5 Ingredients or Fewer

Vietnamese Sugar Steak

March 23, 2015
9 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
Author Notes

There is a local institution here in my hometown of Denver called Bastien's. Rebuilt in 1958, the restaurant still sports a mid-century neon sign that proudly boasts its famous sugar steaks. While my family and I used to go for the novelty of their deep-fried burger (stuffed with corned beef, no less), they are better known for their crisp, caramelized steaks. I usually use this marinade on pork, but I decided to try it out on a flavorful flap steak—and it was magnificent. It is great served with some simple rice and broccoli or on a sandwich with cucumber, avocado and a bit of mayo the next day. —savorthis

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Savorthis is a custom furniture designer with a knack for building great recipes.
WHAT: A steak that's better matched with rice than potatoes.
HOW: Make a marinade out of fish sauce, brown sugar, lime, and garlic, try to be patient while your skirt steak soaks it up, then grill up a storm—just don't forget to serve the marinade on the side.
WHY WE LOVE IT: After wading through endless steak marinades (vinegar, nothin' but s&p, soy sauce), this one caught our eye. With only five ingredients, it's easy to follow, quick to prepare, and makes a darn good steak. —The Editors

  • Prep time 4 hours 30 minutes
  • Cook time 25 minutes
  • Serves 4
  • 4 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice, divided
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 pound skirt or flap steak
  • 1 tablespoon butter (optional)
In This Recipe
  1. In a large bowl, mix the fish sauce, brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of the lime juice, and garlic. Place the steak in the bowl to marinate and cover with plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or up to 4 hours.
  2. Remove the steak from the refrigerator and allow it to return to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Reserving the marinade, remove the steak from the bowl.
  3. Over a grill or in a cast-iron skillet over high heat, grill the steak for 3 to 4 minutes per side, until medium-rare.
  4. Allow the steak rest for 10 minutes, then slice it thinly across the grain. Add the remaining tablespoon of lime juice to the marinade and pour it into a saucepan. Cook over medium heat until slightly reduced, about 4 minutes. Once it's warm, swirl in the butter for extra deliciousness, if desired. Serve steak with sauce at the side.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Maria Lyles
    Maria Lyles
  • Ellen S
    Ellen S
  • Susan Martin
    Susan Martin
  • boulangere
  • savorthis
Co-Owner/Designer @ Where Wood Meets Steel-Custom Furniture