The best grilled marinated flank steak recipe

the best grilled marinated flank steak | pamela salzman

Such a bold claim I am making today with this flank steak recipe!  But that’s what Mr. Picky himself declared when I made this the first time many years ago.  And that’s what my nieces and nephews say when I cook this up for my family in the summertime.  As you know, I actually don’t even eat red meat, but I have tried this and I have to admit… it’s delicious!  I figured with Memorial Day weekend coming up (so excited to have a long weekend!), you might have invited a few friends over and are looking for the perfect grilled steak recipe.  This is it right here.  I also taught this in my classes a couple years ago and everyone loved it.  The ingredients are simple, you marinate it in the morning and it cooks up very quickly on the grill.  The marinade is what makes it so delicious and I especially love marinating grass-fed meat with a little soy sauce or tamari which really helps tenderize it.  Yum!

marinating the meat

As opposed to me, my family loves beef,  so I do cook it for them a few times a month.  I have talked about why I don’t think we should be overeating red meat on the blog before, and I have discussed my reasons for ONLY choosing grass-fed beef when I do buy it.  My opinion hasn’t changed at all.  When I do make animal protein for the family, it’s a small amount, usually 2-4 ounces.  Yes, even my husband eats that amount.  And if grass-fed isn’t available, I won’t buy corn-fed.  So if you’re going to eat beef — not a lot and make it grass-fed!

grilling flank steak and green onions

I have made this recipe two different ways.  In my classes, I pre-sliced the flank steak and marinated it already cut.  The advantage of this method is that it cooks super fast, about a minute per side and the marinade really gets throughout the meat.  If you’ve read my post about how to reduce your carcinogens when you grill, you’ll also remember one of the best strategies is to grill thin cuts so exposure to the grill is kept at a minimum.  Also, pre-cut meat is easier to serve during a cooking class because I don’t have to slice the meat when hungry people are waiting.  If you like rare beef however, you’re better off grilling the whole steak, letting it rest and then slicing it before serving.

or you can slice the steak before marinating

Whichever way you prepare it, here a few reminders about cooking steak:

  • flank steak can be hard to find because there aren’t too many “flanks”  on a cow.  Other acceptable subs are skirt steak, flap steak, or hanger steak.
  • don’t over marinate a thin cut like flank steak.  This marinade contains soy sauce which can make the meat mushy if you leave it in too long (like more than 12 hours.)
  • grass-fed contains less fat and therefore cooks more quickly;
  • grass-fed doesn’t stay as tender if it’s cooked well-done.  My answer for well-done grass-fee meat is to pour the juices from the cutting board on top of the meat and also serve it with a dressing or sauce to add moisture.
  • take the meat out of the fridge 30 minutes before to bring it to room temp so it cooks evenly;
  • always allow the cooked meat to rest, covered, for about 10 minutes before slicing so the juices redistribute themselves into the meat.  Don’t allow to rest too long, otherwise it will overcook (unless you want it well-done).
  • always cut against the grain for a more tender bite.  Look at the naturals lines in the meat and cut in the opposite direction.  If you cut with the grain, the meat will be chewy.

I generally serve this steak as is, but I don’t see why you couldn’t serve a salsa, an herb dressing or chopped grilled scallions on top.  Some good accompaniments are sautéed corn, wheat berry salad with lemon-tahini dressing, perfect spring salad, grilled artichokes, heirloom tomatoes with basil, roasted asparagus, just to suggest a few.

slice against the grain

the best grilled marinated flank steak | pamela salzman

The Best Grilled Marinated Flank Steak
Author: 
Serves: 6-8
 
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup shoyu (naturally brewed soy sauce) or GF tamari
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons dry white wine ( I also subbed rice vinegar once at it was still great)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, very finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil*
  • 2 teaspoons unrefined, cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
  • pinch of crushed red pepper, or more to taste
  • 2 ½ pounds (or whatever you can get) grass-fed beef flank steak, cut across the grain on a diagonal into 1-inch thick slices or left whole (marinating can be longer if the steak is whole)
Instructions
  1. In a large, shallow dish, combine the soy sauce with the sugar, white wine, chopped garlic, toasted sesame oil olive oil and crushed red pepper, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the sliced flank steak and coat thoroughly in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate the steak for 4 hours or up to 8 hours.
  2. Heat a grill or a griddle over medium-high heat. Working in batches, grill the steak until the slices are browned and medium-rare, about 1-2 minutes per side. Transfer the steak to a serving platter and serve immediately.
  3. OR grill the whole steak for 2 ½ to 3 minutes on each side for medium-rare. 4 minutes on each side for medium-well. Transfer meat to a cutting board and cover. Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing AGAINST the grain. Serve.
Notes
*You can use 1 Tablespoon of sesame oil and omit the olive oil + add a little chopped fresh ginger for a more Asian flavor.

Pasta with Shredded Grass-Fed Brisket Recipe (slow cooker version, too!)

pasta with shredded grass-fed beef brisket | pamela salzman

Just because I don’t eat meat, doesn’t mean my family doesn’t love it and ask for it.  So I will make it on occasion, but my rule is that it has to be grass-fed.  Read my other brisket post about why.  I make beef more in the winter than in the summer because it has a very warming thermal nature, and becomes even more warming when cooked with onions, which means it can actually raise the thermostat in your body and heat you up a little.  Perfect these chilly nights, and I know so many of you have been suffering through the worst winter ever!  It’s almost over! (I hope!)

pat meat dry, season and sear

chop veggies

I’ve been making a version of this recipe for about 15 years, and my grandmother made something similar which everyone loved.  Of course grandmothers never write recipes down because they don’t measure anything (a pinch of this, a sprinkle of that.)  Thank goodness for google which helped me come up with a great roadmap for one of my family’s favorites.  In fact, my older daughter has requested this dish many times for her birthday in past years!

dry red wine and organic diced tomatoes in a glass jar

brisket and sauce before and after

This is different from the brisket I learned how to make for Jewish holidays.  That brisket is braised in an oniony sauce as well, but it’s sliced whereas this one is shredded and the sauce is more tomato-veggie, much more Italian.  We used to eat this over wide pasta, like pappardelle or fettuccine or egg noodles.  But spaghetti and even orecchiette are great.  Since I don’t make as much pasta as I used to, we have been enjoying this more over cauliflower mashed potatoes or polenta.  For those of you who are hooked on spaghetti squash, I think this would be great on it!

cut and shred

Brisket is one of those very tough cuts of meat that can only be made meltingly tender by cooking it low and slow for a long period of time with lots of moisture.  Don’t try and grill, sear or stir-fry brisket.  You’ll end up with the toughest, chewiest meat ever.  Yuck!  You can also use chuck roast in this recipe since that cut also needs a long, low and slow preparation.  Since it takes three hours minimum to cook, you’ll need to get this going early in the day or do it in a slow cooker, or make it the day before and reheat it.  All methods will result in a super soft, very flavorful brisket and sauce.  Although I personally think the flavor is a little better the next day.  And, this will freeze beautifully!  I think this sounds like a good weekend project for those of us who will be stuck inside from monsoon rains (not complaining, just saying) or the bitter cold.  Hoping this can help you find a way to stay cozy this weekend!

pasta with shredded grass-fed beef brisket | pamela salzman

5.0 from 1 reviews
Pasta with Shredded Grass-Fed Brisket
Author: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 2 ½-3 pound piece of brisket, preferably grass-fed
  • sea salt or kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 Tablespoons unrefined olive oil, divided
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 medium stalks of celery, chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 2 cups rich chicken stock or beef broth (use whichever you have that’s homemade)
  • 1 14- to 15-ounce can diced tomatoes or 18-ounce glass jar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 pound pasta, cooked and drained
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Pat brisket dry and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Heat 1 Tablespoon of oil in a large oven-proof pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Sear the meat on both sides until nicely browned, about 12 minutes total.
  2. Transfer meat to a platter. Add 2 Tablespoons oil to the pot and then add the chopped vegetables and garlic. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and sauté over medium heat until tender and golden.
  3. Stir in the wine, stock, tomatoes and bay leaves and deglaze the bottom of the pan by scraping the bottom with a wooden spoon. Bring to a boil and place brisket back in the pot. Cover and transfer pot to the oven. Braise the meat for 3-4 hours or until tender enough to shred with a fork.
  4. Remove from the oven and transfer meat to a cutting board. Remove the bay leaves and discard. Remove excess fat from the meat, cut into 2-inch chunks, and shred with two forks.
  5. If you would like a smoother sauce, pureé the vegetable mixture either directly in the pot with an immersion blender or in a food processor or blender. Otherwise you can leave it chunky. This can be done a day before and reheated in the same Dutch oven over medium heat on the stove.
  6. Add the shredded meat back into the sauce and stir together. Serve over cooked pasta or polenta, millet-cauliflower mash, mashed potatoes or cauliflower-mashed potatoes.
Notes
Use less liquid if you want less of a sauce.

SLOW COOKER VERSION
-Sear meat on both sides in a skillet or Dutch oven.  Transfer to slow cooker.
-Saute vegetables until tender.  Season with salt.
-Deglaze pan with ⅔ cup wine, 1 ½ cups stock and same amount of tomatoes as stove-top recipe, making sure to scrape all the brown bits from the bottom of the pot.  Transfer contents plus bay leaves to slow cooker.
-Cover and cook on LOW for 7-9 hours or HIGH 4-5 hours.  Proceed with remaining steps 4-6 above.

 

Stir-fried Grass-fed Beef and Broccoli

Happy Chinese New Year! Mr. Picky is very excited to celebrate the holiday at his school today and the girls are happy that I’ll be making a Chinese meal for dinner tonight. I’m fun that way! My whole family loves Chinese food, especially stir-fries which are surprisingly easy to make at home and so versatile. One of their favorite dishes is Beef and Broccoli which I serve with sesame spinach salad, mixed greens with miso-ginger dressing or steamed brown rice.

Typically I make beef more in the winter than in the summer since it is such a warming food, but we have really cut back on our beef consumption in general, mostly due to animal welfare and environmental reasons. When we do eat beef, it’s always grass-fed, which is just so much more nutritious than corn/grain-fed. I am fortunate to have many local farmer’s markets where I can buy excellent quality grass-fed meat. If you don’t have a good resource for grass-fed meat, check the Eat Wild website to locate a source close to you. Grass-fed beef can be a bit trickier to cook since it has a lower fat content than grain-fed beef and it can get dried out. But with this marinade and the quick-cooking of a stir-fry, it’s terrific!

I love loading up stir-fries with lots of fresh vegetables, especially from the cruciferous family. I try not to rant and rave about all the health benefits of plant foods since they are all basically good for you. But there are some vegetables that do deserve special mention here and more regular place in your diet. The cruciferous vegetables contain loads of nutrients, including some very powerful cancer-fighting compounds. Besides broccoli, other members of this group include cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbages, bok choy, kale and a few others.

Don’t let the list of ingredients in this recipe discourage you. This dish is really not complicated and there are many substitutions that can be made. If you’re vegetarian, you can use extra-firm tofu in place of the beef and substitute additional shoyu in place of the oyster sauce. Gluten-free folks can use GF tamari instead of shoyu.

Here are a couple of tips to making a good stir-fry:

  • Have all your ingredients prepped and ready since stir-frying goes very quickly.
  • Cut all your vegetables the same size so that they cook evenly.
  • Don’t double recipes for stir-fries and try to cook it all in one wok/skillet. It’s important for all the food to come into contact with the surface of the pan. If you need to double, cook the recipe in two batches or in two separate pans.
  • You don’t need a wok to stir-fry. A large skillet will be just fine.
  • If you want to vary the vegetables in your stir-fry, keep in mind whether they can be stir-fried raw or if they need to be blanched first. Examples of vegetables you can throw into the pan raw are cabbage, mushrooms, thinly sliced carrots, celery, bean sprouts and snow peas. Broccoli, cauliflower, shelled edamame and big chunks of carrots should all be blanched before adding to the wok.

Although it’s tempting to celebrate Chinese New Year by ordering take-out, it’s so much better for you and your family if you can cook at home. In fact, with this recipe, they might not even know the difference.

For a few more of our favorite Chinese dishes, check out recipes for Vegetable Fried Rice, Asian Noodle Salad and Sesame Spinach Salad (perhaps only Chinese-inspired.)

Stir-fried Grass-fed Beef and Broccoli
Author: 
Serves: 4-6, depending on what else you're serving
 
Ingredients
  • 1 ½ pounds grass-fed top sirloin or flank steak, trimmed of excess fat and cut against the grain into ⅛-inch thick slices*
  • Marinade:
  • 1 Tablespoon arrowroot or non-GMO cornstarch
  • 3 Tablespoons shoyu or gluten-free tamari
  • 3 Tablespoons water
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons dry sherry or Chinese rice wine such as Shao Hsing
  • 1 ½ teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • Sauce:
  • 2 Tablespoons oyster sauce (or substitute extra shoyu, but oyster sauce makes it taste like it's from a restaurant)
  • 1 Tablespoon shoyu or gluten-free tamari
  • 1 Tablespoons dry sherry or Chinese rice wine such as Shao Hsing (I always use sherry)
  • 3 Tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar (optional-for sweetness)
  • 1 Tablespoon arrowroot or non-GMO cornstarch
  • 1 bunch broccoli, cut into small florets, stems peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons unrefined peanut oil
  • 2 quarter-size pieces of fresh, peeled ginger
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together all marinade ingredients until arrowroot is dissolved. Transfer beef to marinade and stir to coat. Allow to marinate at room temperature for 30-60 minutes.
  2. Make the sauce: place all sauce ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until arrowroot is dissolved. Set aside.
  3. Bring an inch or two of salted water to a boil in the wok and add the broccoli. Cover and steam until crisp tender, about 2 minutes. Drain and reserve.
  4. Heat the wok over medium-high heat. Drain the beef in a colander. Add peanut oil and tilt to coat sides of wok. Add ½ of beef to wok, spreading it in one layer on the surface of the wok and allow to cook undisturbed for 1 minute or until brown. Turn beef over and cook for another 30 seconds. Transfer meat to a medium bowl. Cook remaining beef in the same manner, adding more oil if necessary. When the last batch of beef is almost finished cooking, add the ginger, scallion and garlic and stir-fry until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  5. Add the sauce and reserved meat back to the wok. Bring the sauce to a boil and cook until thickened, about 2 minutes. Toss in the broccoli and stir to coat with the sauce.
Notes
*Freezing the meat for about an hour can make this job easier.

 

Onion-braised grass-fed beef brisket recipe

 

grass-fed braised beef brisket|pamela salzman

Let me come right out and say that I don’t like to promote the consumption of too much beef for several reasons.  In our house we eat beef about three times per month, and when I make it I plan for about 3-4 ounces per person.   Furthermore, I only purchase GRASS-FED beef.  Call me old-fashioned, but I am a firm believer that if you are going to eat animal protein, then it should be an animal that was raised in a natural environment with a diet that is also native to that species.  With respect to cows, that means cows that graze in pastures eating GRASS.  There is plenty of research supporting the notion that grass-fed beef – compared to its confined feedlot counterpart – is lower in fat and contains cancer preventive, fat-burning properties.  Grass-fed beef also contains higher amounts of Omega-3 fats and is generally raised without the use of antibiotics and hormones.  It is almost like making a choice between eating a fit and happy animal which has eaten a health food diet, and eating a stressed out, overweight animal which was fed fast food its whole life.  If you need more convincing, please read Michael Pollan’s fantastic book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma.

There’s also the heavy environmental impact of raising cattle, which is less severe with grass-fed beef, but still a discouraging consideration.  That said …

Beef is a very warming food, more appropriate for the colder months, and it becomes even more warming when cooked with onions.  Brisket is a very tough cut that needs long, slow braising to help tenderize it.  If you like your brisket so soft that you don’t need a knife to cut it, this recipe will not disappoint.  The meat shreds easily and melts in your mouth.  Best of all, the house will be filled with a wonderful, warm aroma.  But do plan ahead since cooking this the day before helps to develop the mélange of flavors.  Really, the only way you can screw this up is by letting it dry out.  Lastly, be aware that brisket shrinks tremendously once it has cooked.  A 6-pound brisket fed a class of 12 women with enough for two of my kiddies to enjoy it as an after-school snack.


4.0 from 2 reviews
onion-braised grass-fed beef brisket recipe
Author: 
Serves: 8-12
 
Ingredients
  • 1 5-to-6-pound grass-fed beef brisket, preferably first cut
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt plus more for seasoning
  • ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper plus more for seasoning
  • 3 large yellow onions, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces (about 5 cups or 3 pounds)
  • 2-3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 3 medium tomatoes, if in season, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped (optional)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup red wine (or use all water)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a dutch oven or other heavy baking pan large enough to hold brisket, heat 1 tablespoon oil in oven 10 minutes. Pat brisket dry and season well with salt (I used about 4 teaspoons) and pepper on the top and bottom. Roast brisket in pan, uncovered, 30 minutes.
  3. While brisket is roasting, in a large heavy skillet cook onions in remaining 2 tablespoons oil over moderately high heat, stirring, until softened and beginning to turn golden. Reduce heat to moderate and cook onions, stirring occasionally and reducing heat if necessary, until deep golden, about 20 minutes more. Stir in garlic, paprika, salt, and pepper and cook 1 minute. Stir in water and wine and bring to a boil. Spoon onion mixture and chopped tomatoes over brisket and bake, tightly covered, 3 ½ hours, or until brisket is tender. (Check pan every hour and if necessary, add more water.) Remove brisket from oven and let cool in onion mixture 1 hour.
  4. Remove brisket from pan, scraping onion mixture back into pan, and chill, wrapped in foil, overnight. Spoon onion mixture into a 1-quart measure and chill, covered, overnight.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Discard fat from onion mixture and transfer to a blender. Add enough water to the blender to measure 3 cups total. Blend until smooth.
  6. Slice the brisket against the grain as thick or thin as you prefer. In a large ovenproof skillet heat gravy until hot, add brisket and heat in oven 30 minutes. Or you can continue to heat on the stove, covered until heated through.