Beef on a stick is a popular street food, but it's not so common here in Ohio. Our solution was to make up our own version of this simple and tasty snack using our favorite Bearded Butcher Blend Seasoning and our Big Green Egg.
The next time you have a hankering for Chinese takeout but the places nearby aren’t worth trying, pull out this recipe and make a hot batch of beef on a stick Bearded Butcher style.
What Type of Beef is Used for Beef on a Stick
The best types of beef for beef on a stick are flank steak and skirt steak. Flank is a primal cut that comes from the sides of the beef before the hind legs. It is a lean and tough cut.
The skirt is cut from the plate primal cut which is the next section from the flank toward the front of the cow. It is also a lean, tough cut that offers a robust and beefy flavor. Skirt steaks have more marbled fat than flank, but are also more expensive and difficult to find.
You'll want to look for a cut of beef that is about an inch thick and has good, thick marbling. Avoid steaks that have red purge in the package as this is a sign of age and improper handling.
Marinade Prep for Beef on a Stick
These tough cuts of beef benefit greatly from an overnight marinade which helps the meat become more tender. Chinese beef on a stick uses several ingredients that might not always be easy to come by – especially gochugaru, a paste made from red chili peppers and glutinous rice paste. In place of the paste, we used our Hollywood and Hot blends. The mixtures adds just the right combination of slightly sweet and just subtly spicy enough to give the beef a good kick.
This simple marinade is made with seasonings, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, and green onions. Simply mix it all together in a one-gallon storage bag or a bowl with a resealable lid. The marinade helps break up the dense muscle fibers and adds flavor and juiciness to the steak.
Slicing the Beef
Place the steaks on a cutting board and locate the direction of the grain. Use a sharp knife to slice the steaks into very thin strips about ¼ inch thick.
Once all the steak is cut up, put it into the bowl or bag with the marinade and gently work the meat into the liquid, making sure each portion is fully coated. Refrigerate the meat for 6 to 12 hours, but not longer than 24 hours.
After the beef has sat in the marinade for at least six hours, remove it from the marinade, and allow it to drain for half an hour on a grate on a cookie sheet in the refrigerator.
Prepping the Skewers
Most of the time, you’ll see beef on a stick made with bamboo skewers. We have started using flat skewers like these ones and they are wonderful for recipes like this one. They are made from stainless steel so there is no soaking and they are reusable, so there is no waste. Plus, the clip on the skewer blade that shuffles food onto the plate is an ingenious idea.
Feed each piece of beef onto a skewer so that it sits as flat as possible on the skewer. Make sure that each strip is securely on the skewer before it goes on the grill or you’ll risk losing a strip into the fire.
Cooking the Beef on a Stick
This is the fun part – cooking the beef on a stick. We are using the Big Green Egg, which makes perfect sense since the kamado-style grill is itself a version of a hibachi grill, the type typically used to cook beef on a stick on roadside trucks.
We are going to use high-quality lump charcoal and get a good bed of coals started. The thin steaks will cook fast, so we won’t be using the lid. Instead, we are going to get the grill good and hot before the steaks go on.
Place the skewers on the grill one at a time so they are not overlapping and grill for three to 10 minutes, checking occasionally for signs of doneness.
The strips will get a slight char and will be deep brown when they are cooked all the way. Flip the skewers a few times as they cook to make sure they are evenly grilled.
A Tip from the Bearded Butchers
The trick to cooking beef on a stick perfectly is to not walk away from the grill while the beef is cooking. It cooks very fast and if you walk away, it will burn almost as though it is cursing you for not paying attention.
Serving Beef on a Stick
We usually put the cooked beef on a platter and watch as the tender, delicious strips of beef rapidly vanish from sight. We have experimented with barbecue sauce, soy sauce, and even our Rebel Red sauce, but mostly, the meat is simply delicious on its own.
Beef on a Stick Recipe
- Flank or skirt steak, thinly sliced against the grain
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Bearded Butcher Blend Hollywood Seasoning
- 1 tablespoon Bearded Butcher Blend Hot Seasoning
- 2 tablespoons ginger juice
- 6 green onions, whites removed, chopped coarse
- Skewers, if using bamboo, soak overnight first
- A sharp knife
- Charcoal grill
- Lump charcoal
- Slice the steaks into thin strips against the grain. Set aside in the refrigerator until the marinade is ready.
- Combine all ingredients for the marinade in a large bowl or a resealable bag and mix well. Add the cut strips of beef to the marinade and massage until fully combined. Place in the refrigerator for 6 to 12 hours, and no longer than 24 hours.
- Remove the beef from the marinade and allow it to drip dry.
- Place one strip of meat on each skewer, keeping the meat flat against the skewer to prevent the strip from falling off. Set on a platter in the refrigerator until ready to cook.
- Light the grill and make sure the charcoal is fully ignited before starting to cook.
- Place the skewers on the grill so that they do not overlap and cook until dark brown on both sides. The meat might take anywhere from three or four minutes up to ten minutes to cook depending on the thickness.
- Remove from the grill and serve immediately.
This is a really simple street-style snack food that reminds us a little of hot, fresh beef jerky. Using Hollywood gives the beef stick a wonderful flavor. We have also experimented with some of our other seasoning flavors and had great results, so don’t be afraid to mix things up when you make it yourself.
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