It’s summertime, and you know what that means…it’s time to go Brazilian. You can breathe a little sigh of relief because I’m not going to romanticize or rail about a Brazilian waxing. Nope. This one is all about a tangy and spicy Brazilian flank steak marinade that swaddles your meat (and taste buds) in all kinds of deliciousness. So it’s time to talk about firing up that grill, not your nether regions, and make some delicious grilled flank steak.
Keeping up with my easy recipes for summer promise, this grilled flank steak recipe is perfect. Yes, grilling meat does not always require you to stand diligently over an excruciatingly hot open flame for extended periods of time while manically checking the fire burned protein for signs of it turning into charcoal briquets. The flank steak is your friend.
The flank steak, like short ribs; chicken wings and pig ears was (at one time) a poor man’s cut of meat. The kind of meat that they could barely give away at the grocery store. I’m pretty sure that if my grandmother were alive today the price of any one of these things would definitely put her in the grave. Nobody used to like to eat flank steak…it’s fairly tough and pretty flavorless. Oh, things haven’t really changed in that regard…flank steak is still fairly tough and flavorless. But we have ways to work with these two little problemos.
Enter…the marinade. Sure, you can buy some kind of bottled beef marinade (or a bottle of Italian salad dressing like grandma did) but making your own flank steak marinade is as easy, or easier, than making homemade salad dressing. You need a little acid, to help break down the tough fibers in the meat, a little oil to lube things up (a little lube is always a good thing ), a bit of salt and then a bunch of herbs and stuff for flavor. That’s really all there is to it.
Beef marinade is a little bit trickier than making a chicken marinade. Not because it requires any special skill, but because beef has a much stronger flavor than chicken does. So when you’re deciding on your flavors, you need to use things that not only enhance the flavor of the beef but that can really stand up to it.
For this grilled flank steak, I decided to with a Brazilian flavor. Well, it’s more my interpretation of Brazilian flavor. After marinating the meat overnight (in a zip top bag – no dirty dishes) it goes onto a crazy hot grill. I heat my grill until the needle is buried before I throw a flank steak on it. By doing this, I can quickly cook the steak (about 2 minutes on the first side and 1 1/2 minutes on the other) and keep it quite pink in the center. Remember – flank steak can be some pretty tough stuff so if you cook it until it’s brown all the way through, your grilled flank steak is going to taste more like grilled shoe leather.
I mixed up another small batch of the beef marinade to top the grilled flank steak before serving (we ate it plain and in taco format). But if you mix up a double batch of the marinade and only pour half of it into the bag, you won’t have to make up more when you’re ready to serve it. The grilled meat doesn’t really need any more of the marinade (there’s a ton of flavor in it since it soaked over night) but the fresh stuff is sooooo good. If you really want to play it up some more, you could add a splash of tequila to it (or maybe some cachaça if you really want to be authentic).
So get your grill on and look for flank steak to be on sale (you’ll find that it frequently is during the summer) and whip up your own beef marinade. Want to toss your grilled flank steak over rice? How about using some rice wine vinegar, ginger and thai chile? Oh, but make sure you slice your flank steak into thin pieces and against the grain to help cut down on the toughness.
- 1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
- ½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt
- ½ Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 4 Garlic Cloves (grated or finely minced)
- ½ Small Red Onion (finely chopped)
- Handful of Cilantro (leaves finely chopped)
- 1 Serrano Chile (finely minced)
- ⅓ Cup Lime Juice
- ½ Cup Olive Oil
- 2 Pounds Flank Steak
- Place all ingredients, except for flank steak, into large zip top bag.
- Blend the ingredients well.
- Add the flank steak to the mixture.
- Seal the top of the bag while removing as much air as possible.
- Work the marinade around, on the meat, to make sure that all surfaces are covered.
- Slide the marinating steak into the refrigerator and let sit overnight.
- Pre-heat grill to highest temperature.
- Remove steak from marinade and cook for 2 minutes on one side and 1½ minutes on the other (check to make sure meat is done to your likeness before taking it off the grill – you may need to cook it a couple of minutes longer).
- Let the meat rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
- Serve topped with extra marinade* or as is.
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