Key West Korean BBQ Beef Tacos

Korean BBQ Beef Tacos

A few weeks ago Drew and I went on our FIRST relaxing vacation since our honeymoon…which was 2 years ago!  To say the least, we were long overdue.  All of Drew’s friends from Wake Forest have been wanting to do a little college reunion long weekend getaway with the wives, so after much back and forth the boys decided on Key West.   Exciting, Yes!  Hot…..Oh yeah!  Going to Key West in the middle of August wasn’t the smartest decision, but it was a great time and I’m so happy that we were able to go.

People are not lying when they say how hot it is in Florida in the summer….the pool alone was 90 degrees and was like a hot tub when going inside.  The only escape was a quick breeze or the free popsicles they were handing out by the pool.  Now, you would think that the ocean would be nice and refreshing but because of the seaweed we weren’t able to even get INTO the ocean!

When it cooled off slightly in the later afternoon we headed into town to explore.  Friends and locals highly suggested a restaurant called Garbo’s to go to for tacos so we went there for a little pre-dinner bite and it was the best decision we made all weekend.  As much as we were expecting a small little dive bar, what we got was much more fun…..a Taco Truck!  It was outside and sat alongside nice outdoor tables that people could sit out at to enjoy their delicious food.  They only had 2 options (Korean BBQ Beef and Fish), so Drew and I got one each.  I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of a Korean BBQ taco since I’m not a huge BBQ fan BUT it was the best decision.  In fact, these tacos were so good that Drew and I made a special trip the next day just to get one more for each of us for a snack.

As soon as we got home I looked up a recipe for Korean BBQ Beef Tacos and picked the first one from Food Network Magazine.  Much to my surprise, while cooking the recipe, I looked at the very bottom and found that it actually came from the Garbos Restaurant since they were featured on Diner’s Drive Ins and Dives.

Since I clearly don’t want to steal anyone’s recipe, I tweaked it a bit to make it my own and was so happy I did.  This is a somewhat involved recipe (but very quick to cook), so certainly make sure you set aside a lot of time for prepping.

I present you with THE best taco recipe that has ever been posted on my blog, so if you make them please let me know how much you were drooling over these also!

NOTE: Unfortunately, I did not use the dressing….Not by choice, but I was so excited to eat these that I completely forgot about it, so since I loved without the dressing I figured I would list that as being optional, but I strongly suggest using.


Serving Size: 4 People (or 2 VERY Hungry People)

For The Tacos:
1.5 pounds boneless beef short ribs
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
Sprinkle of red pepper flakes
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup mirin
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/8 cup sesame oil
4 cloves garlic
3 scallions
1 teaspoon peeled and grated fresh ginger

For the Dressing (Optional – See Note Above):
1 limes, juiced
1/8 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon mirin
1/2 tablespoon Sriracha (or more depending on your spice preferences)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 scallion

Optional Additions:
Hard or Soft Tortilla Shells (I suggest soft)
Cabbage or Lettuce
Red Onion
Fresh Cilantro
Lime Juice

1. Cut off any excess fat from the short ribs then thinly slice the beef and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces.  Season with the red pepper flakes, onion and garlic powder then place in a large bowl or plastic resealable bag.
2. In a blender or food processor, blend your soy sauce, sugar, mirin, sesame oil, garlic, scallions and ginger
3. Pour half of the sauce in a bowl and cover and refrigerate until ready to cook. Cover the short ribs with the other half of the sauce and toss to make sure all parts of the beef are covered. Seal tightly and marinate the short ribs in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours and up to 24 hours. The longer you marinate the greater the flavor will be, so I strongly suggest 24 hours!
4. To make the dressing, in a small bowl, whisk together the sauce ingredients: the lime juice, soy sauce, mirin, scallions, and Sriracha and slowly whisk in the olive oil. When finished, place the dressing in the fridge until ready to use
5. When ready, place the reserved refrigerated marinade in a small saucepan and reduce over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thick, remove from heat and reserve for drizzling over the tacos
6. While the sauce reduces, you can start cooking your meat! Heat your griddle to high. You’re looking to flash cook the meat so it sears and keeps in all the juices
7. Place your meat on the griddle and cook for 2 minutes then flip. Cook an additional 3 minutes, then wrap the meat in foil and set aside to keep the meat warm since it will still cook while it rests
8. At this point you can heat up your tortillas, or start plating! The order should be:  Tacos, reduced sauce, dressing, lime juice, your mouth!

Serving Suggestion:
You could serve with rice or chips and salsa but I simply just ate these as is because they are THAT yummy!



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