Grilled Flank Steak with Coca-Cola-Pickled Onions

  • Serves

    serves 4-6

  • Cook

    15 minutes


In Korea, lettuce is often used as a crisp wrapper for bulgogi (marinated beef). In this recipe from Chris Shepherd of Underbelly in Houston, sweeter pickled onions take the place of spicy kimchi. Cooking note: Allow at least 6 hours for marinating.


  • 6 tbsp. gochujang (
  • 3 tbsp. mirin
  • 1 tbsp. plus 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 (1-inch) piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 (2-lb.) flank steak
  • 2 tbsp. sambal oelek (
  • 1 (12-oz.) can Coca-Cola
  • 12 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 2 large red onions, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 heads butter lettuce, leaves separated


Step 1

Pulse gochujang, mirin, 1 tbsp. soy sauce, the sesame oil, garlic, and ginger in a food processor until smooth. Transfer to a bowl with steak, cover, and refrigerate at least 6 hours or up to overnight.

Step 2

Simmer remaining soy sauce, the sambal oelek, and Coca-Cola in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium until reduced by 2⁄3, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vinegar and lime juice; pour over onions in a sterilized 1-qt. glass jar with lid. Let sit uncovered 2 hours; cover and refrigerate until ready to use, or for up to 2 weeks.

Step 3

Build a medium-heat fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to medium. (Alternatively, heat a cast-iron grill pan over medium.) Remove steak from marinade, pat dry with paper towels, and season with salt and pepper; grill, turning as needed, until slightly charred and cooked to desired doneness, 6–8 minutes for medium-rare or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of the steak reads 125°. Let steak rest 10 minutes; thinly slice against the grain. To serve, wrap steak slices and pickled onions in lettuce leaves.

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