Tonight’s dinner was inspired by our delicious meals at various Korean taco trucks in NYC.
Making specialty tacos can be much less intimidating than a home cook might think, IF you have the right information. Before embarking on this taco-making journey, I enlisted the help of Korilla and Kimchi Taco. Not that I didn’t think I could do it, of course, but these guys are experts … and extremely nice to reply to my plea for some tips.
Eddie from Korilla had a lot of suggestions for how to handle the meat. “Marinate your favorite meat for 24-48 hours so that it soaks up all the goodness. When grilling, follow the one-turn rule wherein you grill each side only once so that you keep as much flavor in the meat while grilling. Lastly, since the marinade in Korean BBQ is very wet, make sure you drain the excess marinade after grilling. It helps to double wrap to prevent breakage of the contents of your Korean taco.”
Phillip from Kimchi Taco gave some clues as to what ingredients they like in their marinade. “One of the keys is making sure the protein is well seasoned and balanced. In our traditional Korean marinated beef that we use for the tacos, we add as much fruit as possible to add extra flavor.” He suggested fruits like pears, kiwi and seasonal fruits, such as local apples. The fruit adds “extra dimension to the meat” without being too sweet, according to Phillip.
After doing some online research, I settled on two different meat marinades for my thinly sliced ribsteak, one from Gourmet (RIP!) that suggested an overnight soak and another from Brooklyn Experiments that included fruit.
Eddie went on to talk about what else goes in a taco. “Add your favorite veggies for added texture. At Korilla, we use pickled veggies (kimchi) and sauteed veggies to achieve maximum crunch and munch!”
I made the cabbage slaw included in the Gourmet article and — of course — purchased Kimchi (although, it is not difficult to make your own!) at an Asian market for the suggested “crunch and munch.” Because both trucks include some sort of pico or salsa on their tacos, we included some as well.
The one notable deviation in my tacos versus the trucks was that I used flour tortillas over corn, because I happen to like them better.
In the end, both meat marinades were very good. However, if I were to make this again — I’m sorry, WHEN I make this again — I will probably go with the long-soak Gourmet marinade. It packed more of a flavor punch.
(I realize the tacos in the above photos look very similar, but they do taste different. The Gourmet recipe meat and taco are on the left and the Brooklyn Experiments meat and taco are on the right.)
Eddie’s final tip? “Eat while hot!” Yes, sir!
(Follow the trucks on Twitter for locations @KimchiTruck and @KorillaBBQ.)