Korean-Style Beef Lettuce Cups

There is something primally satisfying about eating with your hands, and with Korean-Style Beef Lettuce Cups you will enjoy that pleasure and more: satisfying, juicy and seriously good finger food with the extra kick of spice.  This is fun food to make and eat – perfect for a casual, interactive dinner party. Line the table with bowls of condiments and rice and platters of beef and lettuce leaves. Then let everyone assemble their own cups. Pile the meat on fresh lettuce leaves along with rice and a sprinkle of condiments. Drizzle some of the reduced meat sauce over the rice and serve with a squirt of sriracha.

Korean-Style Beef Lettuce Cups

A key to the flavor of this recipe is the beef marinade. Strips of beef soak in a rich, umami-ish sauce fortified with stout, and are pan-fried until browned and slightly caramelized. The sauce is then reduced to an intense salty, sweet, hot sauce for drizzling. Serves 6-8.

For the meat:
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup dark beer
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons sriracha
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 pounds New York strip or rib-eye steak, cut cross-wise in very thin slices

For the condiments:
1 large carrot, peeled and grated
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 bunch scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced
1 cup fresh mint leaves
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/3 cup sesame seeds, lightly toasted
Sriracha
2 cups basmati or sushi rice, cooked
1-2 heads green leaf lettuce, leaves separated, washed and dried

Prepare the marinade:
Whisk together soy sauce, stout,  garlic, sugar, lime juice, sriracha and sesame oil in a large bowl. Add meat and toss to thoroughly coat the meat. Let sit at room temperature 1 hour or refrigerate covered up to 24 hours.

Prepare condiments:
Toss carrot with lime juice in a small bowl. Place scallions, mint, cilantro, sesame seeds, sriracha and rice in individual serving bowls. Arrange lettuce on a platter.

Prepare Meat:
Heat 1 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil in a skillet or grill pan over medium high heat. Add beef strips in batches in one layer without overcrowding. Brown on both sides. Transfer to a platter; keep warm. Once all the beef has been cooked, pour the remaining marinade and any collected meat juices into the skillet. Bring to a boil and reduce until somewhat thickened. Pour into a small bowl.

To serve, top a lettuce leaf with a few spoonfuls of rice, 1-2 meat strips and a spoonful of the marinade reduction. Sprinkle with the other condiments and drizzle with sriracha. Roll up and eat.

9 responses to “Korean-Style Beef Lettuce Cups

  1. Thanks for the link! I love lettuce wraps and these look fantastic.

  2. Gorgeous photos and what a great idea, I bet my kids would love these…the perfect way to get them to eat their salad! – S

  3. Just came across your blog… Your photos are amazing! Everything looks delicious. =)

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  6. Question: what dark beer(s) would you recommend to use for this dish?

  7. I made these last night for a party and they were really delicious! Thanks for sharing.