Thursday, September 22, 2011

Crockpot Korean Beef Tacos

Sometimes it’s the most random things that will inspire the recipes that I create for this little blog. Other times it’s something I’ve eaten that I just HAVE to recreate before I go crazy. This time it was the latter. I know I mentioned the Food Truck Frenzie we went to in yesterday’s post, but hubs and I have been on a serious asian-flavor kick since then.

Okay, so that food truck I was telling you about served up these DELICIOUS Korean Short Rib tacos. They were so GOOD… we’re talking, “it’s all you can think about” good.  

PROBLEM: Said food truck is based in Miami (like 2 hours away), so I wouldn’t be eating those tacos for a very long time.

SOLUTION: Make my own! (that’s always my solution)

I scoured the blogosphere for a good asian short rib marinade, and found a simple and tasty looking one over on Jolenes blog, plus a wicked simple cucumber slaw over on Jaden’s site! OFF I went to the grocery store to buy my supplies…

I waltzed on over to the meat department and… [SCREETCH] WTF? Turns out short ribs are expensive, yo! At a more palatable $2 a pound, the cheapo in me decided to go with the back ribs seeing as I figured the crockpot can tenderize even the toughest of meats. I crossed my figers knowing NOTHING about back ribs (besides the fact that they are cheap) but hoping that my faith in the Crockpot would prove itself true! 

I put the ribs into the Crockpot, dumped on the marinade, turned it on low and let er rip! 8 hrs later, I asked the hubs to pull the ribs out and start shredding the meat; he took the tongs and grabbed on to a rib hoping to lift the rack out of the crockpot and well, the bone came out but left everything else haha it was THAT tender! So removing the bones and shredding the meat took all of 5 minutes! Holla! My experiment was an epic success! 😉

This recipe is EASY (hello Crockpot) and incredibly flavorful. It makes a ton, but the leftovers re-heat amazingly. Serve for a crowd or make for a dinner on Sunday night and use for lunches throughout the week. It’s UH-MAZING.

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Crockpot Korean Beef Tacos

Yield: 6-8 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 8 hours

Total Time: 8 hours 15 minutes

Makes for EXCELLENT leftovers!


For the Cucumber Slaw:
2 hot house cucumber (the wrapped seedless kind)
4 teaspoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
2 pinches of salt
crushed red pepper flakes to taste

For the Korean Beef:
6 1/2 pounds (roughly) beef back ribs (you can use short ribs, but they are WAY more expensive)

1 1/2 cups low sodium soy sauce
1 2/3 cups packed brown sugar
10 cloves garlic, grates
4 tablespoons grated ginger
6 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
2 tablespoons canola oil (or other mild vegetable oil)
1-2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes

For the tacos:
16 small flour tortillas
bean sprouts
sriracha (for some H.E.A.T.)


For the Cucumber Slaw:
Slice cucumbers as thin as you can get them (I used a mandoline slicer to help, but it's not necessary) and place in a bowl. Add the rice vinegar, sugar, salt, and crushed red pepper; toss to combine. Set aside until ready to use. You can make these the night before if desired!

For the Korean Beef:
Spray a 7 quart slow cooker base with non-stick cooking spray and add the beef back ribs. In a small bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients until combined; pour over the ribs. Cook on low heat for 8 hours. I rotated the ribs on my lunch break and also used a turkey baster to do a quick baste on the ribs with (the majority of the ribs will be submerged in the sauce & juices). When ready to serve, take out of crockpot, remove bones, and shred.

For the tacos:

Warm taco shells in the microwave (or my personal favorite - on the grill... just a few seconds each side). Add shredded beef, cucumber slaw, bean sprouts, and cilanto. If you are feeling extra frisky, drizzle on some sriracha for a nice kick!

Cucumber Slaw from: Steamy Kitchen
Korean Beef adapted from: What's Cookin Chicago

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59 Responses to “Crockpot Korean Beef Tacos”

  1. 1

    Apron Appeal — September 22, 2011 @ 6:09 pm

    You had me at crockpot

    • Kristina replied: — September 23rd, 2011 @ 10:58 am

      haha one small word that instantly makes this recipe a winner 😉

  2. 2

    Emily — September 22, 2011 @ 7:17 pm

    These look so good! It’s funny that you mentioned food trucks because I’ve been watching Food Truck Race (or something) on Food Network and there is this Korean BBQ truck that wins all the challenges. I’ve been wanting to try some! And in a crock pot? Sold. I will definitely be making this – thanks for posting!

    • Kristina replied: — September 23rd, 2011 @ 10:58 am

      I watched a few episodes too! Korilla BBQ, right? haha I was skeptical that I’d be able to get the same flavor at home… but it actually worked!!! Yay for the Crockpot 🙂

  3. 3

    Shawnda — September 22, 2011 @ 8:46 pm

    I can’t wait to try these! I love all the flavors going on. I actually think we still have short ribs in the freezer! We got a few packs with our beef delivery. I purposely buried them under all the steaks because I knew I wouldn’t be in a hurry to cook them. Hopefully I can find them 🙂

    • Kristina replied: — September 23rd, 2011 @ 10:56 am

      i hope you can find them too!! Let the slowcooker do all the work 😉

  4. 4

    Kelsey @ K&K Test Kitchen — September 22, 2011 @ 9:22 pm

    These look fantastic! Can’t wait to try this recipe!!

  5. 5

    ErinsFoodFiles — September 22, 2011 @ 11:16 pm

    My husband would quadruple loves these.

    • Kristina replied: — September 23rd, 2011 @ 10:59 am

      the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach right? haha

  6. 6

    Sandra — September 23, 2011 @ 8:56 am

    It is really a shame that drooling doesn’ t burn calories. I’d be 10 lbs thinner by now.

    • Kristina replied: — September 23rd, 2011 @ 10:59 am

      haha AMEN. I wish that worked… also the “calories don’t count on your birthday” rule 😉

  7. 7

    Mike — September 23, 2011 @ 9:12 am

    these are the easiest ribs in the world to prepare and by far the tastiest tacos to date. that cucumber slaw is so good and
    may end up topping a lot of dishes in the future. great post, love.

    • Kristina replied: — September 23rd, 2011 @ 11:00 am

      you are THE best.

  8. 8

    Mom — September 23, 2011 @ 10:26 am

    These look scrumptious! Love your photos…very appealing to the eye and the stomach 🙂 Great job!

    • Kristina replied: — September 23rd, 2011 @ 11:00 am

      thanks, ma!

  9. 9

    Nicole M. — September 23, 2011 @ 12:49 pm

    I don’t eat beef but hubby will love these! Thanks. Have you tried making pulled pork with an asian bbq sauce (I got inspired by Korilla BBQ myself) ;). I just started a little foodie adventure myself and will be making that soon but I will share the recipe with you if you are interested beforehand. Btw my site is….feel free to stop in, note it is in infancy (only about a week old) 🙂

    • Kristina replied: — October 6th, 2011 @ 10:49 am

      mm that sound GREAT!

  10. 10

    Julie — September 23, 2011 @ 2:25 pm

    These look so good! I’m a college student and I’m always looking for good crockpot recipes that I can throw together in the morning and come home to after class. Can’t wait to try these!

  11. 11

    Lindsey@Lindselicious — September 24, 2011 @ 12:05 am

    You need to come to LA and try the one that started it all- Kogi Korean BBQ. We have a bunch of imitators but that one beats them all. Yours look good the slaw looks yummy!

    • Kristina replied: — October 6th, 2011 @ 10:49 am

      i wish!!

  12. 12

    JulieD — September 24, 2011 @ 10:42 am

    I love this and definitely want to try it! Yes, short ribs are very, very expensive but well worth it. I love cooking short ribs in the slow cooker.

    • Kristina replied: — October 6th, 2011 @ 10:49 am

      i just love the slowcooker period. hah perfect for fall/winter weather – a nice hot meal ready when you get home!

  13. 13

    JenniferInTaiwan — September 24, 2011 @ 10:56 am

    Brilliant! Love your writing style and the food! Will definitely be pulling the crockpot out for this since Fall is on us.

  14. 14

    Marti — September 24, 2011 @ 2:46 pm

    This looks so great and I’ve never had a korean beef taco, but always wanted to try them. (Their fame precedes them, right?) No husband, only a huge oversized crockpot that I love to fill up and invite friends over to help me empty. This looks like my next party. Thanks!

    • Kristina replied: — October 6th, 2011 @ 10:48 am

      bet you are your friends’ favorite person ever!!

  15. 15

    Dina — September 24, 2011 @ 10:17 pm

    Thanks for the recipe. DELISH and so easy. I made these tonight and they were really good. I also added kimchi as a topping. I almost skipped the bean sprouts but, gotta say it adds crunchiness and kind of cuts “down” the greasiness of the meat.

    • Kristina replied: — October 6th, 2011 @ 10:47 am

      oh yah… i love the bean sprouts!

  16. 16

    Lisa — September 28, 2011 @ 8:43 pm

    Made these for dinner tonight. Oh Wow!! Hardly made it to a tortilla much less getting it shredded. My 3 boys went nuts. Had to fight to save some for the Hubby. This would be the best slow cooker recipe ever!

    • Kristina replied: — October 6th, 2011 @ 10:47 am

      haha love. it.

  17. 17

    Lexa — September 30, 2011 @ 5:50 pm

    Made these today!!! So easy and delicious!!

    • Kristina replied: — October 6th, 2011 @ 10:47 am

      aw SO glad you enjoyed!

  18. 18

    Kristin — October 13, 2011 @ 5:46 pm

    Two words: UNBELIEVABLE and UH-MAZING!..

    • Kristina replied: — October 14th, 2011 @ 9:07 am

      haha so glad you enjoyed 🙂

  19. 19

    Espresso Martini « mommysmenu — October 15, 2011 @ 5:40 pm

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  20. 20

    Olivya — October 16, 2011 @ 10:33 pm

    These are delicious!!!! We made them tonight and I can’t wait for the leftovers tomorrow 🙂 We like things spicy in my house so I opted for 1 Tablespoon of the Red Pepper Flakes…so yummy! I only have a 5 qt crock so I just shoved in as many ribs as I could fit in. There were two stacked on the top, mostly out of the liquid, by the end of the cook time they were cooked and delicious!!! We also let them go almost 9 hours (got stuck at a friends house) and they were tasty and perfect!

    • Kristina replied: — October 19th, 2011 @ 8:56 am

      thanks for the feedback! Glad they turned out 🙂

  21. 21

    Rhonda — November 17, 2011 @ 5:33 pm

    I think my husband would even eat these, they look so good!

  22. 22

    Shaina — January 9, 2012 @ 8:46 pm

    Made this tonight and they were DELICIOUS!! I’m always hesitant to try foods that use spices/flavors I’m not totally familiar with but this one did not fail me. Reminded me of the wonderful food trucks in Portland. Thanks for the recipe!

  23. 23

    Ashley — March 7, 2012 @ 10:52 am

    Thanks so much for this recipe! The Mister and I loved it last night!

  24. 24

    Gloria — March 20, 2012 @ 10:23 am

    I prepared this recipe yesterday. Turned out amazing as every recipe I have prepared from this blog! Since you are the Crockpot Queen I was wondering if you had a recipe for Osso Buco??? The italian restaurant I frequent charges $30 for each plate (w/o sides) and it is a family favorite.

  25. 25

    Lindsay — March 29, 2012 @ 1:47 pm

    Your blog really is great. I look up recipes all the time trying to mix up our routine and you have mastered the art of being innovative without costing a ridiculous amount to make at home. I made your sweet potato crusted tilapia and then this recipe last night. I made half the recipe for just the two of us, the short ribs were $20 in case anyone wanted to know. They were ridiculously good. The cucumber salad and bean sprouts cut the richness of the meat and add a freshness. Thank you for the recipes!

  26. 26

    Severiana — April 18, 2012 @ 2:23 pm

    maybe a stupid question, but could I use like a roast? My sister lives with us and does not eat any foods with any bones of any kind!!

    • Tina replied: — April 18th, 2012 @ 4:42 pm

      I’ve never tried it, but maybe a boneless chuck roast would work well?? Let me know if you try it!

  27. 27

    Amanda — May 9, 2012 @ 3:16 pm

    This is one of the best meals I have ever had, I have made it before and I am making it again tonight. I do embellish the slaw a wee bit by adding shredded cabbage and carrot. Just wanted to thank you for sharing this. This is a new favorite staple in our home.

  28. 28

    Brooke — May 25, 2012 @ 4:11 pm

    I recently had Korean shredded beef tacos at a friend’s house and wanted to make some more asap! I found your blog and recipe today and, as I type, my beef is in the oven (yes I opted for 4 hrs oven vs 8 hrs crock pot due to time). I also am using a roast vs the ribs… we’ll see how they turn out. With all the great ingreds in the sauce there’s no WAY they’ll be anything but fabulous! Thanks for your recipes… I’ll be back searching for more soon.

  29. 29

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  30. 30

    Crock Pot Korean Beef Tacos | — June 8, 2012 @ 12:35 pm

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  31. 31

    Kevin — August 19, 2012 @ 11:33 pm

    So, last night after my first time watching women’s roller derby (which was awesome FYI with skaters like Bash N. Onya and Track Infection, you cant go wrong) I had my first Korean taco at a place called Mogo on the Asbury Park boardwalk. It was amazing. I’m having a BBQ for my color run team on Saturday, and will be making your recipe as the main course. I checked out a lot of recipes today, and decided to go with yours because of how you were able to lower the price and the work involved to a minimum vs. one of the 70-100$ recipes using short ribs. I even went to the food store tonight and preordered the back ribs so I’ll have them ready to slow cook. Plus, now I’lI have some extra cash to go get some sweet Asian beers to go with them. Everyone posting comments here have such good things to say. I’m so psyched to have my friends try this, great article, and can’t wait to report back on the reactions of my fellow unicorn hunters. Yeah. That’s the team name I chose. Epic!

  32. 32

    Brenda — September 4, 2012 @ 11:06 pm

    Yum! Cooked the beef yesterday so I could skim the fat off before reheating today. Made a couple of changes: cut the recipe in half, used simmering beef steak (reasonably priced), did not spray the crockpot (unnecessary), left out the canola oil (allergic and the sesame oil was plenty), and did not put the pepper flakes in the cucumber as I like my cucumber cool! I found that only a very small portion of meat is needed on the tortilla as it is sooooo flavorful. Thank you so much for a great and fun recipe!

  33. 33

    Emily — September 16, 2012 @ 3:03 pm

    These were a hit! I used a boneless chuck roast, since I had one on hand, and it worked perfectly. Next time, I don’t think I’ll make the cucumber mixture as I don’t think it added much. But the other items added just the right amount of flavor, textures and heat. Thanks so much, I will make these again and again!

  34. 34

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  35. 35

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  36. 36

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  37. 37

    Carrie — April 3, 2013 @ 3:35 pm

    Awesome recipe! I’ve made these twice now and have made my own little adjustments. My friends love them!! I also took the leftover juices and reused them the next day to cook chicken in since there weren’t any leftovers! I think they would be killer if you used a pork shoulder with the marinade then did a Asian slaw on top. That’s my next experiment! Love your blog

  38. 38

    Sarah — June 21, 2013 @ 2:12 pm

    This is such a great recipe! Its my go to for work pot lucks and parties. I always get great compliments and everyone wants the recipe. I just wanted to thank you for making me look like a rock star!

  39. 39

    Teri Studer — July 17, 2013 @ 9:50 am

    Making this today, I’ll let everyone know how good it is, the sauce smells great when your prepping it.

  40. 40

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  41. 41

    Angela Chapa — August 22, 2013 @ 4:51 am

    I just had to comment on this recipe, something I very rarely take the time to do. I made this for dinner last night and it was amazing! The flavors of the meat went so well with the bean sprouts, cilantro, cucumber slaw and sriracha. Big hit with the hubby and the kids! Fabulous recipe that I will make again for dinner guests.

  42. 42

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