Category Archives: Beef

Juicy Beef Sliders

Living in Southern California, I have access to some of the most delicious burgers. Whether it’s the classic animal-style at In-N-Out, the original gourmet burger at Father’s office, or the Hatch burger at Umami – I love them all. What I can’t seem to find when dining out, though, are good beef sliders. Because sliders are smaller, there’s lots of room for error: overcooking the meat, using too many toppings, soggy buns, etc. When I think of the perfect little burger, the White Castle cheeseburger comes to mind. The buns are soft, there are lots of yummy bits of cooked onions, the cheese is melted perfectly, and the meat is tender. Thinking of White Castle has inspired me to make my own version of beef sliders at home.

I came up with this recipe while shopping at Trader Joe’s, where I purchased all the ingredients with the exception of the ground beef. I was fortunate enough to acquire some some grass-fed beef from a rancher in Bend, Oregon, but if I hadn’t, I would have bought some fresh ground beef from my local butcher or ground my own, either of which I recommend. Make sure the ground beef is 80% lean and 20% fat for extra tenderness. One of the biggest mistakes cooks make is shaping the meat into round patties by hand, which toughens the meat. You want the air pockets from the spaces and grooves that were formed when the butcher ground the beef, as this will also keep the meat tender. Also, though it’s not my favorite, American cheese is actually the best cheese for these burgers. It melts beautifully and gives the sliders that classic burger taste. I add sautéed onions, which not only adds moisture, but great taste, and sliced pickles are essential for adding acid and balance. Finally, add your favorite BBQ sauce. I love Trader Joe’s new Sriracha and Roasted Garlic BBQ Sauce for a little kick. This step-by-step method will ensure moist and delicious sliders. Enjoy!


Juicy Beef Sliders

Yield: 8 mini burgers


1/2 large sweet onion

Sunflower oil or vegetable oil

Kosher salt

6 slices of organic American cheese

8 slider rolls or mini buns

8 slices of sweet bread and butter pickles

Freshly ground pepper

1 lb of grass-fed ground beef, 80/20

Your favorite barbecue sauce (Trader Joe’s Sriracha BBQ Sauce)


1. Chop the onions into a small dice. Heat a medium sauté pan to low heat. Add about 1 tablespoon of oil, then add the onions and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Sauté, stirring occasionally for about 15-20 minutes.


2. The onions should be tender and translucent, but not have a golden color. Set aside.


3. Get all your toppings ready. Remove the cheese slices out of their individual plastic wrappers. You will need to cut out 1/3 of the cheese so it will be the correct slice for sliders. You will combine you smaller cheese scraps for 2 of the sliders. Place them on a parchment paper so they stick to each other.


4. Take the pickle slices out of the jar. Slice each one at a diagonal. Bread and butter pickles tend to be a little thick. You’ll have 16 slices. It’s an extra step, but it makes a difference in the taste of each bite. Set aside.


5. Take the ground beef and serrated knife and begin cutting the beef into 8 portions. Gently flatten each portion by separating the meat pieces with your fingers, but you do not need to form it into a traditional burger shape. If you handle the ground beef too much, it will toughen the meat.


6. Season the meat with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.


7. Heat a large cast-iron pan to medium-high heat. Take out the slider rolls and set aside. Place 4 ground beef portions, seasoned-side down, onto the cast-iron pan. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the unseasoned side. Cook the meat for about 2 minutes until you get a nice sear.


8. Flip the meat and add the cheese slices. Add the 4 slider buns to the pan, cut side down (total of 8 slices).


9 . Cook the meat for about one minute on the other side. I like my burgers medium.

10. To assemble the sliders, spread about a teaspoon of the cooked onions on the bottom bun.


11. Add the cooked meat, two pickle slices, 1 tablespoon of your favorite BBQ sauce, then the top slider bun. Serve right away.



12. Repeat the process with the remaining beef and ingredients to make four more sliders. Enjoy!


Trader Joe’s Pantry



Japchae (Korean Vermicelli with Beef and Vegetables)

Japchae is a popular Korean beef and vegetable noodle dish, made with dang myun (sweet potato noodles). Commonly served at Korean barbecue restaurants as a side dish, japchae is as colorful as it is tasty, usually being combined with a variety of sautéed vegetables. Because it can be served at room temperature, it is also popular at Korean potlucks and wedding buffets. What makes japchae unique is the translucent and chewy texture of the sweet potato noodles. The noodles are also a great alternative to wheat noodles for people who are gluten intolerant.

In this recipe, I use brisket, but you use any other cuts of beef like ribeye, short rib or filet. My mom always used brisket but never marinated it, so it was always a little tough. I created a marinade for this recipe with a little soy and sake and a sprinkling of baking soda to tenderize the beef. It is important to add the baking soda 15 minutes before cooking the meat, so that it doesn’t overtenderize. You to can easily omit beef and add more mushrooms instead to make it vegetarian – either way it will be a crowd pleaser! Enjoy!


Japchae (Korean Vermicelli with Beef and Vegetables)


Serving Size: 6 as a side dish

2 large eggs
Sunflower or other neutral oil
8 ounces of sweet potato noodles*
1 yellow onion, sliced into 1/4″ strips
3 garlic cloves, minced
6 ounces of sliced fresh shiitake or button mushroom
1 cup of carrots (2 carrots), julienned into 1/4″ thin and 2″ long
6 ounces of marinated brisket (see below for marinade)
3 green onion (cut into 2″ pieces)
8 oz of organic spinach (not baby spinach) blanched for 30 seconds
3 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon of toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon of toasted sesame seeds*
Freshly ground black pepper
Sea salt to taste

*Note: Be sure to follow the marinated brisket instructions below prior to starting the recipe

1. Crack the 2 eggs in a medium bowl. Add a pinch of sea salt. Whisk well.

2. Heat a small, non-stick pan over medium. Add 1/2 tablespoon of oil. Pour about half the egg mixture into the pan, swirling to make a thin egg crepe. Cook for about 1 minute. Flip over and cook for 30 more seconds. Transfer to a cutting board and repeat with the remaining egg mixture.


3. Once on the cutting board, fold into thirds like an omelette. Cut into half an inch strips. Place egg strips on a plate and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside until ready to use.


4. Bring 5 quarts of water to boil. Add the sweet potato noodles. Cook for about 6 minutes (you can also follow the cooking instructions on the package.). Drain and rinse with cold water. Add 1/2 tablespoon of sesame oil. Set aside.


5. Remove the marinated beef from the refrigerator. Sprinkle with baking soda and stir. Set aside.


6. Heat large a cast iron pan or wok over high. Add 1/2 tablespoon of sunflower oil. Add the carrots and pinch of salt. Cook for about 2 minutes. Remove and set aside.


7. In the same pan, add 1/2 tablespoon oil. Add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Sauté until golden brown about 2-3 minutes. Remove and set aside.

8. In the same pan on high heat, cook the beef until just brown. Don’t overcook or the meat will get tough. Remove and set aside. Wipe the bottom of pan with a paper towel.


9. In same pan, heat to medium-high. Add 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil. Sauté the onions and garlic for about for about 3 minutes or until the onions get translucent.


10. Add the cooked carrots, mushrooms and beef back into the pan. Add the spinach and green onions. Sauté everything for 30 seconds. Add the cooked noodles, soy sauce, sugar, 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, sesame seeds, and several turns of black pepper.


11. With tongs or large chopsticks, toss the noodles with all the ingredients over medium heat. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.


12. Finally, add the sliced egg crepe and gently toss gently to distribute evenly.



13. Transfer to serving platter. Sprinkle additional sesame seed and serve.


Marinated Brisket

6 ounces of grass-fed brisket
2 teaspoons of organic soy sauce
1 teaspoon of rice wine (sake)
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of sunflower oil
1/8 teaspoon of fresh ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon of baking soda

1. Slice the brisket against the grain into thin strips. You want the strips to be about 2 inches long.


2. Whisk the remainder of the ingredients except for the baking soda in small bowl. (Save the baking soda for 15 minutes before you cook.)

3. Placed the sliced beef in the bowl and stir until combined. Cover with plastic wrap. Marinate for at least 30 minutes, and up to 2 hours. Keep in the refrigerator until ready to use.

*You can find toasted sesame seeds and dang myun at your local Korean supermarket.



Mongolian Beef

Growing up in Koreatown in LA, the Chinese food I ate was quite different from the Chinese food I know today. Most of the Chinese restaurants in Koreatown served Mandarin cuisine, and the owners, servers, and cooks were all Chinese who previously lived in South Korea. When communicating with their customers, they spoke perfect Korean, and when talking amongst themselves, they spoke Mandarin. The food served at these Chinese restaurants was adapted for the Korean palate, with lots of bold flavors. (They even served cabbage kimchee with every meal!) One of my favorite dishes at these Korean-Style Chinese restaurants is Mongolian beef.

Mongolian beef is a dish with a distinct hoisin flavor and lots of scallions. What makes this dish so unique is the texture of the beef – unlike most sautéed meat dishes, the beef is extremely tender. The trick, I learned, is to tenderize the beef with baking soda. Just 1/4 teaspoon will tenderize 8 ounces of beef. I tried this technique at home with flank steak and it worked like a charm, yielding the same tenderness as the Mongolian beef I’ve had at Young Dragon Restaurant. The key is to not let the beef tenderize in the baking soda too long, so be sure not to tenderize the meat until you have everything prepped. As always, please read the entire recipe before you start. Enjoy!

Mongolian Beef

Serving Size: 4 (with rice and side dishes)

8 ounces of flank steak (thinly sliced against the grain)*
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of organic cornstarch
2 tablespoon of homemade chicken stock or low sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons of organic soy sauce
1 tablespoon of hoisin sauce
2 teaspoon of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of fresh ginger juice*
Freshly grated ground pepper
2 tablespoon of sunflower or peanut oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 organic scallions, sliced in 2 inch pieces
Steamed jasmine rice
Kimchee for serving

1. Place the flank steak in a small glass bowl. Sprinkle the baking soda all over the meat. Give it a good stir to coat evenly. Let the meat tenderize for 15-20 minutes.


2. While the meat is tenderizing, in a glass measuring cup, add the chicken sock, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sugar, ginger juice, and good pinch of freshly grated pepper. Whisk and set aside.


3. Once the the meat is tenderized, sprinkle the cornstarch and mix until all the meat is coated. Heat a wok or large stainless steel pan on high, adding 2 tablespoons of oil in the wok. Add the minced garlic and stir fry for 10 seconds.


4. Add the beef, spreading it out so most of the meat touches the surface of the wok. Let it sit undisturbed for 1 seconds. Sauté until the beef is slightly pink (about 45 more seconds).



5. Add the green onions and stir for a few seconds. Quickly move the beef and green onion to the sides of the of the wok, creating a well.


6. Add about 2/3 of sauce mixture into the center of the wok. Let the sauce thicken for about 30 seconds. Bring the meat down from side of the wok. Sauté into the sauce for 30 more seconds. Taste for seasoning and add more sauce, if needed.


7. Transfer to a serving plate. Serve immediately with steamed jasmine rice, kimchee and other vegetable side dishes.


*Cut the flank steak against the grain, just shy of 1/4 inch in thickness and about 2 inches wide.

*To make ginger juice, finely grate about 1 teaspoon of ginger. Squeeze the grated ginger over a fine mesh seive. Discard the ginger solids and use ginger liquid for the recipe.