Tue Jan 15, 2013
In the spirit of getting whatever I want for my birthday, last week I celebrated the occasion with steak. Not just any steak though, I had a hunger for the type of steak I never ever get—a prime dry-aged porterhouse large enough for two. Making that decision too late for a Luger's reservation (still haven't been), I went for what I figured was the next closest thing—Wolfgang's. It was a truly magical piece of meat. The sear was deeply flavored with salt and pepper, it was cooked perfectly medium-rare, and the meat was intensely rich and beefy. This was a steak of kings, and appropriately priced for royalty as well.
While my enthusiasm for that piece of meat may be a bit unbridled right now, it still doesn't change my overall philosophy that the best steaks for your money are the cheap cuts. The hanger, flank, and skirt are some of my favorite steaks to work with, delivering on big flavor for low cost. Need some convincing? How about trying this mojo marinated flank steak.
I contend these more wallet friendly cuts have enough flavor that they don't need marinades or sauces, just salt, pepper, and fire. For some reason though, I had the idea to introduce mojo—a Cuban sauce made of garlic, sour orange, and oil—to this piece of flank. A chicken coated in mojo is incredible, so why shouldn't it be just as awesome on steak?
After letting the acidic sauce work into the meat for one hour at room temperature, I grilled the entire two-pound piece of flank whole. Another reason I think I'm so into the cheap cuts is for how well they grill. I'll admit that that I've had better success cooking thicker steakhouse cuts—strips, porterhouses, ribeyes, etc.—with a cast iron and oven, but for thin skirts and flanks, the super high heat of the grill sears the meat incredibly well, and once that crusty exterior is developed, the inside is usually a desirable medium-rare.
While the steak was taking its obligatory 10 minute rest, I used the excess heat of the grill to cook skewered rings of onions as an accompaniment—there's a reason steak and onions are so often spoken in the same breath.
Now that's a beauty of steak. You immediately see how juicy it is and the rosy meat is paired with an appetizing blackened sear, but looks are nothing compared the flavor. The flank steak may not reach the heights of a dry-aged strip, but it's still plenty beefy, and the mojo marinade gave it an acidic pop and garlic bite that complimented the meat and might just have me rethinking my stance on beef marinades. This flank was a good steak that I'd take any day, or everyday, making me happy enough to leave the super rich and expensive cuts for those special occasions when I want my beef taken from excellent to superb.
Mojo Marinated Flank Steak with Grilled Onions
- Prep Time:
- 15 Minutes
- Inactive Time:
- 1 Hour
- Cook Time:
- 25 Minutes
- Total Time:
- 1 Hour 40 Minutes
- 4 servings
- For the Mojo Sauce
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup fresh sour orange juice, or 1/4 cup of fresh orange juice and 1/4 cup of fresh lime juice
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2lb flank steak, trimmed of excess fat and silver skin
- 1 large white onion, cut into 1-inch rings and skewered horizontally through the center
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- To make the mojo sauce: Place garlic in a mortar and pestle. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and work into a smooth paste. In a small bowl, whisk together garlic, sour orange juice, oil, oregano, cumin. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Season steak liberally with salt and pepper. Place steak in a large resealable bag and pour in Mojo sauce. Seal bag, removing as much air as possible, and toss to evenly coat steak in sauce. Let marinate for 1 hour at room temperature.
- Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange the coals on one side of the charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Remove steak from marinade and pat dry. Place steak on hot side of the grill and cook until well seared on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Move to the cool side of the grill, cover, and continue to cook until the center of the steak registers 125 degrees on an instant-read thermometer for medium-rare, or 135 degrees for medium. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes.
- While steak is resting, brush onion slices all over with olive oil and season with salt. Place over the hot side of the grill and cook until softened and charred, about 3 to 5 minutes per side. Remove to cutting board.
- Carve steak against the grain into 1-inch slices and serve with grilled onions.