Grilled flank steak with soy-honey marinade

My brother Vic turned me on to this perfect-for-all-occasions flank steak recipe from the reliably fantastic Elise at Simply Recipes. My favorite kind of cooking – a few uncomplicated ingredients combining into a truly exceptional result. Flavorful and tender slices of flank steak dress up any side dish or salad, and leftovers make killer sandwiches.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds flank steak

Preparation

  1. Rinse and pat dry the steak. Lay the meat flat on a large cutting board and score the meat (gently running the point of a sharp, thin-bladed knife across the meat to make a shallow cut) in diagonal lines, about an inch apart, all the way across the steak. Score the steak again across the first lines, making a crosshatch pattern. Do this on both sides of the steak.
  2. Combine the olive oil, soy sauce, honey, vinegar and pepper in a bowl. Place steak in a large Ziploc bag and pour the marinade in. Close the bag, squeezing out extra air before you seal it, and turn the bag to make sure meat is fully coated with marinade (you can also marinate the meat in a large bowl or dish). Let the meat marinate in the refrigerator; 2 hours is good and overnight is better.
  3. Ready the grill with one area for high, direct heat and one for lower, indirect heat. The grill is hot enough when you hold your hand about an inch over the hot side and you can only hold it there for about a second.
  4. Remove the steak from the marinade and let excess marinade drip off (still leaving a coating of it on; the oil helps keep the steak from sticking to the grill). Place steak on the hot side of the grill. Grill for a couple minutes on each side to get a good sear, then move the steak to the cooler side of the grill, cover and cook a few minutes more until done to your liking.
  5. Testing for doneness: Steak gets firmer as it cooks. Elise has a handy (pun intended) finger press method to test doneness of meat. Or you can use a good meat thermometer (Elise recommends a Thermapen.) Pull the steak off the grill at 125 to 130°F for rare, 140°F for medium rare, and 150°F for medium. Don’t cook flank steak past medium, or it will be tough eating.
  6. Rest the steak: When the steak has cooked to your liking, remove from the grill and let it sit for 10 minutes (preferably in a warmish spot, or cover loosely with aluminum foil to help keep it warm). Resting the meat will help it retain its juices during cutting.
  7. Slice across the grain: the grain is the lines of muscle fibers running across the steak. Flank steak is a very lean cut that will be tough and chewy unless you cut it in a way that breaks up the fibers. Put the steak on a cutting board and use a long, sharp knife (a long serrated bread knife is great) to cut the steak across the grain of the meat, tilting the knife to slice at a flattish diagonal through the steak. This way the slices are wider than if you sliced straight down like bread.
  8. If you want, you can take the excess marinade and bring it to a boil, simmer for several minutes, and serve with the flank steak. Elise also recommends salsa or horseradish sauce as an alternative.

Serves 6.

Notes

  • I’ve used 1.5 times the marinade for 4 pounds of flank steak, which works well. 1.5x recipe: 1/2 cup olive oil,
    3 cloves garlic, 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/3 cup honey, 3/4 teaspoon black pepper.
  • Vinegar substitute: substitute any other vinegar you have (white, apple cider, white wine, balsamic). The vinegar is just a flavor accent and also serves as meat tenderizer.
  • You can skip scoring the meat, and the steak will still taste great. But the scoring is quick and does help with both flavor penetration and tenderness.
  • Leftovers make great sandwiches. Banh mi is a fun alternative with a fresh baguette and quick-pickled veg.

Here’s a link back to the post and pictures.