Thanksgiving was at my cousin’s this year, and we both agreed we didn’t want to do turkey. I decided that I would make a big batch of Bistek Tagalog, only this time (and inspired by Marvin at Burnt Lumpia) I was going to grill it. Bistek is great as a traditional single-pan dish, but I was confident that grilling the steak would make it even better.
Unlike previous versions of bistek I’ve made that used thinly sliced New York or sirloin steaks, I picked up some flap steak at Costco. Flap steak is very similar to skirt steak, cooks quickly, and is extremely tender. Again, you can use almost any cut of steak to make bistek, but I think that skirt, flank, or flap steaks might be the best cuts of meat for this dish.
I used the same methods as in Bistek Tagalog II (Kalamansi version). I got some more kalamansi from our family friend and ended up needing 60 of them to get almost 1.5 cups of juice. I mixed this with a cup of soy sauce (to ensure there was proportionally more juice than soy sauce) and four chopped garlic cloves to finish the marinade. The meat should be marinated for no more than an hour before putting them on the grill. (Make sure you save the marinade to make the sauce later).
I grilled them for about 5 minutes a side on a very hot grill and then rested the meat for 10 minutes before slicing it against the grain. The meat ended up being between medium rare and medium, which is exactly what I was looking for.
I had a bit of trouble getting the onions onto skewers, so I just put them directly on the grill. I lost a bit of onion this way, but for the most part it worked well. I’m sure you could fry up the onions in a hot, dry frying pan or grill pan if you want to maximize your onion yield. :) When you’re done cooking the onions, mix it up with the meat.
While the meat rests, take the remaining marinade and cook it down to your desired consistency to make the sauce. You might find that you don’t even need the sauce after you try the meat, but it’s always good to mix it in with your rice, too. We ended up pouring the sauce into a gravy boat so that people could just pour it on the meat if they wanted.
Of the three different bistek’s that I’ve made, this one is by far my favorite. Grilled meat always trumps pan-fried in my book, and the flap steak was also the ideal cut of meat to use for bistek. A pan-fried flap steak would also be excellent, but if you have access to a grill, by all means use it.
How did it go over at Thanksgiving? The bistek was the first platter to be finished off, and I also got several compliments on it, so it went very well. :)
Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving weekend…now it’s time to focus on Christmas dinner!
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