Summer Grilling with Flank Steak

Summer signals grilling season and there’s one sure-fire way to create a great dinner or party – pick up a flank steak and pair it with an interesting marinade and refreshing beverage.

The flank steak is an affordable and flavorful cut of beef has great-for-you nutrients like protein and zinc. Beef Loving Texans has some easy-to-prepare flank steak recipes that will take you around the world while grilling in your backyard.

Here are some of our favorites – with perfect beverage pairings from sommeliers around the state.

Carne Asada paired with Barbaresco, Malbec or Txakoli white or rosé wines

This recipe has savory herbs like oregano, cumin and clove that will complement the dried rose and herb notes of a Barbaresco, says Ken Freeman, sommelier and beverage director at Sixty Vines in Dallas. “Spring for one of the single vineyard bottlings of a 2014 vintage if you can. “

Lindsay Drew, beverage director for Arrive East Austin Hotel, recommends an Argentinian Malbec that “will play well with the citrus in the marinade while pulling out the deeper flavors of the black pepper and cumin.”

Not in the mood for red? Lindsay Thomas, sommelier at Pappas Bros. Steakhouse in Houston, prefers a light, bright, slightly fizzy and fruity wine like a dry white Txakoli or Txakoli Roséfrom Spain to pair with the lively flavors of Carne Asada.

 

Caribbean Flank Steak with Coconut Rice paired with a rum drink or a California Zinfandel or South African red blend

The generous fruit of a Zinfandel can soften the subtle spice in the dish, says Freeman. Zinfandel can have “pops” of grapefruit and apricot that will compare well with the pineapple and citrus.

Drew says a red wine from Swartland offers dark earth flavors that will marry well with the jerk seasoning and the fruitiness of the wine plays well with all the fruits in the marinade.

Prefer a cocktail? Thomas recommends sipping a funky Jamaican rum or a refreshing and lightly sweet rum cocktail like a Daiquiri or Mai Tai. “Both match the ingredients of the marinade and offer a little sugar to complement the spice and match the sweetness of the fruit and coconut.”

Indian Beef Flank Steak and Rice paired with Grenache, Barbera or an Italian-spiced beer

Thomas says Grenache works really well with Indian spices. “Something about the inherent spiciness of the grape along with the fresh red fruit flavors plays off of Indian cuisine nicely. I would definitely lean toward a lighter, younger, less oaky style of Grenache so you don’t overpower some of the more delicate flavors of the dish,” she says.

Drew also prefers a red, modern-style Barbera that sees oak aging. “The roundness will play well with the yogurt and rice, while the tannins stand up to the steak.”

Ready for a beer? Freeman suggests an Italian-spiced beer that has been brewed with myrrh and other spices. “This drinks like a light, wheat-style beer while really capturing secondary aromas. These scents pair perfectly with masala, paprika and other Eastern-European and Indian flavors. The acidity of the beer and the low effervescence are spectacular with savory foods.”

Korean Beef Ssam Lettuce Wraps  paired with an off-dry to sweet Riesling, an Old Vine Pais from Chile, or an Amaro Daiquiri

Thomas says sweeter Rieslings pair nicely with Asian flavors. “A sweeter Riesling plays so incredibly well with the complexity of the sweet, spicy, savory flavors that are found in this dish.”

Not a sweet wine fan? Drew recommends a lighter style red wine that won’t overwhelm the fruits in the recipe and will balance out the spiciness. She prefers an old vine Pais from Chile.

If you really want to mix it up, go with a daiquiri featuring Amaro as the base spirit. “The Amaro has a subtle anise and bitterroot component that is softened in the cocktail but compares well to the soy and sesame flavors of the dish. The overall sweet and spicy character of the dish is mellowed by the sweet and bitter components in the cocktail. Flavors like rice wine vinegar, gochujang, onion, and soy can only be paired with other strong aromas, and flavors that won’t back down! The finish is what is amazing. The fresh lime juice highlights all of the subtle cucumber, kimchi and honey-clove aspects of the dish letting the flavors linger for as long as you like.”

 

Freeman shares his classic daquiri recipe here!

Recipe:

1.5 oz Sicilian Amaro

.75 oz fresh lime juice

.5   oz Caribbean Rum

.5   oz simple syrup

Shake and top with a lemon peel in a martini glass.

Tequila & Lime Marinated Flank Steak  paired with the classic Margarita or a Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc or a Spanish Mencia

Thomas likes the tried-and-true margarita, on the rocks with salt!

Freeman is a fan of Sauvignon Blanc, not always associated with beef. “Look for a ‘beefy’, oaky version of Sauvignon Blanc from Napa Valley. The oak would accentuate the cumin and black pepper while the very nature of the grape would compare with the green aromas of cilantro and oregano. Sauvignon is kind of like the tequila of wine – it’s grassy, aromatic and refreshing when chilled.”

Drew loves Mencia with steaks. “This deeper red with complement the herbs and deeper flavors of cumin, soy and black pepper.”

Zesty Moroccan Grilled Beef and Eggplant paired with a Zinfandel or Bordeaux

“Eggplant can be tricky, with the bit of bitterness that comes along with this vegetable,” says Thomas. She says a lighter-bodied Zinfandel with sweet and spicy fruit can handle the unique flavor of eggplant as well as the spicy and herbaceous flavors coming from the marinade.

“This is a very classic, earthy dish from one of the oldest places in the world…it must find a parallel in the wine world,” says Freeman. For that, he recommends right bank Bordeaux, particularly Pomerol. “The roasted eggplant will be woven into the pairing by the inherent earthiness of the wine. Soft fig, dark chocolate, peppercorn and leather compare well with the paprika and cumin. Typically these wines are blended with Cabernet Franc, a grape that is lighter and more aromatic, going well with the acidic parts of the dish, the yogurt, tomatoes and red onion,” Freeman says.

Drew agrees, but prefers a left bank Bordeaux. “The deeper flavors in the Charmoula needs a deeper style of wine with some earthiness and oak aging. Left bank Bordeaux is just the ticket,” she says.

Lime-Marinated Flank Steak with Stuffed Poblano Peppers paired with Vinho Verde, Muscadet, Chinon  or Lager or Citrus Radler

“When you eat Mexican-inspired dishes, you always squeeze a fresh lime on the food before eating and  I’ve always thought, ‘What wines are like fresh squeezes of lime?’.” Freeman recommends Vinho Verde or Muscadet, fresh salty, lime-y wines from Spain and France that can cut the heat of the dish. The dish is also enhanced by the green aromas and minerality of the wines.

Prefer a red? Drew recommends a Chinon from France. “Cabernet Franc will wonderfully mirror the tomatoes, green chilis, poblano, and cilantro in the dish.  It also loves a good cheese like queso fresco” she says.

“This dish is screaming for something light, refreshing, and delicious to pair with it,” Thomas says. “I would love this with a crisp, ice-cold lager or something that has a little bit of sweetness to it, like an orange or grapefruit Radler. Low-alcohol so you can drink more than one while you’re eating.”

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