Prep Time: 30 minutes | Cook Time: 20 minutes

Let me tell you a bit about my in-laws. My mother-in-law is the queen of marinades . . . she marinates everything! Just like her, I love a good marinade, but unlike her, I love some spicy heat in mine. Now, about my father-in-law. Flank steak is his favorite thing to cook, especially on the grill, but when his daughter married a chef, he started questioning his grilling skills. Michael, trust me: You are a fabulous grill master (now it’s in writing)—I’m here to tell you that if you know how to do something well, never question it! Here’s my stick-to-what-I-know spin on my mother-in-law’s marinade, and I hope you love it. If you prefer a spicier flavor, add more jalapeños. By the way, the “zippy sauce” I serve on the side can go on everything. (Maybe not on ice cream—but prove me wrong!) It’s also a great vegan option to add interest to any side dish. It goes beautifully on tofu, eggplant, or quinoa, and I’m sure you’ll find even more killer combos for its use.

For the marinated steak

¼ cup olive oil

3 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1½ teaspoons kosher salt

½ teaspoon smoked paprika

½ teaspoon chili powder

1 (1½- to 2-pound) flank steak

For the zippy sauce

2 jalapeños, seeded, if desired, and coarsely chopped

Juice of 1 lemon

1 cup arugula

½ cup fresh mint leaves

½ cup fresh parsley leaves

1 garlic clove, peeled

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

½ cup olive oil

MARINATE THE STEAK: In a gallon-size zip-top bag, combine the olive oil, honey, vinegar, pepper, salt, smoked paprika, and chili powder. Put the steak in the bag, seal it, and massage it a little to get the meat fully covered with marinade. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.

MAKE THE SAUCE: In a food processor, combine the jalapeños with the lemon juice and pulse to finely chop, then transfer to a medium bowl.

In the food processor, combine the arugula, mint, parsley, garlic, cumin, salt, pepper, and olive oil and pulse until the mixture looks like pesto. Transfer this mixture to the bowl with the jalapeños and mix it all together. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge until serving time. (The longer the zippy sauce sits, the more the flavors meld and bloom, making it more delicious.)

Heat a grill until it’s nice and hot. Carefully place the marinated flank steak on the grill. Cook, uncovered, for 7 to 8 minutes. You want to really caramelize that honey in the marinade and get some nice dark grill marks. Using tongs, carefully flip the steak and cook for 7 to 8 minutes more for medium-rare (a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the steak should read 130°F).

Transfer the steak to a large cutting board and let it rest for 15 minutes so the juices redistribute.

Then cut the meat into thin strips against the grain for maximum tenderness. Spoon the zippy sauce over the steak and enjoy!


  • When cooking meats, a good rule of thumb is to rest the meat for the same amount of time that it cooked to ensure that the juices have enough time to redistribute and allow the proteins to relax.