You'll flip with the first bite of this amazingly tender and incredibly delicious Vietnamese Grilled Flat Iron Steak. The marinade is loaded with fabulous flavor and the simple secret tenderizing ingredient will surprise you!
I've been serving this Vietnamese Grilled Flat Iron on repeat lately and EVERYONE who's tried it has loved it! Then again, what's not to love when you're talking about a beautifully charred steak fresh from the grill that's bursting with flavor and is so tender you barely need a knife?
I could have kept you in suspense regarding the secret ingredient that makes this Vietnamese Grilled Flat Iron Steak SO very tender but I'm not like that. Actually, I can't wait to tell you! It's a very simple ingredient that I'm sure you don't have to go out and search for and you DEFINITELY don't need to go to some fancy gourmet store or online site.
Baking soda. Yep, the everyday, multi-purpose ingredient that is "the answer" for SO many problems!
Sheesh, every time I turn around it seems that I hear a new use for baking soda. It neutralizes odors, whitens teeth, helps with digestive disorders, treats bites and stings, gets out laundry stains, soaks up spilled oil, whitens laundry, alleviates cancer sores, relieves itching skin... Oh my, that's just the beginning. The list goes on and on and on! I bet you didn't know that little yellow/gold box in your pantry was a magical ingredient!
And now there's another Houdini trick to add to the list! A meat tenderizer!
Who thinks up these things?
I learned this amazing little hack from Epicurious in an article titled "Always Tender London Broil". The Epicurious post shares how adding a small amount of baking soda to a marinade works wonders on a tough cut of meat like London Broil. They say, "It may seem unorthodox, but it plays a crucial role in tenderizing the steak by relaxing its protein network, which keeps it nice and juicy while it cooks."
Really? have to admit, I was a bit dubious after reading the article - but after checking out the reviews from amazed readers, I started taking the idea more seriously. I did a little more research and discovered article after article, Tasting Table, America's Test Kitchen, Better Homes and Gardens, Bon Appétit, Southern Living, and more, all verifying the success of using a small amount of baking soda to tenderize meat.
HAVE I BEEN LIVING UNDER A ROCK? It was time to try it myself!
This Vietnamese Grilled Flat Iron Steak recipe was my first attempt with the baking soda trick and I'm super impressed with the results. Flat Iron Steak is fairly tender to start with but this steak has been exceptionally tender every time I've served it - so tender you can skip the knife and serve it with just a fork! Dubious doubter now converted! I will definitely be trying this with other cuts of meat.
What is Flat Iron Steak?
If you haven't tried Flat Iron Steak, you're missing out on a great cut of meat. It's also called Butler's Steak, Top Blade, Oyster Blade or Feather Steak and is cut from the top blade of a chuck roast.
Is there a sub for Flat Iron Steak?
My local (small mountain town) grocery store stocks Flat Iron Steak but, when I went to my favorite grocery store in the larger city nearby, they didn't have this cut of beef. If you can't find the Flat Iron cut, a flank steak will also work well for this recipe.
What to serve with this Vietnamese Grilled Flat Iron Steak?
This Asian-inspired steak is fabulous served it with jasmine rice and stir-fried veggies for a fresh, healthy dinner. It's also delicious with ramen noodles, rice noodles or soba noodles. Sometimes I keep things simple and healthy with a side of thinly sliced cucumbers and slivers or red onion marinated in rice vinegar, sugar and a pinch of salt.
A couple of other healthy, summery options are to serve this Vietnamese Grilled Flat Iron Steak with jasmine rice and this Thai Chopped Watermelon Salad or this Asian Watermelon Herb Salad - both make a gorgeous presentation!
The marinade can be simmered for 5 minutes to create a delicious drizzling sauce.
We also enjoy this Vietnamese Grilled Flat Iron Steak with our Sweet Basil Dressing (as pictured in this post). It's fresh flavor pairs beautifully with the grilled beef, similar to a chimichurri sauce.
I hope I've convinced you to try this Vietnamese Flat Iron Steak recipe. I'm pretty sure it will become a favorite at your house as it has at mine!
Café Tips for making this Vietnamese Grilled Flat Iron (or Flank) Steak
- This recipe calls for fresh lemongrass, a popular flavoring ingredient in Vietnamese cuisine. Lemongrass is sometimes difficult to find so I keep a tube of Lemongrass Paste in my freezer. When I need lemongrass, I pull it out, let it thaw for 5-10 minutes then squeeze out as much as I need and pop the tube back in the freezer. Lemongrass paste can be found at many larger grocers (including Super Targets and Super Walmarts) in the produce section. I also keep Ginger Paste stashed in my refrigerator or freezer for convenience.
- This recipe also calls for Fish Sauce. Don't skip it. If you've never used fish sauce, it may not sound particularly appetizing but it adds fantastic umami flavor (not fishy at all) to dishes like this Vietnamese Grilled Flat Iron Steak. I really like Red Boat Fish Sauce, available at many larger grocery stores in the Asian section and online. Fish sauce has a long shelf life (at least a year) when refrigerated.
- One other ingredient called for in this recipe that you might not be familiar with is chili garlic sauce. Chili garlic sauce is a delicious condiment that can also be found in the Asian section of your local grocery store. As its name suggests, it's made from chili peppers and garlic and adds a touch of heat to this recipe. Chili garlic sauce will also keep a long time when refrigerated.
- I love having leftovers from this Vietnamese Grilled Flat Iron Steak. Thinly sliced, it makes a fabulous sandwich and is wonderful for breakfast with scrambled eggs.
- To ensure a beautiful brown sear, be sure to pat the steak dry before grilling. A light drizzle of oil before grilling keeps the surface of the steak from drying out on the grill.
- Leave the meat in the refrigerator until just before grilling. That way, you'll have the time to achieve a deep, golden brown exterior before the interior is finished cooking.
Thought for the day:
And those who know Your name
will put their trust in You;
For You, LORD,
have never forsaken those who seek You.
What we're listening to for inspiration:
If you enjoy this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear your results, adaptations, and ideas for variations.
You'll flip with the first bite of this amazingly tender and incredibly delicious Vietnamese Grilled Flat Iron Steak. The marinade is loaded with fabulous flavor and the simple secret tenderizing ingredient will shock you!
- ¼ cup brown sugar packed
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 ½ tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped lemongrass or lemongrass paste
- 1 tablespoon minced peeled ginger or ginger paste
- 6 garlic cloves finely minced
- 2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- 1½-2 pounds Flat Iron steak
Combine all marinade ingredients except the baking soda in a small bowl or measuring cup. Stir well to combine, then add the baking soda and stir again. (The mixture will foam up a bit, that’s normal!) Transfer the marinade to a large zip-lock bag.
Prick steak all over with a fork and add to marinade; turn to coat and massage the steak all over to work the marinade in. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 12 hours.
Preheat your grill to high and clean the grates.
Remove steak from marinade, letting excess drip back into the bag and pat the meat dry with paper towels; reserve marinade. Drizzle the steak lightly on both sides with olive oil and rub with your hand to coat the meat. Season the steak with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.
Sear the steak over high heat until deeply browned then turn down the heat to medium and continue cooking, turning occasionally with a tongs until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 125-135° (the timing for this will depend on the thickness of your steak.
Tent the steak with foil and allow it to rest for 8-10 minutes, then slice into ½-inch slices across the grain. Pour any juices that have accumulated on the cutting board over the steak.
Serve on its own, with the marinade drizzling sauce or with Sweet Basil Vinaigrette.
If you want to make a drizzling sauce, transfer the marinade to a small saucepan and bring it to a boil then lower the heat and simmer for 4-5 minutes until thickened a bit.
See Café Tips above in the post for more detailed instructions and tips to ensure success.
If you prefer to use Metric measurements there is a button in each of our recipes, right above the word “Instructions”. Just click that button to toggle to grams, milliliters, etc. If you ever come across one of our recipes that doesn’t have the Metric conversion (some of the older recipes may not), feel free to leave a comment and I will add it.