) SO glad you enjoyed! I looove me a good crockpot recipe!

Reply

16 Amy V. October 4, 2011 at 8:09 am

I made these last night. I think it is now in my top 10 favorite meals and my crock pot will finally be put to good use more often!!

Reply

17 Katie October 7, 2011 at 6:54 pm

Made these tonight – they were amazing!! I used chuck roast instead of short ribs. Also I mixed a little chili paste with sour cream to top off the tacos. I cant wait to make them again!

Reply

18 BistroBess October 12, 2011 at 8:36 am

These are next on my crockpot list for sure!

Reply

19 Shannon October 21, 2011 at 9:47 pm

Make these. Make these now. I used a chuck roast and it was amazing!

Reply

20 CynthiaT October 24, 2011 at 7:01 pm

I used a 3# chuck roast and I’m serving it with Alter Eco’s purple jasmine rice as we’re gluten free. I just sneaked a taste while the rice was still cooking as I was shredding the meat. I may have to cut back on the siracha next time for DD. We’re soy free too so I used coconut aminos (a whole bottle for the soy and ended up adding close to 2.5 cups of water to get the liquid up to almost the top of the meat. I know DS is going to LOVE it! I may have to try them as filling for summer rolls when I have the time to get that involved with it.

Reply

21 the little kimchi pierogi October 31, 2011 at 7:43 am

I ditto the others who have made these–they are absolutely one of my new favorite meals. Make them NOW!

Reply

22 Natalie November 2, 2011 at 9:01 am

I am always looking for crockpot meals. These are fabulous!

Reply

23 Rochelle November 8, 2011 at 9:35 pm

I made this recipe tonight and used back ribs like the recipe suggested for an alternative (short ribs are very expensive in my area.) I do not recommend this! The meat is verrryy fatty. I got less than 2 cups of fatty meat from the 5 pounds of ribs that I purchased… If you do use back ribs I would omit the 2 additional tablespoons of oil added to the sauce, you definitely don’t need it.

Other than the fatty/greasiness caused by the back ribs, these were DELICIOUS. Next time I will use short ribs or a chuck roast, for sure.

Reply

24 Sandmeister January 13, 2012 at 9:08 am

Wow! These were super-easy and great….definitely a repeater!

Reply

25 Shannon January 18, 2012 at 8:04 pm

These were sooo good and my house smelled amazing when I came home. I used Thai chili garlic sauce instead of siracha because that’s what I had on hand and it worked perfectly. I love that I can also use the leftover meat to morph into another meal as a stir fry with rice. Delicious!

Reply

26 Katie @ Epicurean Mom January 26, 2012 at 11:15 am

Ahhhh, I could bathe in these!! Look incredible Shawnda! Btw, are you going to the Seattle, Blogher Conf?? I am!

Reply

27 foodiebride January 30, 2012 at 8:53 pm

Thanks, Katie! I’m not sure if I can make it to BlogHer yet – I hope so, though!

Reply

28 Mary @ Noah Baby February 8, 2012 at 11:21 am

So. freaking. good. Not only was this easy to make, but it was delicious and I had tons of yummy leftovers! My husband used sour cream with his tacos and I opted to go dry but we both agreed we’d try some greek yogurt or a tzatziki-type sauce next time. I made lettuce wraps with the leftovers using romaine hearts, minced garlic, and kochujang and served it with a side of kimchi and rice.

Reply

29 Marla March 17, 2012 at 9:27 pm

This certainly has me wanting to take out my crock pot. Great recipe!

Reply

30 Tamra Jones March 28, 2012 at 8:48 pm

Shawnda, I discovered your blog and this recipe via Pinterest recently. I just had an opportunity to make these tacos for my family this evening. My father-in-law is visiting from California and I have 5 and 6 year-old girls. EVERYONE loved them! Instead of Greek Yogurt, we used sour cream and aside from pulling out some cucumber from the “salad” before adding the red pepper flakes for the girls, I followed your recipe to the T. This is going on our “favorites” list and I look forward to making it again very soon! Thank you for sharing.

Reply

31 jen April 23, 2012 at 5:37 am

Speaking of broken crock pots…. I just shattered the insert for mine. How long should I cook in the oven?

also, should the short ribs have bones in them? mine do.

Reply

32 foodiebride April 23, 2012 at 7:47 am

Bummer, sorry to hear that. You can fake a working crockpot by cooking them covered in the oven at 275 for ~5-6 hours. And they should have bones. Good luck!

Reply

33 Courtney August 8, 2012 at 10:29 am

Just found this recipe and have made it twice already. Once with a chuck roast and once with a pork loin. I loved both! I generally hate leftovers, but I’ve been eating these for lunch and dinner until they’re gone. You could easily serve next to steamed rice as well.

Reply

34 Liz Parker September 10, 2012 at 7:53 am

I get home tonight after about 2 weeks of travel. I have a chuck roast in the freezer and come hell or high water THIS is what we are having for dinner tomorrow night! So glad this popped up on the side bar. Thanks so much!

Reply

35 susette December 30, 2012 at 7:26 am

Just threw a chuck roast in the crock pot. I was going to leave out the water since you just reduce it anyway. It almost covered my roast so it seemed unnecessary. Am i making a mistake by doing that? I dont want to ruin this fab meal.

Reply

36 foodiebride December 30, 2012 at 9:35 am

Nah, it’ll be fine.

Reply

37 Missy January 6, 2013 at 2:43 pm

I just wanted to say that I made this tonight, and it is BEYOND amazing! THANK YOU my family thinks I am a genius!…….suckers….

Reply

38 Missy January 6, 2013 at 2:43 pm

I just wanted to say that I made this tonight, and it is BEYOND amazing! THANK YOU my family thinks I am a genius!…….suckers….

Reply

39 Vicki February 20, 2013 at 6:48 pm

Can I put the short ribs in the crock pot frozen?

Reply

40 foodiebride February 21, 2013 at 1:36 pm

I do it with chicken breasts all the time.

Reply

41 Emma Miller April 14, 2013 at 5:12 am

Wow, I just made this for dinner and it is incredible! We don’t have a slow cooker so I just put it in the oven on low heat for 6 hours… amazing :)

Thanks for the recipe!

Reply

42 robert schimonitz April 19, 2013 at 7:37 pm

i make these and there are other recipes for it but this is the best one for the base by far of course i alter the recipe for my taste and its a big hit at pot lucks! thank you for the recipe everyone loves them today is my third time cooking these and perfection will be set this time ;)

Reply

43 Jenny Newlon May 21, 2013 at 3:55 pm

Made these last week–so easy and delicious! I especially liked the tangy cucumber slaw. Thanks!

Reply

44 Keri July 15, 2013 at 9:08 pm

I am so excited to make these tomorrow night! Question – do you use seasoned rice vinegar? Or just rice vinegar? Thank you!!

Reply

45 Shawnda July 16, 2013 at 9:43 pm

Just plain rice vinegar. Good luck!

Reply

46 Sophia @ NY Foodgasm August 28, 2013 at 11:37 am

Oh My Gosh—- this sounds soooooo good! I would cut down on the sugar a bit, but wow, I need this in my crockpot STAT!

Reply

47 Callie Glorioso-Mays August 29, 2013 at 12:14 pm

We’ve been making these for a few months now and love them! In the words of my sister, they are “insanely good”. Thanks for sharing it!

I wanted to let you know that I blogged about them today and linked back to your recipe here ( http://cglorioso.blogspot.com/2013/08/korean-beef-tacos-crockpot-recipe.html )

Reply

48 Brittany September 2, 2013 at 2:48 pm

I make these ALL the time! They’re so delicious, thanks for sharing this recipe!

Reply

49 Melanie October 29, 2013 at 7:50 am

I tried this recipe once and it has become a staple in our house! Delicious!!!

Reply

50 Melanie October 29, 2013 at 7:54 am

I can never find short ribs where I am so I usually grab boneless country ribs
LOVE it!

Reply

51 Jennifer January 21, 2014 at 5:21 pm

Can you roll this meat with cucumber slaw into a spring roll wrapper with vermicelli noodles? Or would that be too much?

Reply

52 Shawnda January 22, 2014 at 11:52 am

I think that sounds great!

Reply

53 Danielle January 24, 2014 at 2:08 pm

This sounds delicious. I am going to try it this weekend. Can you cut the recipe in half and still do it in the slow cooker for the same amount of time? There is only two of us so it may be too much.

Reply

54 Tara March 3, 2014 at 2:40 pm

Just wanted to, after two years of making this, comment on how amazing this recipe is. We’ve only made it with beef once…we love to use elk or deer roasts cut into large chunks. We’ll usually serve it over brown rice and then eat the leftovers in tortillas the next day for lunch. We’ve fooled a lot of picky eaters into eating game meat with this one!

Reply

55 rebecca estep March 24, 2014 at 5:16 pm

is this spicy? Looks amazing!!!

Reply

56 Shawnda March 25, 2014 at 11:36 am

Nope, not very spicy at all. My 4yo loves it!

Reply

57 pamela April 30, 2014 at 4:53 pm

Do you have any idea how many pounds of boneless chuck would be the equivalent amount? Also, would you cook for the same amount of time in the slow cooker? Thanks!

Reply

58 Shawnda May 1, 2014 at 8:37 am

You’re fine using 4-5 lbs, that’s the size roast I typically grab. Same amount of time. It’s delicious!

Reply

59 pamela May 1, 2014 at 1:33 pm

Thanks! I’ve made it before using the ribs, but I made the mistake of sending my husband to the market this time and he freaked out at the price of 5-6 lbs of ribs, so … chuck roast it is :)

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: