Charcoal-Grilled Beef Teriyaki

Published May 1, 2009. From Cook's Illustrated.

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Why this recipe works:

For a juicy, charred teriyaki steak recipe embellished by a well-balanced, sweet-and-savory glaze, we decided to use inexpensive steak tips, which became very tender when marinated. For a thick sauce that didn’t take an hour on top of the stove, we added cornstarch to sake, mirin, soy sauce,… read more

For a juicy, charred teriyaki steak recipe embellished by a well-balanced, sweet-and-savory glaze, we decided to use inexpensive steak tips, which became very tender when marinated. For a thick sauce that didn’t take an hour on top of the stove, we added cornstarch to sake, mirin, soy sauce, and sugar. It took only 15 minutes of cooking to give the Teriyaki sauce a nice, syrupy texture.

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Grilled Beef Teriyaki

Here's how to bring the sweet and salty flavor of grilled steak teriyaki out of the restaurant and into your backyard.

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Serves 4

If you can’t find flap meat, flank steak is a good alternative. We prefer sake in the sauce, but vermouth may be substituted in a pinch. Mirin, a sweet Japanese rice wine, is a key component of teriyaki; it can be found in Asian markets and the international section of most supermarkets. Alternatively, substitute ¼ cup vermouth or sake and 2 teaspoons sugar for every ¼ cup mirin. If desired, low-sodium soy sauce can be used in place of regular soy. Serve the beef with steamed rice, preferably short-grain.

Ingredients

  • Steak
  • 2 pounds sirloin steak tips (flap meat), trimmed of excess fat (see note)
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce (see note)
  • 1/4 cup mirin (see note)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus extra for cooking grate
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 2 medium scallions, white parts minced and green parts sliced thin on bias, separated
  • Sauce
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce (see note)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup sake (see note)
  • 1/2 cup mirin (see note)
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

Instructions

  1. 1. FOR THE STEAK: Following photos below, cut steak with grain into 2 to 3 even pieces. (If total length of steak is 12 inches or less, cut into 2 pieces. If over 12 inches, cut into 3 pieces.) Holding knife at 45-degree angle, slice each piece against grain into 4 to 5 slices about ½ inch thick. Combine remaining ingredients, except scallion greens, in gallon-sized zipper-lock bag and toss to combine. Place meat in bag, press out as much air as possible, and seal. Refrigerate 30 minutes or up to 1 hour, flipping bag every 15 minutes to ensure that meat marinates evenly.

    2. Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal (6 quarts, about 100 briquettes) and allow to burn until coals are fully ignited and partially covered with thin layer of ash, about 20 minutes. Build modified two-level fire by arranging all coals over half of grill, leaving other half empty. Position cooking grate over coals, cover grill, and heat about 5 minutes; scrape grate clean with grill brush. Dip wad of paper towels in oil; holding wad with tongs, wipe cooking grate. Grill is ready when side with coals is medium-hot (you can hold your hand 5 inches above grate for 3 to 4 seconds).

    3. FOR THE SAUCE: While grill is heating, whisk sauce ingredients together in small saucepan until combined. Bring sauce to boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is syrupy and reduced to 1 cup, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer ¾ cup sauce to small bowl and set aside to serve with cooked meat.

    4. Remove meat from marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Grill over hot coals, uncovered, until well seared and dark brown on first side, 3 to 4 minutes. Using tongs, flip steak and grill until second side is well seared and dark brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Brush top of meat with 2 tablespoons sauce; flip and cook 30 seconds. Brush meat with remaining 2 tablespoons sauce; flip and cook 30 seconds longer.

    5. Transfer meat to serving platter and let rest 5 minutes. Sprinkle with scallion greens and serve, passing reserved sauce separately.

Shopping

Finding Flap Meat

Beef labeled "steak tips" can be cut from various muscles of the cow into cubes, strips, or steaks. Our favorite kind is cut into a steak that boasts a coarse, longitudinal grain. Butchers call this form of steak tips "flap meat" or "sirloin tips." Look for pieces that range from 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick.

SKIP THE STRIPSDon't buy meat that's been cut into strips.

SKIP THE CUBESDon't buy meat that's been cut into cubes.

GO FOR WHOLELook for whole steak with a coarse, longitudinal grain labeled "sirloin tips" or "flap meat."

Technique

Cutting Sirloin Steak Tips for Grilling

1. Cut the steak with the grain into 2 or 3 even pieces.

2. Hold the knife at a 45-degree angle and cut 1/2-inch-thick slices.

3. Each piece of steak should yield 4 to 5 slices.

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