Transform your roast beef leftovers with these easy and delicious beef lettuce wraps. Perfect for weeknight dinners or party appetizers.

Beef Lettuce Wraps.

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This is one of those recipes that’s easy to make on a weeknight, if you meal plan. And they’re super fun for parties or catering.

There is hardly any cooking involved because you can do so much in advance.

The foundation starts with pre-smoked roast beef leftovers, and the pickled veg and rice noodles can be made a couple of days in advance.

When it comes time for dinner or your party, all you have to do is put out the lettuce and toppings and enjoy.

What is a lettuce wrap?

Lettuce wraps come in many varieties. You basically take any kind of protein filling and wrap it with a lettuce leaf instead of a tortilla or bread. It’s a healthy alternative for those looking for dishes that are low in calories and carbohydrates.

I was first introduced to lettuce wraps when I lived in South Korea. When you go to barbecue restaurants in Korea, you’re provided with meat to cook at your table, banchan, which are small bowls of pickled veggies, and lettuce leaves.

Once you cook your meat, you pile it onto your lettuce leaf with banchan and roll it tight to enjoy it like a Korean burrito, or as Korean’s call it ssam.

Ingredients

Platter of toppings for Beef Lettuce Wraps.
  • Smoked Roast Beef: Try my recipe for smoked top round roast or eye of round roast. You can smoke either and save leftovers in the freezer. Then, just pull them out for this easy dinner.
  • Korean BBQ Sauce: Look for these in the Asian section of your local grocery store. They usually include gochujang and can be mild or spicy.
  • Pickled Veggies: I’ll show you how to make a quick pickling liquid for carrots and daikon radish.
  • Crispy Rice Noodles: For added crunch, we’ll fry Thai vermicelli rice noodles. They’ll puff up and get crispy.
  • Boston, Butter or Bibb Lettuce: These types of butterhead lettuce varieties work best for lettuce wraps. If you can’t find butter lettuce, you can also use iceberg lettuce or romaine lettuce.
  • Green Onions
  • Cilantro or Parsley
Substitutions: Daikon radish can be hard to find, so it's okay to just use carrot or try other types of radishes. You can also use sesame seeds, if you don't feel like frying the noodles. 

See the full recipe card below for servings and a full list of ingredients.


How to prepare beef lettuce wraps

  1. STEP ONE: This recipe calls for pre-cooked thinly sliced roast beef. I like using my Smoked Top Round Roast. You can enjoy it warm or cold with this dish.
Thinly sliced beef top round roast.
  1. STEP TWO: In a sauce pot, heat white vinegar, water and sugar over medium heat. Once the sugar is dissolved, remove it from the heat and add the sliced veggies. Let those pickle while you assemble the other ingredients.
Pickled carrots and radish.
  1. STEP THREE: Heat another pan with oil over medium-high heat. Working in very small batches, drop some uncooked noodles into the oil. They will puff up in 3-5 seconds. Remove from the oil. Drain on a paper towel and salt.
Crispy rice noodles.

How to build lettuce wraps

Open a lettuce wrap and pile on a few slices of beef. Top with a drizzle of Korean BBQ sauce, pickled veggies, rice noodles, green onions and cilantro or parsley.

Roll up and enjoy.

Beef Lettuce Wraps.

If you’re making Korean beef lettuce wraps for a family meal, you can place the leaves and meat on plate and all of the other toppings in bowls. That way everyone can build their own.

To serve these at a party, go ahead and assemble them all and arrange them on a platter. You can serve mild and spicy Korean BBQ sauce on the side.

Storage

Once the lettuce cups are assembled, it’s best to enjoy them right away, especially if you add sauce. You can arrange the lettuce, meat and pickled veggies and refrigerate for about an hour.

The good news though, is you can store all of the ingredients separately for several days in airtight containers in the refrigerator.

GCG Pro Pitmaster Tips

  • Use pre-smoked roast beef to save time
  • Make all of the ingredients ahead of time
  • When ready, pull out the ingredients and let everyone build their wraps

Frequently Asked Questions

What is korean bbq sauce?

Korean BBQ sauce is similar to American BBQ sauce but includes Asian ingredients like soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, garlic, ginger, sesame oil and gochujang, which is a spicy fermented chili paste.

What can I use instead of Korean BBQ sauce?

If you can’t find Korean BBQ sauce, try Japanese BBQ sauce or hoisin sauce. Hoisin sauce can be a little thick. You can thin it out with some water and rice wine vinegar.

Can lettuce wraps be made with ground beef?

Absolutely! Simply brown the ground beef in a skillet. Drain the fat and stir in some of the BBQ sauce. Then, spoon the beef mixture into the lettuce and add the other toppings.

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5 from 1 vote

Korean Inspired Beef Lettuce Wraps

Transform your roast beef leftovers with these easy and delicious beef lettuce wraps. Perfect for weeknight dinners or party appetizers.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 16 lettuce wraps

Ingredients 

  • 1 lb smoked roast beef
  • 1 head bibb or butter lettuce
  • 1/2 cup Korean BBQ Sauce
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro or fresh parsley

Pickled Vegetables

  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 carrots, julienned
  • 3 inch piece daikon radish, julienned

Fried Rice Noodles

  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 pkg Thai vermicelli rice noodles

Instructions 

  • Prep: Place the sliced beef on a plate. Tear the lettuce from the head and place on a plate. Place the onions, cilantro and sauce in little bowls.
  • Pickle Veg: Place the vinegar, water and sugar in a sauce pot over medium heat. Simmer over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Remove it form the heat. Add the carrots and radish and let them simmer.
  • Fry noodles: Heat the oil in a sauce pot over medium-high heat. Break off some of the noodles and drop them into the oil. They will puff up in 3-5 seconds. Remove them from the pot. Drain on a paper towel. Sprinkle with salt. Continue with more noodles.
  • Assemble Wraps: Place all of the prepped ingredients on the counter. To build a wrap, take a piece of lettuce. Add a couple of pieces of beef and some pickled veg to the lettuce. Top with BBQ sauce and sprinkle with rice noodles, onions and cilantro.

Nutrition

Calories: 184kcalCarbohydrates: 7gProtein: 7gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 8gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 16mgSodium: 573mgPotassium: 137mgFiber: 0.4gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 1636IUVitamin C: 14mgCalcium: 87mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Appetizer, lunch
Cuisine: Korean
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I’m Christie, the head cook and award-winning competitive pitmaster for Team Girls Can Grill. I have won multiple grand championships and top 10 category finishes. I’m an expert grill reviewer for BBQ Guys, and I have appeared on the Food Network and Ninja Woodfire Grill infomercials. I established this website in 2015 to share my BBQ tips and recipes.

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