"Korean-American chefs like Roy Choi (in Los Angeles), David Chang (in New York City) and Edward Lee (in Louisville) have made it cool and modern to reimagine tacos and introduce words like gochujang (ko-chew-jang) into barbecue conversations. A thick paste of red chiles, fermented soy beans and glutinous rice, gochujang is a key ingredient in kogi sauce, which we might as well call a Korean barbecue sauce because of its spicy-sweet-salty nature and its affinity for charred meat. If you are unable to find gochujang, squeeze a little Sriracha sauce just by itself on these tacos.*"
3 pounds flanken-style beef short ribs
1 large head butter lettuce, leaves separated
12 flour tortillas
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
6 garlic cloves
1 granny smith apple, about 8 ounces, cored and cut into quarters
1 yellow onion, about 6 ounces, cut into quarters
1 piece fresh ginger, about 2 inches long, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup Asian rice wine or sherry
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 English cucumber, about 12 ounces, very thinly sliced
1 red jalapeño chile pepper, finely chopped
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
Kogi Sauce (see headnote*):
1/4 cup gochujang (korean fermented hot pepper paste)
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons unseasoned rice vinegar
In a food processor combine the garlic, apple, onion and ginger and process until finely chopped. Add the remaining marinade ingredients and process until pureed and well blended. Place the short ribs in a large, re-sealable plastic bag and pour in the marinade. Press the air out of the bag and seal tightly. Turn the bag to distribute the marinade, place in a bowl, and refrigerate for 24 hours, turning the bag occasionally. Allow the ribs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before grilling.
In a medium bowl combine the pickled cucumber ingredients and stir to combine. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
If you are using gochujang, whisk the kogi sauce ingredients.
Prepare the grill for direct cooking over high heat (450° to 550°F).
Remove the ribs from the bag and discard the marinade. Grill the ribs over direct high heat, with the lid closed, until charred, caramelized and cooked to medium rare, 4 to 6 minutes (depending on the thickness of the ribs), turning once. Remove from the grill and let rest for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the bones and cut the meat crosswise into thin slices.
Arrange a lettuce leaf on a tortilla. Top with meat, pickled cucumbers, kogi sauce (or Sriracha) and cilantro. Roll up and eat.