Korean BBQ Tacos using a SousVide Supreme

On May 27, 2013, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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I’m a very lucky person. There are many reasons: a wonderful family, a loving wife, and once a week the Kogi Korean BBQ taco truck makes a stop right behind the building I work. An order of three short rib tacos makes any day better. It makes life better.

Now I love traditional Mexican street tacos, so much so I have written a ton of reviews on a particular kind of taco – the gas station taco. This passion has led me to appreciate what makes a great taco. The perfect taco combines the elements of a slightly oily handmade corn tortilla, perfectly cooked meat, and the right amount of spices with just enough cilantro and chopped onions to compliment, not overpower the meat, then topped with a smooth, spicy hot sauce. That’s the perfect Mexican street taco.

The Korean taco is an entirely different beast.

Fusion cooking is the mixing of various cultures and is something that can go massively wrong or massively right. The Korean BBQ Taco is fusion and Chef Roy who owns Kogi does it massively right.

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Fresh made corn tortillas

If you’re unfamiliar with the Korean BBQ taco, you’re missing out. It’s sweet, spicy and crunchy. The meat is sauced with a good wet marinade that caramelizes the meat complimented by cilantro-onion-lime relish, topped with lightly pickled cabbage and hot sauce. It’s pure fusion. Combining the elements of Korea’s most famous food this decade – Korean BBQ – with Mexico’s most famous dish – tacos.

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A stack of tortillas after they’ve being heated.

I have been meaning to attempt the Korean BBQ taco at home.  Not copying Kogi, but rather making my own version that’s inspired by the Kogi truck.

This recipe is just that. It’s my own creation of the Korean BBQ taco and to make the meat as tender and flavorful as possible I decided I’d try a new style of cooking while I’m at it. I was contacted by SousVide Supreme who wanted to see what I could do using the sous-vide method (translates to “under vacuum”.) This looked like an excellent opportunity to make a tough meat, I used flat iron steak instead of short ribs, into something tender and juicy. Plus how more fusion can you get then a Mexican taco + Korean BBQ + French cooking method.

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SousVide Supreme with vacuum pouch sealer

Sous-vide involves cooking a vacuum sealed bag of meat or vegetables submerged in water at a consistent temperature. The method produces food that is cooked on the outside and inside at the same “doneness” without overcooking, while keeping the food juicy.  The consistent temperature of the water allows you to have the food ready in a large window of time. For example, the flat iron steak I made is ready anytime between 8 to 24 hours great for a long Memorial Day weekend when our family is running around having fun not knowing exactly when we’ll be home for dinner.

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Marinated flat iron steak submerged in SousVide Supreme

We spent the afternoon at Santa Monica Beach enjoying the warm California sun and flying our kites.

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When we came home and removed the flat iron steak from the SousVide Supreme I sliced off a small piece to try it. It was perfect.  It really was juicy and full of flavor. I placed it out on the grill to give it some grill marks and crunch.

Cooked flat iron steak in Korean BBQ marinade

Cooked flat iron steak in Korean BBQ marinade

Look how nicely cooked it was after cooking in the water at 140 degrees for 9 hours.

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A perfect medium

I did make my own tortillas for this recipe, but you don’t have to go that extra step. Just be sure to find some good quality corn tortillas and revitalize them in a saute pan with a little oil.  Heat the oil on medium-high heat and place a tortilla in for 10 seconds and then flip for another 5 seconds remove and place on some paper towels, patting off the excess oil. Repeat with remaining tortillas.

Later this month, I’m competing with several other BBQ bloggers at http://www.sousvidesupreme.com/sousvidebbq.htm. Check back after June 25 to see what recipe I decide to enter and send me a vote if you want. As a bonus, each person who casts a vote for their fan favorite will be entered to win a $200 gift certificate to www.sousvidesupreme.com.

DISCLAIMER: I was sent the SousVide Supreme to try as part of a blogger outreach program from the company.  The opinions are my own.

Sous-Vide Korean BBQ Tacos

Prep Time: 20 Mins Cooking Time: 8 Hours Total Time: 8 Hours

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb. flat iron steak

Marinade

  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 5 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sriracha sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

Pickled Cabbage

  • 1/2 head of cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime juice

Cilantro relish

  • 1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • juice from 1 lime

Directions:

  1. Combine the marinade ingredients and whisk together. Place the meat in the marinade and let it sit overnight in the refrigerator. In the morning, remove the flat iron steak and place into a vacuum pouch pour in about 2 tablespoons of the marinade into the vacuum pouch. Seal the steak using a vacuum food sealer.
  2. Fill up a SousVide Supreme with water and place the rack and sealed meat into the cooker. Set the heat to 140 degrees for medium doneness and let it cook for 8 hour or up to 24 hours. After 8 hours the meat is ready, the remaining time is just flex time that will keep the meat at the final cooked heat without over cooking.
  3. Meanwhile before the meat is ready to be removed from the SousVide Supreme, make the pickled cabbage and cilantro relish.
  4. For the cabbage, combine all of the ingredients together in a bowl and cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours for the flavors to combine.
  5. The cilantro relish is made by simply combining the ingredients in a bowl and setting aside. This can be made right before taking the meat out.
  6. When the meat is ready, remove from the water and cut the vacuum pouch open. Remove the flat iron steak and place on a hot grill for a few minutes to give it some char. Remove and slice into small cubes for the taco.
  7. On each tortilla, place some meat followed by the cilantro relish and then the cabbage on top. Pour on some hot sauce too if you desire and serve.
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Street Tacos al Pastor for #SundaySupper

On September 16, 2012, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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September 16th is Día de Independencia in Mexico (Mexico’s Independence Day) and to celebrate the group of bloggers from #SundaySupper decided to feature Mexican dishes.  As someone who has another blog entirely dedicated to my favorite Mexican food — Tacos — I was excited to try making something I have always wanted to attempt.

Tacos al Pastor is my go to taco when I am out doing taco reviews on GasStationTacos.com.  It’s my test to see if the taqueria is sub par, average or amazing. If you have never enjoyed an al pastor taco, you are in for a treat provided you find a place (or recipe) that is at least average and hopefully amazing.

I’ve had amazing a few times.  The most memorable is from this gas station in Dallas, Texas:

They make it on a vertical spit something most home cooks don’t own, myself included. Sadly this recipe isn’t a match for some of the amazing pastor tacos in my history, but that doesn’t mean you should stop reading or ignore this recipe.  It just means the recipe here is above average and is a solid choice for homemade al pastor.  Granted I’ll probably try some other things next time, like increasing or modifying the chiles used as I prefer a bit more spice.

My wife really liked this recipe and thought the tacos were really good. Note this was her first time having al pastor tacos, because she will not eat at the gas stations or taco trucks I like to frequent.  Her loss.

So here is my virgin attempt at al pastor.

You will need to find a Mexican market as you’ll need a coupe things you probably won’t find at the typical grocery store.  Achiote paste and dried guajillos chiles are two things I had to find after striking out here in LA at Whole Foods.

Tacos al Pastor
Serves 4

16 corn tortillas
1/2 cup oil
2 lbs pork butt, trimmed of some of the outer fat and cut into 1″ “steaks”
1/2 pineapple
1 red onion, diced
1 bunch cilantro, diced
4 limes, cut into quarters
salt

Anchiote Marinade
2 oranges, juice only
1/2 cup anchiote paste
10 dry guajillos chiles
1 onion
4 garlic cloves
1 cup white vinegar
1 cinnamon stick
salt and pepper to taste

Prepare the marinade by soaking the dried gualjillos chiles in hot water for about 10 minutes.  Add the softened chiles to a blender with the rest of the ingredients and blend until fully combined.  Pour the marinade over the pork butt, cut into 1″ thick “steaks” and refrigerate for about 3 hours.

Heat your grill and add the pork.  Cook the pork for about 20 minutes turning halfway through and pounding the pork with some grill tongs. You want to soften the pork and thin it while it is cooking.  For the last 5 minutes of grilling add some rounds of pineapple.

While waiting for everything to grill, soften the tortillas by heating some oil in a saute pan on the stove.  Quickly add the tortillas for just a second on each side and place on papper towel patting them to remove any excess oil.

Remove the pork and pineapple.  Chop the pork and cut the pineapple into small pieces mixing all of it together.  In a separate bowl mix the red onion, cilantro, squeeze of lime and salt.

Prepare 3 to 4 tacos per plate and place some pork and pineapple mixture onto each tortilla and top with the onion and cilantro mixture.

Serve with some hot sauce and fresh limes.


For more ways to celebrate Mexico’s Independence Day checkout the other #SundaySupper recipes this week:

Join us around the family table this week for our #SundaySupper Mexican Fiesta – it’s a party that you won’t want to miss. We hope to inspire you with these mouthwatering recipes from our talented contributors. We will be sharing them all day long and would love for you to share your favorite Mexican and Mexican-inspired recipes during our #SundaySupper live chat at 7pm (Eastern).

Sopas (Soups), Ensaladas (Salads), and Entremeses (Starters)

La Comida (the food)

Postres (desserts)

Bebidas (beverages)

Please be sure you join us on Twitter throughout the day during #SundaySupper. We’ll be meeting up at 7:00 pm (Eastern) for our weekly #SundaySupper live chat where we’ll talk about our favorite recipes for a Mexican Fiesta! All you have to do is follow the#SundaySupper hashtag, or you can follow us through TweetChat! We’d also love to feature your Mexican Fiesta recipes on our #SundaySupper Pinterest board and share them with all of our followers! And feel free to leave links to your favorite Mexican or Mexican-inspired recipes in the comment section of this post – I’d love to see them!

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Chorizo Tacos

On February 13, 2012, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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These easy to make tacos are full of flavor and require very little preparation and cooking time.

The Chorizo I bought came from a local ranch called Rehoboth Ranch that sells at the Coppell Farmers Market.  The ingredients are simple including only pork, salt, paprika, ground pepper, garlic, and oregano.

I also used some locally made corn tortillas from Two Chefs, sold at the same market. I highly recommend their corn tortillas as they are the best I have found around Dallas.

Chorizo Tacos
Serves 3-4

1 lb Chorizo Sausage, remove casing and crumble
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, rough chop
10 corn tortillas
1 lime
hot sauce (optional)
oil

Add about a tablespoon of olive oil to a saute pan and heat on medium-high.  Place crumbled chorizo into pan and add cumin and fresh pepper.  Let this cook, watching it and stirring it often. Keep cutting the chorizo into smaller bits and let the sausage get a bit burt in places.  This will add to the flavor and should take about 7-10 minutes.

Meanwhile heat some oil in a pan high enough to barely cover a tortilla.  Let it get hot enough, about 3 minutes.  Dip each tortilla in the oil separately and turning over quickly. This should only take about 5 seconds per tortilla and move the tortilla to a plate with paper towels and remove any excess oil.  Repeat with remaining corn tortillas.

Place a few tortillas on a plate and add about a 1/3 cup of meat and a small handful of cilantro and red onions.  Cut up a lime adding a couple wedges to each plate.

Serve with your favorite hot sauce for added flavor, like Valentina.

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For those who do not know, I also write a blog reviewing taco stands located at gas stations – gasstationtacos.com.  To support the blog, I also maintain the @GasStationTacos Twitter account where I get a few new followers each week. One follower I noticed had competed on American Idol Season 10 and also does a food blog.  I checked out the blog and noticed a few recipes worth trying.  This is the first recipe.

The original recipe is for Rotisserie Chicken Tostadas with Black Bean Corn Salsa from the blog Sarah’s Musical Kitchen. I modified it a bit since I prefer tacos to tostadas and skipped the layer of salsa for a few drops of hot sauce. The hot sauce I used is Swat Sauce I picked up last December in Ferndale, Michigan at The Fly Trap restaurant.

Saturday morning I went to Coppell’s Farmers Market and bought some corn and flour tortillas from Two Chefs. This recipe put the fresh corn tortillas to good use, plus the easy avocado sauce (1 avocado, 1/2 cup sour cream and a dash of garlic powder) is such a brilliant idea I’m sure I’ll use for other recipes and would be amazing on a hamburger.

So go ahead and give this simple recipe a try.  My wife really enjoyed it and said it was better than anything she’s ever had at Urban Taco.

For the full recipe: Rotisserie Chicken Tostadas with Black Bean Corn Salsa

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