Friday, July 22, 2011

Spicy Ginger Beef

Cheap, delicious, and ready in under an hour.
I think I've adequately established the fact that I love steak, so I won't revisit the theme here. Instead, I'll tell you one of the few unfortunate things about steak - it can get pricey. Ribeyes, T-bones and filets are all delicious, but they can wear a hole in your wallet. So, every good steak lover on a budget needs to have a few go-to recipes for the cheaper cuts of meat. Braises and stews can turn just about any gristly cut of haunch into a delicious feast, but they usually take a while. Being a pathological procrastinator, I often find myself trying to throw together a dinner in about an hour or less, and there are few recipes more disappointing than a rushed potroast. What's a hurried carnivore to do?

This recipe fills the void. It's a simple combination of meat selection, basic grilling technique, and clever slicing. The result is a delicious stack of tender beef slices that are great as a main course for dinner, and are equally awesome over a salad for lunch the next day. As a bonus, as far as I can tell this meal doesn't set off Miriam's "steak again??!!" alarm, so I can serve it pretty much whenever I feel like it.

Kosher salt is important for this recipe. Table salt doesn't work quite the same way.


1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp ground ginger (the dried type, not fresh)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 1/2 to 3 lbs beef bottom round (often sold as "london broil")


Grill or Grill Pan

Combine all of the spices in a container with a lid. Shake them to combine.

I used one of the containers from my magic bullet blender.

Evenly coat all sides of the meat with the spices. Use your hands to rub the spices into the meat just a little.

Just rub the spices in enough to make sure they stick.

If you have time, put the seasoned meat into a large plastic bag and let it sit in the refrigerator for about an hour. This step is optional, but it will improve the flavor if you have time for it. If you put the meat in the refrigerator, let it come back up to room temperature before grilling it.

Doing this is kind of like marinating the meat.

Heat up your grill or grill pan. Let it get very hot, and then start grilling the meat directly over high heat.

This is part one of the grilling process.

Grill the meat for about 4 minutes per side over high heat, and then move the meat to lower heat. If you're using a grill, move the meat to the coolest part of the grill and close the lid. If you're using a grill pan, you can either turn the heat to low and cover everything with some aluminum foil or finish the meat in the oven. Cook the meat for an additional 10 minutes over low heat.

I moved the meat to the warming rack and closed the lid on my grill.

Remove the meat from the heat and let it rest for 5 minutes before slicing it.

Have you ever eaten a steak, and by the time you were done
it looked like someone spilled a beverage on your plate? If so, it's because the meat wasn't
allowed to rest.

Slice the meat at an angle. Make your slices thin, and cut the meat at roughly a 45 degree angle relative to the cutting board.

Slicing the meat on an angle is the single most important thing about this recipe.

  • The way you slice this meat is more important than anything else about this recipe. You can change the spices or cook the meat more or less, but if you don't want to chew your dinner for an hour, you MUST slice this particular cut of meat at an angle. In a nutshell, you need to slice it this way to cut the muscle fibers in the meat. Shorter muscle fibers are easier to chew than longer ones, meaning the slices of meat are more tender when sliced on an angle.
  • The cooking time that I mentioned above will give you medium rare beef. If you would like to cook your meat more than that, I suggest lengthening the amount of time that the meat spends over low heat, rather than the time that it spends over high heat.
  • If you finish the meat in the oven, I would suggest setting it to about 350.

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