Every once in a while I’ll be paging through a cooking magazine and a recipe will reach out; grabbing me by the lapels, just begging to be made (proverbially of course.) That was the case with this Bourbon and Brown Sugar Marinated Steak. I found it in a compilation issue of Fine Cooking’s best summer recipes and the name alone summoned mental images of spicy sweet steak consumed on a summer evening somewhere in Kentucky blue grass country.
Wheels were set in motion and a few days later we were channeling a back porch pace up here on the twelfth floor complete thanks to a little urban grilling and some fragrant, ripe peaches. Because what goes better with bourbon than stone fruit?
The humidity has loosened its grip on New York giving way to blessedly fresh mornings and warm afternoons when laying on your back in a lawn of clover while the bumblebees buzz seems like the best possible way to spend an hour or two. This recipe perfectly captures that vibe – gingery warmth, minimal effort.
Bourbon and Brown Sugar Marinated Steak (serves 4)
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup bourbon or other whiskey
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar, preferably dark
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger root
1 1/2 to 2 pounds flank steak, or 1 1/2-inch-thick New York strip steaks
Use a paring knife to peel the ginger and then a microplane to finely grate into a medium liquid measuring cup. Add the soy sauce, bourbon, brown sugar, and Dijon mustard to the cup. Whisk together to combine the ingredients and dissolve the sugar.
Place the steak in a large zip top bag and pour the marinade over the meat. Seal the bag and massage to cover the steaks with marinade, and set aside for 15 to 20 minutes at room temperature, or up to 2 hours in the refrigerator. Flip the bag occasionally and if refrigerating bring the steaks back to room temperature before grilling.
Heat a grill pan over medium-high flame for 3-4 minutes. When the pan is hot, remove the steak from the marinade and shake off any excess, but don’t pat it dry. Reserve the marinade.
Grill the steak until good sear marks appear, 3 to 4 minutes. With tongs, rotate the steak 90 degrees (to get a crosshatch of grill marks) and continue grilling until grill marks form and the edges are a little crisp, another 3 to 4 minutes.
Flip the steak and grill the other side in the same way until the exterior is nicely seared and the steak is cooked to your liking, 10 to 12 minutes total cooking time for medium rare. Let the steaks rest for about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, pour the reserved marinade into a small saucepan and boil over medium-high heat until syrupy, about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally and watch carefully to prevent burning.
When the sauce is thickened and the meat has rested, slice the flank steak thinly across the grain. For strip steaks, slice thickly or serve in chunks. Serve with a drizzle of the sauce
Re-written and slightly adapted from Molly Steven’s Bourbon and Brown Sugar Marinated Steak in Fine Cooking magazine.
Small Kitchen Friendly?
Yes, indeed! I used a two-burner cast iron grill pan, tongs, microplane grater, paring knife, and medium cutting board. I also needed a large liquid measuring cup, dry measuring cups/spoons, and a dinner fork, a large zip top bag (1 gallon size) and aluminum foil.
We loved the Bourbon and Brown Sugar Marinated Steak preparation – savory soy sauce, the alcoholic sharpness of the bourbon, all balanced against smoky sticky caramelized sugar. I served the flank steak along with a fresh salad of baby spinach topped with blueberries and a few slivered almonds – special shout out from Mike for the accompanying grilled peaches as a way to bridge the gap. This recipe is incredibly easy and the results are excellent.