Grilled Beef Satay Recipe

Joshua Bousel

I really hate that I still have food hang-ups. Don't get me wrong, the Josh from five years ago would marvel at what the Josh of today includes in his diet, but I still have such a long way to go to be the eater I aspire to. One of those absolutely silly things I've never been able to get over is peanut sauce. I love peanut butter, I love meat, but for some reason if the two were put together, it's not going in my mouth. It came time to crush this aversion into oblivion, and these beef satay skewers did just the trick.

What I liked about this recipe was that so many ingredients I couldn't live without were mixed into the peanut butter, and likewise, the sauce had an Asian flavor that I love. Also, the meat and sauce are served separately, which let me be in control of how much (or little) I wanted my skewers soaked in peanut butter. I could enjoy my meat even if I wasn't digging the sauce.

At first taste, I was a little apprehensive, as you would expect when eating something that your brain is telling you that you don't like. But by the end of the dish I was slathering that peanut sauce all over my beef. Not only was it delicious, but I couldn't imagine one without the other—the flavors worked so well as a whole. A triumph in taste and over my own psyche, this beef satay carried a heavy load and it performed outstandingly.

Adapted from Cook's Illustrated.


  • For the Peanut Sauce
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice from 1 to 2 limes
  • 2 tablespoons Sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • 2 scallions , white and green parts, sliced thin
  • For the Satay
  • 1 large whole flank steak (about 2 pounds)
  • 1/8 cup fish sauce
  • 1/8 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons Sriracha
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 scallions , white and green parts, sliced thin
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro leaves for garnish
  • Type of fire: direct
  • Grill heat: high


  1. Whisk peanut butter and hot water together in medium bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients for the peanut sauce; transfer to serving bowl and set aside.

  2. Freeze flank steak for 30 minutes until firmed up. While the steak is is in the freezer, combine the fish sauce, oil, chili sauce, brown sugar, cilantro, garlic, and scallions in a small bowl. Remove from the freezer and slice the steak across grain on a bias into 1/4-inch-thick strips. Place the steak in a Ziploc bag, pour in the marinade, seal and toss to evenly distribute; open and reseal the bag, removing as much air as possible. Let marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Weave meat onto individual skewers and lay flat in shallow container.

  3. Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over the charcoal grate. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Place the skewers on the grill and cook until the meat is cooked through and is lightly charred around edges, about 7 minutes, flipping them over halfway through grilling. Transfer to a platter, sprinkle with cilantro, and serve with the peanut sauce.