The Secret to Tender Steak Is Already in Your Pantry

RISE THE STEAKS Marinating meat will give it a fresh flavor. However, to avoid overwhelming flavor, make sure not to let your meat rest for longer than a couple of hours. 

THE CHEF: Robynne Maii

Her Restaurant: Fete, in Honolulu, Hawaii

What she’s known for is A commitment to responsible local sourcing and sourcing within her hometown of Honolulu. The restaurant she has created along with her husband serves a simple menu of New American dishes and promotes Hawaiian farmers and food producers.

In her dedication to celebrating Hawaiian producers, Chef Robynne Maii exclusively uses local grass-fed beef in the Honolulu eatery, Fete. This method may require modifications. “Conventional beef, from the mainland, is grain-finished so it has more fat [which makes it more tender],” the chef said. To make up for the difference, Maii amps up succulence by using a simple marinade. For the second time in her Slow Food Fast, to account for the difference, she suggests doing the same thing with hanger steaks–whether grass- or grain-fed. You can also add an umami-rich mix of balsamic vinegar along with olive oil and soy sauce. After grilling, the pink slices mix well with a crunchy salad of kale and radish served with a turmeric-tahini salad dressing.

Then, in Honolulu, Maii prepares the dressing using fresh turmeric. (“Turmeric is found everywhere in Honolulu,” she said.) However, don’t be concerned when you’re unable to find the root difficult to locate. A pinch of ground turmeric adds to the tahini’s nuanced flavor and the warm, sunset-colored color. Since kale can be found all year round in Hawaii, It’s always available at Fete, and, when on the menu, they give the perfect punch of peppery flavor. Along with the seared steak, this simple salad brims with flavor and is a complete delight. According to Maii says, “This is food you always want to eat.”

Grilled Hanger Steak and Kale-Radish Slaw With Tahini Dressing

The process of marinating meat can be enlivening; however, to avoid the flavors from becoming too strong, don’t let the pieces rest for longer than a couple of hours.

Total Time30 minutes



  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 cup and 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 pounds hanger steak
  • 2 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar
  • One tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Two teaspoons of ground turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons of tahini
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt from kosher, plus additional seasonings
  • 1 pound kale lacinato, stems removed and leaves washed, then cut 1/4-inch thick
  • 8 radishes, thinly cut
  • 2 scallions, cut and thinly sliced on the edge


  1. Within a dish, make a mixture of balsamic vinegar and soy sauce, and 3 tablespoons of oil. Marinade the steaks and allow to sit for minimum 15 minutes.
  2. With a food processor, mix rice wine vinegar with honey, lemon juice turmeric, mustard as well as 1/2 teaspoon of salt. As the blades spin, drizzle half a cup of olive oil till the dressing has well-emulsified. Add salt to taste.
  3. Within a bowl, mix the scallions, radishes, and kale. The dressing should be three-quarters full; rub it on the leaf. Add salt according to your preference, and then add more dressing if you need to. (This salad can take the weight of a coat.)
  4. Remove the steak from marinade and sprinkle the both sides of it with salt. The grill (or grill pan) to medium-high. Grill until grill marks are visible, approximately 4-5 minutes per side, to achieve medium doneness. Remove from heat and let the steak rest for 5 to 7 minutes. Cut against the grain. Serve alongside the kale salad.

Lucca isn’t the only chef to extol the benefits of grilled desserts. Joe Papach of the Harvey House in Madison, Wisc., believes it’s a good opportunity to cook a complete food outdoors. “If you’re grilling up some steaks or burgers for dinner, you can just throw a dessert into the mix and have it finished by the time you’re done eating the main courses,” Papach said. Aaron Allen of Silas Creative Kitchen in Versailles, Ohio, loves the way grills make the flavors pop, and gives a different flavor. “Whether it’s caramelizing sugars or adding a little char or smoke, it can create a contrast on a dessert that would otherwise be one-note.”

Are you looking to add a touch of sweetness to your summer’s last barbecue? This is the place to go. Lucca, Papach and Allen simplify the process and offer three simple and delicious recipes.


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