Brazilian Grilled Flank Steak – Dinner Made Easy

by Pamela

grilled flank steak, flank steak marinade, beef marinade, flank steak recipe, relationship advice

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 Brazillian 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.

Grilled Flank Steak

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 πŸ˜‰ ), 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.

Brazilian Flank Steak Marinade Recipe

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 cachaΓ§a 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.

Brazilian Grilled Flank Steak - Dinner Made Easy
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Fire up the grill! This tangy and spicy Brazilian flank steak marinade will have your senses singing. Grilled flank steak means dinner is quick and tasty.
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: Brazilian
Serves: 4
  • 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
  1. Place all ingredients, except for flank steak, into large zip top bag.
  2. Blend the ingredients well.
  3. Add the flank steak to the mixture.
  4. Seal the top of the bag while removing as much air as possible.
  5. Work the marinade around, on the meat, to make sure that all surfaces are covered.
  6. Slide the marinating steak into the refrigerator and let sit overnight.
  7. Pre-heat grill to highest temperature.
  8. 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).
  9. Let the meat rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
  10. Serve topped with extra marinade* or as is.
*You really shouldn't use the marinade that the raw meat was sitting in to drizzle over the cooked meat. You should make up more marinade (so that you have fresh to drizzle over cooked steak). If you double the original marinade recipe, double all ingredients except for the garlic.


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Kristie Metzler June 28, 2017 at 5:29 pm

Where is recipe for celantro lime rice

Pamela June 30, 2017 at 10:11 am

Hi Kristie, as requested here is the recipe for cilantro lime rice.

Greg March 17, 2017 at 3:17 pm

I use a kamado grill that cooks with lump coal instead of propane. It doesn’t have a dial for high-heat, it has a thermometer that tells me how hot it is inside. What temperature should I get my grill up to for this recipe?

Pamela March 17, 2017 at 3:19 pm

Hi Greg. I had my grill at 400 degrees Fahrenheit when I cooked this on my propane grill.

Gregory March 18, 2017 at 6:39 am


Pamela March 18, 2017 at 1:30 pm

Anytime! πŸ™‚

Lillian December 31, 2013 at 10:21 am

Just made this recipe on a whim (no overnight marinating) by rubbing down the steak in the seasonings, oil and lime juice, searing it in a cast-iron skillet, and just topped it off with the marinade mix (with the cilantro and onion) later. Quite excellent! My new quick steak fix. πŸ™‚

Pamela December 31, 2013 at 3:54 pm

Thanks Lillian, so glad to hear that you like it. It really is one of those really quick dinner items that tastes like you spent a lot longer making it. Have a happy new year!

Adela November 25, 2013 at 6:46 am

We are having a snowfall right now. It makes me long for long, sunny, summer days. I’m going to try your recipe next summer leaving out the cumin….thanks for sharing

Pamela November 25, 2013 at 9:07 am

Hi Adela, brrrrr… can make this on the stove top using a grill pan or a cast iron skillet. Why wait for summer? Make a little summer in your kitchen. πŸ˜‰ ENJOY!!!!

Peter @ Feed Your Soul Too September 30, 2013 at 10:15 am

Your steak looks awesome. I love the Brazilian influence and the grill marks. I featured it on my Friday Five (I know, I was out of town) – steak & Potato addition over @ Feed Your Soul Too

Pamela September 30, 2013 at 4:24 pm

Thanks Peter!

Sherry in Union, KY August 21, 2013 at 12:40 pm

My husband and I enjoyed this for dinner yesterday and are looking forward to leftovers tonight. This simple marinade is very flavorful and works great with flank steak. Thanks so much for the recipe!

Pamela August 21, 2013 at 3:38 pm

You’re very welcome Sherry.

I’m so glad you guys liked it. πŸ™‚ I think it tastes even better the next day.

Darcie July 9, 2013 at 5:30 pm

I LOVE Brazilian steakhouse food. This recipe sounds fantastic! But I also wanted to say you should never use marinade that raw meat has been sitting in. It’s full of bacteria and should be thrown out immediately.

Pamela July 10, 2013 at 10:04 am

Hi Darcie, I think you’ll really like this recipe then. You are correct regarding the marinade. I usually make up an extra batch of the marinade to serve with the meat. I’ll clarify that in the notes of the recipe. πŸ™‚

Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious June 13, 2013 at 4:37 pm

What an amazing marinade! I can’t wait to make this and serve it with some cilantro rice – YUM!

Pamela June 13, 2013 at 8:47 pm

Hi Chung-Ah,

Thanks. I love the idea serving this with cilantro rice!!!!

Sabrina T. Roth June 6, 2013 at 5:05 pm

I made the flank steak and the potatoes last night and we loved both. The marinade was tasty, the flank steak turned out perfect. The potatoes were tasty and very easy to make. I am not a big fan of leeks but I used them and was amazed at the flavor. We did not use the sour cream as recommended. This will be a recipe that I use again and again. Thanks for the great recipe.

Pamela June 6, 2013 at 5:48 pm

Hi Sabrina,

I’m so glad to hear you liked the recipe and plan to make it again! πŸ™‚

Clara June 5, 2013 at 9:26 am

As a Brazilian, I love to see how people a interested in my country. But I gotta say that this marinade isn’t Brazilian at all…we don’t have serrano chiles and cumin is rarely used. Cloves arer just for dessert, except for a pork Christmas dish. This marinade looks more like a chimichurri, which is a Argentinian sauce. But the recipe is very good!

Pamela June 5, 2013 at 4:33 pm

Hi Clara,

Thanks for the quick Brazilian culinary education. πŸ™‚

Maureen | Orgasmic Chef June 1, 2013 at 8:57 am

I LOL’d at going Brazilian in the summer.

What a gorgeous plate of food!

Pamela June 3, 2013 at 8:35 pm

Thanks Maureen.

Yeah, that whole Brazilian thing might finally be dying a slow death here in LA. My lady bits can only hold out hope. πŸ˜‰

Belinda @zomppa May 31, 2013 at 2:57 pm

Dang…I was gonna say…you’re saying to go ALL out! This is the perfect hot hot hot weather meal!

Pamela May 31, 2013 at 6:54 pm

Thanks Belinda!

This is the perfect meal when you don’t want to be bothered with making dinner, but don’t want take out either.

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