Teriyaki Steak (照り焼きステーキ)
While chicken is the most common protein to cook Teriyaki, the method works great for other meats and even seafood. As the name suggests, Steak Teriyaki uses beef steak in place of the chicken, which makes for a hearty entree, that’s delicious on a bed of hot rice. Making beef teriyaki involves a slightly different process than chicken, though, so here are all of my tips and tricks to ensure you end up with a juicy, flavorful Teriyaki Steak.
Table of contents
Why This Recipe Works?
- By separating the marinade and the sauce, you get a well-flavored beef teriyaki that doesn’t burn prematurely and a shiny glaze that’s true to its name.
- Hanger steak is a cut of beef that’s both tender and flavorful.
- Japanese teriyaki sauce is a simple savory-sweet combination of soy sauce, sake, and sugar, and its trademark characteristic is its glossy sheen.
- Resting the steak for 10 minutes allows the steak’s internal temperature to balance out while allowing the muscle fibers to relax and reabsorb some of the liquid they lost. This prevents the beef teriyaki from leaking all of its juices out when you cut into it.
Ingredients for Teriyaki Steak
- Steak – I used hanger steak, a cut of beef that comes from the cow’s belly. It doesn’t look very pretty, but it’s as tender as tenderloin, and yet it’s much more flavorful. If you can’t find it, feel free to use whatever cut of beef you enjoy.
- Marinade – I’ve used grated ginger, garlic, sake, salt, and oil for my marinade. The ginger and garlic are there for flavor. Sake is an alcoholic beverage made from rice that contains an unusually high amount of amino acids such as glutamate and aspartate. These compounds are responsible for creating the taste of umami and can synergize with the inosinate in the beef. Put simply, it makes the beef taste even better. Don’t worry about the alcohol content, as it will burn off as you cook the steak. You don’t need to use an expensive sake, but I recommend staying away from “cooking sake” as it tends to contain a lot of salt and other additives. If that’s all you have, it will work for the marinade, but be sure to omit the salt. As for the oil, it’s there to keep the meat from sticking to the grill.
- Teriyaki Sauce – Teriyaki literally means “shiny grilled,” so sauces that include ingredients that cloud it up are technically not “teriyaki.” That’s why I’ve separated out the aromatics, using them to marinate the beef. The teriyaki sauce is a traditional Japanese recipe that uses equal parts soy sauce, sake, and sugar. I highly recommend using drinking sake for the sauce as the salt in “cooking sake” will make the sauce too salty.
How to Make Teriyaki Steak
Trim any silverskin or connective tissue off of the surface of the steak. See the section in the FAQ about preparing hanger steak for more details.
Make the marinade by whisking together the ginger, garlic, sake, salt, and vegetable oil. Pour the mixture over the trimmed steaks and spread it around to coat evenly. Let this marinate in the fridge for at least an hour.
While you wait for the beef to marinate, you can prepare the sauce. Teriyaki sauce will keep for months, so I often make a big batch and store it in a bottle in the fridge. Add the soy sauce, sake, and sugar to a saucepan and boil it until it has the consistency of natural maple syrup. It will take about three to four minutes after it comes to a boil. As the sauce reduces, the sugar will cause the sauce to thicken, and it will want to boil over, so keep a close eye on it and reduce the heat periodically to avert disaster.
To grill the steaks, I like to do it in a cast-iron grill pan, but an outdoor grill, cast iron skillet, or even a regular frying pan will work. Whatever you end up using, the key is to get it nice and hot. Add the steaks to the pan and let it grill undisturbed until they have nice grill marks on one side (about 4 minutes). If you’re doing it in a frying pan, you’ll want to look for a nice brown crust to form on one side.
Flip the beef over, and grill the second side until you have nice grill marks on the second side (another 3-4 minutes). Depending on how thick your steak is, it should be rare to medium-rare at this point. Unless you’re a steak ninja, I recommend using an instant-read thermometer to check it for doneness.
|Rare||125 F||52 C|
|Medium Rare||135 F||57 C|
|Medium Well||150||66 C|
|Well Done||160+||71 C|
If you want to continue grilling the steak to a higher temperature, flip it over again and turn it 45 degrees to create a diamond shape pattern of grill marks. Continue grilling the steak until it reaches your desired doneness. Keep in mind that the steak’s center will continue rising in temperature by a few degrees after you remove it from the heat.
When the steaks are cooked to your liking, transfer them to a tray and let them rest for 10 minutes before you cut them. This is important as it allows the temperature gradient to level off. It also allows the juices squeezed out from the muscle fibers to get reabsorbed into the meat, so they don’t end up all over your cutting board.
After the steak has rested, slice it against the grain. Because hanger steak is so tender, I usually go for relatively thick slices.
Drizzle the teriyaki sauce on top of the sliced steak, and then garnish the beef teriyaki with sesame seeds and scallions.
Other Teriyaki Recipes
Teriyaki means “shiny grilled” in Japanese and refers to both the cooking method and sauce (which gives the meat “teri” or shine). Teriyaki Steak is made by grilling a beef steak and then glazing it with teriyaki sauce.
When it comes to steak, tenderness and flavor usually sit on opposite sides of the scale. Tenderloin is tender, but it doesn’t have much flavor, whereas chuck is good on the flavor side but tends to be tough. Hanger steak is a magical cut from the stomach area that manages to be both tender and flavorful, and it’s my favorite cut for making Teriyaki Steak.
Hanger steak is actually two muscles joined in the center with a thin strip of connective tissue. Most butchers will split it in half and remove the gristle, but if yours came whole, you will want to cut it in half along one side of the connective tissue and then trim it off the other side. If it came untrimmed, it might also have some silverskin attached (a whitish film on the outside of the meat), which you will want to shave off with a sharp knife.
Teriyaki steak is delicious served on a bed of rice with some extra teriyaki sauce drizzled on top, but it’s also good alongside a baked potato with miso butter or in a sandwich with caramelized onions.
hanger steak (or your preferred steak meat)
For teriyaki sauce
Black sesame seeds
Determine whether your steak has been trimmed at the butcher or not and trim it as needed (see “how to prepare hanger steak?” in the FAQ)
Mix the ginger, garlic, sake, salt, and vegetable oil together, and then rub the marinade all over the steak. Let this marinate for at least an hour.
To prepare the teriyaki sauce, add the soy sauce, sake, and sugar to a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Adjust the heat down to prevent it from boiling over, and cook the sauce until it starts to thicken (3-4 minutes)
To cook the steaks, heat a grill pan over medium-high heat until it is hot. Place the steaks in the pan and cook one side undisturbed until you have nice grill marks on it. If you’re using a frying pan, you want to let it go until it’s nice and browned on one side.
Flip the hanger steaks over and grill the second side until you have nice grill marks. Use an instant-read thermometer to check for your desired doneness.
If you’re going to continue cooking the steaks, I recommend flipping them over and turning them 45 degrees. Then you can continue grilling them until they reach your desired internal temperature.
When the beef teriyaki is cooked to your liking, remove them from the grill and let them rest for 10 minutes. This allows the meat juices to redistribute, keeping your steaks nice and juicy.
After they’ve rested, slice the steaks against the grain and serve drizzled with teriyaki sauce and garnished with sesame seeds and scallions.