This is a simple recipe I’ve been bragging about on the Twit podcast. I’ll reprise all my old Boardwatch and other recipes over the next month.

Perfect Flank steak (London Broil)

1 1/2- 2 pound flank steak
soya sauce (Japanese style)
sumac (powdered)
Mesquite fire


Put whole flank steak into a shallow pan the bottom of which has 1/8-inch of Japanese style light soya sauce (Kikkoman is perfect for this). Cover the top of the meat with more soya sauce. Let stand (turning several times) in the marinade for 15-20 minutes but no longer as it begins to cook the meat.

Have ready a mesquite charcoal fire going in a barbecue grill. Make sure there are enough embers to produce flames from the charcoal. Toss the flank steak on the grill and cook for 4 minutes on each side (this has to be adjusted with meat thickness). The meat should be cooked rare but should be nice and seared on the outside.

Slice the meat across the grain at a sharp angle and in thin slices. Layer the pieces on the plate so the red center of each piece shows. Sprinkle a tablespoon of sumac over the slices. Sumac is a lemon-flavored Middle Eastern spice found at International grocers. It’s not critical to the success of this dish, but it’s a great flourish.

This dish can also be accomplished under a good broiler but never picks up the wood flavors and it is more difficult to sear. You need a hot temperature to make the recipe work. When you start to nail this recipe, it’s exceptionally spectacular. It takes a couple of shots to get it down. I’ve seen variations on the presentation where the meat is topped with chimichurra or placed on top of a mixture of crushed tomatoes, garlic and basil. Whatever is done, the marinade/cooking process is the most critical aspect of this dish.

This goes well with a salad and a good rice dish.

  1. Patrick says:

    I printed this out and my wife says she will cook tomorrow for dinner.

  2. Just for your wife!? HAHAHAHA! Nice to see we’ve entered the 21st centuary after womens lib 😉

    j/k ya I can’t cook for crap either. It was just the way it sounds.

    Awesome, John, much appreciated \o/

  3. Johnny-Cakes says:

    When is your new show on The Food Channel starting John?

    You’ll be the next Emeril or Rachael Ray!

  4. Lance says:

    Great Flank Steak:

    1 Cup – Saucey Susan (or any decent Duck Sauce – not the cheap junk)
    1 tsp – worcestershire sauce
    4 Tbsp – Soy Sauce
    1.5 tsp – minced garlic

    Marinate and baste with mixture while cooking.

  5. TH Bergdorf says:

    I lost the your TERRIFIC breading recipe for pork chops published in Boardwatch 6-8 years ago. Anxiously awaiting its reprisal.

  6. Eideard says:

    Bravo! Lots of geeks love to cook. Gives us all a chance to behave like “normal” human beings.

    I’ll have to see if I can get my recipe for Savory Foccacia down to a manageable length and post it some weekend.

  7. Sagrilarus says:

    You got any recipes for spam?

  8. Thanks John. I’ve been waitin’ for this.

  9. forrest says:


    I am going to try this…just e-mailed the wife the recipe to see what she thinks of it. I don’t know about cooking it rare though…

  10. ben says:

    How does the meat “cook” if you let it marinate over 20 minutes? Is the shallow pan heated in some way?

  11. RTaylor says:

    Ben I believe the cooking during marinading refers to chemically cooking the meat with the acids, salts and sugars in the soy. Heat generally removes water and breaks down proteins. You can also do this with marinades and with brine treatment and air drying.

  12. Milton says:

    John, speaking of your BoardWatch recipes, did you ever find the pickled turnips you wanted?


  13. Roc Rizzo says:

    Just some garlic salt for me… Sometimes I don’t even cook it. Raw, raw, raw… That’s the spirit!

  14. David.W says:

    Can this be done on a gas grill with smoker?

  15. J.C. says:

    A nice variation on this as well: [PDF]

  16. J Locke says:


    I love it. I can only imagine what other gems are floating around in John’s head

  17. OK, some points. For some reason if you let this meat sit in the marinade too long it changes its texture completely and doesn’t “cook” but actually cures like a ham. I would advise anyone who starts to get this recipe down to try marinading the meat for two hours in the soya sauce. You’ll see what I mean. It’s gets weird. Anyway, that’s what I meant. I suspect that more traditional marinades which include oil whould lessent this problem, but I have experimented with a lot of alternatives and this simple approach is still the best.

    I’ve manged to make this acceptable with broiling although it’s not as good. So a gas grill should work, but make sure it is as hot as it can be. Smokers do not work unless you first grill the meat at high temps. You can grill it for a shorter period then slow cook it for a half hour and if you nail it the result is spectacular, but it’s even more risky.

    And, yes, it should be rare or the meat gets too chewy.

    Let me put up a sub blog or another forum with all this stuff so the readers can contribute recipes and they won’t get lost here.

    I think the next recipe will be instructions on how to cook Iranian-style rice, whcih I consider the best in the world. It’s also brain-dead easy although it violates everything you’re told in this country about cooking rice.

  18. Mikle Cannali says:

    10 Comment: Ribs – actually a process, not a recipe.
    20 Boil ribs in favorite barbeque sauce 20 mins
    30 Place on hot (mesquite) fire till they dry out
    40 flip to dry both sides
    50 insert back in sauce; ribs will absorb sauce
    60 If sauce remains, then 30
    70 serve

  19. Joe says:

    Another great secret is to use Tri-Tip vs flank steak. Being from Tucson, John is correct, you can’t make a better steak than with Mesquite wood. You come to the southwest and eat steak down here, you will never eat steak any other way than cooked over that wood.

    Check out tritip click on the video at the top of the link below on grililng this meat. Buy Tritip at Costco, it is outstanding and realtively cheap at $4 a lb.

  20. David Amodt says:

    Wow… a great recipe and a TWIT plug… looking forward to trying the steak and the recipe…. thanks John!

  21. joshua says:

    #7……there are spam recipies at the top of your gmail page, different ones all the time……lol
    I was hoping to find someone who may have made the recipie for *spam fajitas*

  22. joshua says:

    This sounds a lot like my Mom’s way of doing flank steak as well John. The key is the rareness and the light soya.
    Mesquite is the only way to BBQ meat….we have huge stacks of it at the ranch.

  23. BMoormann says:

    I am absolutely amazed by these comments. Marinating a stake in Soya sauce is the cooking equivalent of telling an IT guy about this great new website called Yahoo.

  24. Hi
    I’ve just not tried it out but made a small cartoon

  25. ermyl says:

    thanks for the recipe,

    Just i’m french, very hirt soccer fan… Just want to answer your questions you asked for. so what is your question about soccer.

  26. cosmo says:

    i cant understand how a flank steak could be so important to the listeners, as to post several reply’s to it. way to go johnny d

  27. JeffS says:

    I made this tonight and it was very good. I put some sliced portabello mushrooms on the grill during the last 4 minutes. They really soaked up the flavor of the mesquite.

    I am thinking the next time I cook this I will add some pineapple juice to the marinade. For those with gas grills, you can throw some wood chips wrapped in foil in there. They should smoke enough to add flavor to your cooking. Several years ago I bought a Weber charcoal grill and a Weber chimney to light charcoal in. I didn’t use my gas grill for a year and then this year set the gas grill out by the curb. The secret to charcoal or wood grilling is using a chimney to get the fire going. Everything tastes so much better I don’t think I’d ever use gas again except for boiling seafood or frying a turkey.

  28. Hey Josh, I never said this was a complex dish. But it is not something people would normally do in this manner with a limited time frame.

    #27 — good luck with the pineapple juice. I’ve have tried a lot of variations and nothing seems to actually make this simple dish better.

    Yes tri-tip is the trendy meat du jour. It does not have this same character though.

    I’d better get a “nerd” recipe forum started soon. Men love to cook! Especially over fire!

  29. Mel Matsuoka says:

    Hey John, here’s my vote for you to start doing a cooking/foodie blog/forum! That would be fantastic.

    There’s a blog/forum site called “Cooking For Engineers” ( which is a really good geek-centric cooking site that can tide some of you over until John gets his recipes online 🙂

  30. Eric says:



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