grilled marinated flank steak

Korean Ssam with Marinated Flank Steak

You don’t make friends with lettuce cups… unless they are filled with meat. Try these Korean-inspired marinated flank steak bites.


The recipe calls for some uniquely Korean ingredients, including Korean chili flakes. It also uses fermented Gochujang, which (rather confusingly) can be found both as a paste and sauce. I used a sauce for this recipe, so if you’re using the paste, dilute in water according to instructions to equal the cup amount that is called for in the recipe below.

I like to serve these with a quick pickle of julienned daikon and carrots. The accompaniment is a great fresh and slightly sour contrast, so helps cut through the fat and richness of the beef.

If you can’t find flank steak, you can also substitute with flat iron, skirt or bavette/flap steaks. All these types are fairly thin and so they will cook nice and fast.

KOREAN ssam with marinaded wagyu steak

And if the meat is the star, the best supporting actor are the savory ‘crunchies’  which are sprinkled on top of the assembled ssam.  ‘Crunchies’ lend a wonderful texture that also has a boost of savory flavors. I make mine with crushed peanuts, wasabi peas, rice krispies, sesame seeds and fried shallot. I put the ingredients into a ziploc bag and smash them with a mallet until they’re sprinkle-sized. Then I store them in the pantry for use on a variety of dishes – in an airtight container they are good for a few weeks.

Finally, and most importantly, I thoroughly recommend you use a decent meat thermometer to ensure you cook to perfect temperatures. It’s a small price to pay for years of quality meat cookery. I use and recommend the Thermapen.

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pickled korean

Korean Ssam with Marinated Flank Steak

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  • Author: Jess Pryles



2 lb flank steak

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup gochujang sauce (see note 1)

2 teaspoon Korean chili flakes

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated

1 teaspoon sesame oil (see note 2)

1 iceberg or butter lettuce

1 lime, cut into segments


  1. In a large container or gallon zip top bag, combine the soy, gochujang, Korean chili, ginger and oil. Add the flank steak, massaging the bag so the entire steak is well coated in marinade. Place in the fridge for 2-6 hours.
  2. Prepare the lettuce by washing and separating the leaves to used for wrapping the ssam.
  3. Heat a grill for medium high heat (450-550f) cooking.
  4. Remove the steaks from the marinade and place onto the grill. Cook until the internal temperature reaches 135f, flipping the steak every 3 minutes. This should take approximately 10-15 minutes all up.
  5. Once the steak is at the correct temperature, remove it from the grill, cover loosley with foil and rest 10 minutes.
  6. Slice the flank steak against the grain, and serve with lettuce cups, Korean pickle, ‘crunchies’ and fresh lime.


Note 1: If you are using a gochujang paste instead of a sauce, you will need to dilute it with water to sauce consistency.

Note 2: If you don’t have sesame oil, you can omit it from the marinade, or replace with a small amount of canola or vegetable oil.

  • Cuisine: asian

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