Friday, May 25, 2018

Grilled Root Beer Beef – Almost as Good as an Ice Cream Float

I’ve used something very close to this root beer marinade for lamb several times, and had great success, so I’ve been eager to try it with some skewered beef, which didn’t come out quite as well, but could have. Please, let me explain.

Since lamb has a stronger, “gamier” taste, the sweetness of this treatment works perfectly, but I thought it was a little too much for the beef. So, below in the ingredients list, I've made a few adjustments to the honey amount, as well as acidity level.

The beauty of a recipe like this is they’re very easy to adapt, and I’m not just talking about the pre-grill soak, but also the glaze we make with the extra marinade. Once reduced to something thick enough to coat our meat, you’ll want to taste it, and adjust with more heat, sweet, sour, or whatever else you think it needs. One thing mine definitely needed was more salt. I thought the soy was going to be enough, but I should have salted my skewers before they hit the grill, and/or add some salt to the marinade.

Adjustments aside, if you enjoy things like sweet/hot barbecue sauces, bourdon glazes, or even something like teriyaki, you will probably very much enjoy this. Even if you don’t use the marinade, I really loved the technique we used for the flank, which would work beautifully no matter how you flavor this. Either way, I really hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 4 skewers/portions:
1 whole flank steak (about 1 1/2 pounds)
For the marinade
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
2 tablespoons ketchup
honey, optional (I used 2 tablespoons, but would omit next time)
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons white or cider vinegar (I didn't add, but it needed it)
1 bottle (12 ounces) good quality root beer
kosher salt to season skewers generously


Unknown said...

Would rice or balsamic vinegars work with this? And would they be in the same amounts? Thank you.

Jenny said...

Chef John,
How do you feel about using coke, dr. pepper, pepsi, or some other soda in place of root beer?

Brenda said...

John, is root beer, what we call in the UK Ginger Beer? Also, I am not familiar with flank steak, is there a British equivalent? Love your vids btw.

Gilan said...

If I wanted to do the lamb version, what cut do you recommend?

Unknown said...

I can't believe there are no comments on this incredible recipe. Chef John, you do incredible work. I didn't follow your recipe exactly. I used a piece of boneless leg of lamb instead of beef. It was fantastic. The sauce gets really complex when reduced. I would love to give this to all the root beer haters out there. It reminds me of a recipe I used to make all the time called Root Beer Baked Beans. You should give it a shot! Thank you for your contribution to the real cooking world.

\ said...

Are the salads a green qinoa and a carrot salad? I'm going to give this steak a go tonight and am trying to think of sides. Maybe some type of mint salad would be good too?

Cliverton said...

Grilled Root Beer Beef....really.

Unknown said...

I'd add toasted sesame seeds to recipe list.

Χ.Τ. said...

Not really relevant to the video, but here's a food wish I think Chef John would love:

Greek "Yuvarlakia". Takes some research, here's a recipe with a modern twist on this classic greek recipe:

Really hope you'll give this a try, Chef.

Lots of love

Lukáš Maršálek said...

Can you please tell me, what kind of green orange salad is that? Thanks

Unknown said...

Which salads did you serve with this beef? Are the recipes available?

One Reader said...

Flank Steak is also known as Skirt Steak, or London Broil if that helps.
And a replacement for root beer that I have found delicious with beef is Dr. Pepper, it's not a direct replacement as there are more flavors involved in Dr. Pepper. Root Beer is more of a vanilla flavor that anything close to ginger.

bburkie55 said...

Brenda, Root Beer is nothing like Ginger Beer. It contains no Ginger. It's main flavoring is from sassafras. I don't know how available it is in the EU or the UK. Sources state that Root Beer is mostly produced and consumed in North America.

Don Gringo said...

I would call this one a miss but not a total loss. I don’t think the root beer really worked well here. I would describe the overall taste as kind of good but weird. The big win here was discovering how good flank steak can be and how well it works with sauces. I’m definitely going to be working with that cut again.

ccmonty said...

I wonder if this recipe would work with an alcoholic root beer.