Have you ever had a recipe transport you to a different time and place?
For me, it’s a flank steak. Marinated with sweet honey and bourbon. Grilled. Eaten on a beach with friends.
To this day, this food memory hits me every time I go shopping for our first barbecue of the summer.
Here’s how the personal barbecue tradition began.
I was in high school and some friends and I skipped class to hit the beach. (Shocker, mom, I know.)
But first, meat. We planned a barbecue and a friend said he had just the thing.
He raided his family’s fridge and I watched as he tossed a thin flank steak into a Ziploc and then proceeded to pour in gobs of honey, soy sauce, and bourbon. A few smashed garlic gloves, skin and all. A copious sprinkling of salt and pepper. And finally, for the last touch, rough-chopped ginger — again, skin and all.
By the time we were ready to barbecue on the beach, the meat was just perfectly stewed.
I’ve eaten a lot of meat in my day — I mean, a lot; it’s practically a weekly tradition to cook steak while Dana and Emme are out riding on Saturdays — but to this day, that steak remains my favorite.
When barbecue season rolls around, I replicate it a few times each summer, and I wanted to share it with you now because food this delicious should be shared.
If you can, find the best, richest, darkest honey you can find. A nice, full-bodied buckwheat honey adds an earthy, rich charm to this dish and helps provides an almost crispy, charred crust on the end bits of the flank steak. It’s a beautiful counterpoint to the more savory tastes of soy and garlic and just provides this yin yang, sweet salty component that will have you drooling.
School’s out. The weather is getting hotter, even for San Francisco. It’s almost time to break this one out again.
I can’t wait.
After you give it a go, you won’t be able to wait for summer either. It’s really so easy and fun that your kids can do it.
Here’s what you need
1 flank steak. About a pound.
1/2 soy sauce (I prefer low sodium)
1/2 cup bourbon
3 enormous squeezes or dollops of honey
6 crushed garlic cloves (just rip them from the head, smash with the side of a knife and rough chop a little bit, skin and all)
3 ounces ginger, rough chopped, skin and all.
Salt and pepper
1 big Ziploc bag
1 summer barbecue set up — or grill pan on the stove if you must
Here’s what you do
1. Toss all your ingredients in the bag, seal, shake and massage and then leave to marinate for a few hours.
2. Barbecue it. To me, this means seared over super hot coals until crusted on the outside and perfectly medium rare on the inside. Takes just a few minutes per side. Flip a few times. Done.
3. Let it rest for a few minutes. Then, eat it. Eat it all. I’ve learned to buy bigger flank steaks than I think I need, because I always end up slicing off extra bits for me while everyone gets seated.
The National Honey Board is partnering with me and providing cash money for honey in this campaign. Be sure to follow along on my Facebook page for updates about the #HoneyBeeBQ campaign.