Holiday Grilling Recipes & Tips

In Texas, we don’t let our grilling skill hibernate over the fall and winter holidays, thanks to weather that’s decidedly more delightful than frightful. With the hustle and bustle of the season, it’s a nice break to wind down and relax outside, enjoying patio time with neighbors, raking up leaves for kids to jump in, and grilling a meaty main dish suitable for supper or even a Thanksgiving meal.

Today, I’m sharing a quick beef recipe that puts a unique spin on the traditional turkey dinner yet will have your hungry brood shaking their tailfeathers in appreciation! Grilled Cranberry-Orange Flank Steak is a quick and easy fix, dressed up with a tangy, slightly sweet marinade and compote topping reminiscent of cranberry relish. For my version of a Thanksgiving feast, I paired this 30-minute recipe with lemony green beans, baby potatoes and apple pie! Leftovers, if there are any, can be used to top a salad or scrambled with eggs.

If you’re not familiar with flank steak, it’s a large cut that’s easy to grill for a crowd. However, it benefits from a good soak in marinade to improve tenderness, from 2 hours to no more than overnight. If you are in a hurry, the butcher case often offers “blade tenderized” flank steak. Tiny little cuts have been made, by machine, all over the steak to break down muscle fibers in the hopes of a better eating experience no or minimal marinating. Regardless, I always marinate for 30 minutes to maximize flavor.

This merry marinade is a mixture of cranberry juice, orange juice, fresh ginger, soy sauce, olive oil, and thyme — it’s tangy and sweet, but not overly so. The old-school way to make sauce for meat was to boil down the used marinade. But, for food safety reasons, I always make extra marinade on the front end and set aside a “safe” portion for my sauce making later.

As you grill the flank steak over indirect heat on a gas grill, the natural sugars from the juice-based marinade help the outside to caramelize and encourage those desirable grate marks. The whole grilling process typically takes less than 20 minutes for a medium-rare outcome. Allow it a proper rest on the platter for 10 before slicing to prevent the juices from seeping out, resulting in a “tough boot” texture. You’ll notice that flank steak has a distinct grain, this makes it easier to situate the steak for slicing — always cut perpendicular to the grain.   

Start a new tradition! Beef Loving Texans has a treasure trove of grilling recipes suitable for the holidays, but a few of my favorites are Ribeye Steaks with Blue Cheese Butter & Mushrooms, Pomegranate Steak with Quinoa or Grilled Flat Iron Steaks with Pistachio-Almond Rice!

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