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Don Nguyen's Steak Recipe

Don Nguyen is the mastermind behind Khói Barbecue. This recipe is a meeting of two worlds: Texas BBQ meets Southeast Asian flavors.

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  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Red Boat fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons Red Boat palm sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon red curry paste
  • 1 teaspoon lemongrass (fresh, sliced in to quarter inch discs)
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 pound beef (sirloin, flank steak, or skirt steak)


1.  Place garlic, ginger, red curry paste, palm sugar, lemongrass, and cilantro into a mortar. Use pestle to grind the ingredients until well combined (1 minute).

2.  Combine soy sauce, fish sauce, lime juice, vegetable oil, and chili flakes in a bowl. Place ingredients from mortar into the bowl.

3.  Place steak inside bowl with combined marinade. Cover and place in fridge for 2 hours or overnight.

4.  Take out, smoke with post oak or any neutral hard wood, until 120F. Remove from smoker and sear on a cast iron or grill until internal temperature reaches 130F for medium. Pour remaining marinade and flip. Rest for 10 minutes. Slice against the grain. Enjoy!

5.  Alternatively if you don't have access to a smoker, you can reverse sear the steak. Preheat oven to 225F. Place steak in oven. Cook for 20 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 115F (I prefer medium rare). Right before steak is done, heat a cast iron skillet on high. Add a little oil, and then sear the steak - about 10 seconds on each side to activate the Maillard effect and get texture on the steak. Pour leftover marinade on steak. Take out of cast iron, rest for 5 minutes. Slice against the grain. Enjoy!


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