Before the deluge of rain hit the East Coast this week (seriously, will it ever stop?!), we squeezed in one last dinner from the grill. I still had a flank steak in the freezer, so we decided to make a night of it and celebrate the end of summer/beginning of fall the right way: a hot off the grill, perfectly moist steak, homemade salsa, sweet potato fries and a cold drink (thank you to my partner-in-crime husband who manages all things on the grill and really made this meal happen!)
Growing up, my step-father was (and is) quite the spice master. He would whip up his own combination of spices for nearly every meal we had and, when asked what was in it, without fail he’d reply, “Oh, just a little of this and a little of that.” The best of those combinations was (at least in my opinion) those he created for the grill. Without hesitation, he would grab bottles from the cabinet sprinkling, shaking, and occasionally pouring his way to the perfect combination.
Admitted, I’m not quite as confident a chef when it comes to dry rubs; however, following in my step-father’s footsteps, I tried to be flexible with the recipe below and it came out far better than I hoped for. Edit the chili powder to your family’s liking (some like it hot! others don’t …) but be sure not to nix the brown sugar–it really makes the meal.
Spice-Rubbed Flank Steak with Salsa
Adapted from Tony Rosenfeild’s recipe for Fine Cooking
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 T dried thyme
1 T ground black pepper
1 T chili powder
2 t brown sugar
1 T salt
1 large flank steak (about 1.5 lbs)
1 large ride tomato, finely diced
1/2 medium yellow onion, finely diced
1/2 medium cucumber, finely diced
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
2-3 T. red whine vinegar
salt and pepper
In a small bowl, combine all of the spices (garlic through salt) and mix well.
Arrange your steak on a rimmed baking sheet so that it is laying flat. Pour half of the spice mixture on top of the steak and use your hands to spread it evenly over the steak, pressing the spices into the surface. Repeat on the opposite side. Cover and let stand for at least 4 hours in the refrigerator.
In a medium-sized bowl, combine all salsa ingredients, adding the vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Stir, cover and refrigerate while steak rests.
Remove the steak from the refrigerator and allow it to return to remove temperature (still covered) while you prepare your grill. We use charcoal and make it pretty hot. On a gas grill, you would likely set it to medium-high.
When your grill is hot, grill the steak 4-5 minutes per side (or 6-7 minutes, if you prefer your steaks more well done).
Let the steak rest on a cutting board with a juice well for 5 minutes before cutting into it. This will allow the steak to finish cooking and you will not lose as much of its juice.
Thinly slice the steak across the grain. Serve with salsa poured over the top or as a side. Either is delicious.