Here is a good trick:
(When not living in a pandemic,) invite new acquaintances over to your house for a cookout. Grill these steak tips for them and accept the superfluous praise they give you. Now they're your friends! Next, don't cook anything for them ever again (a pandemic is useful here) but hint that you might one day. The results are twofold: A) they have to remain friends with you to keep the possibility of future steak tips on the table, and B) your image as Steak Queen remains untarnished!
Now that you know all of my secrets to win friends and irritate people, let's talk grilled meat. These were a major hit with my pal Ann at the end of last summer, and honestly, she's got great taste. As long as you have a good marinade and direct heat, this is a quick and foolproof summer meal, perfect for weeks like this where you really don't want to hang out in front of the oven or stovetop. (But if you can't grill them, don't despair! Your broiler will totally do the trick; maybe just wait for weather that doesn't already have you roasting.)
How good does that char look, hot off the grill? These long metal skewers are handy but (duh!) get very hot. If you're using wooden or bamboo skewers, don't forget to soak them first in water to prevent burning.
Sirloin tips are probably the most common label at the grocery store (at least in New England—apparently this is regional), but you can use flank steak, tri-tip, flap steak, bavette, bottom sirloin, etc. You're looking for a boneless cut with good marbling in it, and I opt for the whole pieces (usually 8-10" long or so) over pre-cut chunks so that I can cut them up however I want. The actual "tip" of the cut is tapered and thinner than the rest, so I cut that piece longer and fold it over itself when I skewer it, aiming for roughly the same thickness throughout each skewered chunk.
Soy sauce/maple syrup/dijon is a holy trinity to me, and I use it as a starting point for meat and fish marinades and as dressing for hardy salad greens. Don't use fake syrup! Sub honey for maple syrup if you don't have the real stuff; it will lend a different flavor but will still taste great. Dijon is ideal, but if you don't have any, try whatever mustard you have on hand plus a squeeze of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar.
See that little glisten of chimichurri on the steak? Sometimes I want unadulterated meat but sometimes the bright acidity of herbs and vinegar is completely irresistible to me, especially when paired with this salty/sweet marinade. Here's a solid chimichurri recipe if that sounds up your alley—I also mixed some into the tomato-cucumber salad pictured here (and finished out the meal with saffron rice pilaf).
Ann's Favorite Steak Tips
*See ingredient notes above
*See ingredient notes above
- 1.5 pounds sirloin tips, bavette, loin tips, tri-tip, flap steak, etc.*
- 1/2 cup soy sauce, reduced sodium
- 1/4 cup dijon mustard*
- 1/4 cup maple syrup*
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced or grated on a microplane
- 1 inch chunk fresh ginger, minced or grated on a microplane
Whisk all marinade ingredients together. If not already cut, cut steak tips into 2 inch (give or take) chunks. Cover steak in marinade and seal in a zip-loc bag or bowl. Marinate in refrigerator for at least an hour, but a few hours is even better. If the marinade doesn't completely cover the meat, flip everything once halfway through.
Discard the marinade and place meat on skewers. Over medium-high direct heat (right above your coals/flame), grill until meat reaches 130 degrees F for medium-rare, about 4-5 minutes per side.
Alternatively, crank your broiler to high heat (I let mine preheat for about 5 minutes to make sure it's at full blast) and broil for 4 minutes per side or until it hits 130F, with the meat roughly 6 inches from the heat source.
Remove from heat and loosely tent with aluminum foil for 5 minutes. They will continue to cook slightly, raising the temperature 5 degrees or so.
We like a little extra salt and pepper on the grilled meat, but the marinade is pretty salty to begin with, so season to taste!