Sesame-Soy Flank Steak

Makes 4 to 6 servings
  • Active time: 35 min
    Total time: 1 hr 20 min
Americans learned a long time ago that soy sauce does wonders for steak. But it’s the Koreans, with their garlicky, sweet, soy marinade shot through with the toasty aroma of sesame oil, who really clinched it for us. The marinade below makes for beef packed with big, lusty flavors, which is just what you want when you gather your pals for a cookout—there’s nothing wimpy going on here. And you don’t have to feel confined to flank steak. This marinade will turn any steak—skirt, sirloin, London broil, even pricey New York strips—into something worth raving about.


  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons medium–dry Sherry, divided
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper, divided
  • 1 (1 1/2- to 2-pound) flank steak
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar or unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 12 scallions
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil plus additional for brushing grill


Marinate Steak:

  • Stir together soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, 2 1/2 tablespoons Sherry, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper in a liquid measuring cup until sugar is dissolved; reserve 1/2 cup marinade for sauce.
  • Put steak in a large resealable plastic bag and add remaining marinade. Seal bag, forcing out excess air, and marinate steak at room temperature at least 1 hour, turning occasionally.

Make Sauce:

  • Stir vinegar and remaining 2 tablespoons Sherry into reserved marinade to make sauce. Toast sesame seeds in a small heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly, until golden, 2 to 3 minutes, and reserve for serving.

Grill Steak:

  • While steak is marinating, prepare grill for direct–heat cooking over medium–hot charcoal (medium–high for gas); see Grilling Procedure, below.
  • Drain marinade from steak. Oil grill rack, then grill steak (cover only if using gas grill), turning once, 6 to 7 minutes on each side for medium–rare. Transfer steak to a cutting board and let stand, loosely covered with foil, 10 minutes.
  • While steak is standing, toss scallions with 2 teaspoons vegetable oil and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. If using a gas grill, lower heat to medium (charcoal will be cooled to medium after grilling steak). Grill scallions (cover only if using gas grill), turning occasionally, until tender, 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Thinly slice steak across the grain and serve with sauce, scallions, and sesame seeds.


  • Steak can be marinated overnight, refrigerated.
  • Sauce can be made 1 day ahead and kept refrigerated.


Charcoal Grilling Instructions:

  • Open vents on bottom of grill. Light a large chimney starter full of charcoal (preferably hardwood).

For direct-heat Cooking:

  • When coals are lit, dump them out across bottom rack, leaving a space free of coals on one side of grill equal to the size of the food to be grilled where food can be moved in case of any flare–ups
  • When charcoal turns grayish white (start checking coals after 15 minutes), the grill will be at its hottest and will then begin to cool off. It will be at the proper medium–hot temperature when you can hold your hand 5 inches above the grill rack (directly above the coals) for 3 to 4 seconds.

Gas Grilling Instructions:

  • Preheat all burners on high, covered, 10 minutes, then adjust heat according to recipe.
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