While I find pan roasting a steak more than an acceptable cooking option, there is something special about using the grill. In this recipe video, I show you how to grill a flank steak, which I season simply with salt and pepper, but then flavor with a bit of homemade pesto sauce.  The pesto, which is grassy, savory and delicious, chars just a bit on the grill, and gives the steak an added pop.  With a fresh salad, and maybe some potatoes on the side, this is one of my favorite summer "outdoor" dinners.  Hope you enjoy it, as much as I do.

Recipe Overview and Keys to Success

  1. Any time you cook steak, you need to get a good sear/char on the outside to really develop the flavor.  The way to do that, is to use really high heat (so let the grill get going 15 – 20 minutes before you start) and don’t play around with the steak too much.  I generally flip mine just once.
  2. With flank steak, how you cut the meat has a huge impact on its tenderness.  There is a natural and pronounced grain to the meat.  Once cooked, you need to slice the meat against the grain for the most tender cut
  3. Know your doneness.  I like med-rare; You can cook to whatever you’d like, but know how to tell rare from well done.  I’d suggest you take a look at these Five Rules for the Perfect Steak.  It helps to have the steak at room temp before you start cooking.
  4. Use a good pesto.  I like my pesto recipe, but if you want to use store bought, that’s fine.  Just make sure you taste it, and like it.


Ingredients (for about 2 people)

  • 1/2 cup of basil pesto
  • 1 lb cut of flank steak
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Making the Flank Steak and Pesto

  • Take the steak out of the fridge about 45 minutes prior to cooking, and season it generously with salt and fresh ground black pepper on both sides
  • Prepare the pesto sauce, or take it out of the freezer, or open the jar ;-)
  • Light your grill about 15 minutes (if you’re using gas) prior to cooking the flank steak; if you’re using charcoal, get the coals going, and make sure you grill is very hot when you’re ready to start the steak
  • Oil the steak on both sides, and lay it on the hot grill
  • Close the lid; which creates a bit of an oven effect, and lessens the flames up
  • Depending on the thickness of the steak, and your preferred doneness, let the steak cook, without touching, flipping, poking or bothering…for at least 4 minutes…probably more like 5. This time will allow the tasty crust to form; and it won’t burn
  • At the 4 – 5 minute mark, check the steak; it should be browned nicely.  If so, turn the steak.  If not, let it go another minute then flip
  • Take the pesto sauce and slather a good coating on the cooked side; and then close the lid again
  • Cook the steak on the second side for about 1 – 2 minutes less time than what you did on the first side; or until it gets to your desired doneness (mine is med – rare)
  • Flip the steak one more time, apply a coat of the pesto onto the un-coated side, and close the lid to allow it bake on for one more minute
  • Remove the steak and allow it to rest, covered or wrapped in foil, for about 5 minutes
  • Slice the meat against the grain, you can spoon a bit more pesto on if you’d like and serve it up

I made some grilled asparagus to go with my steak, long with some potatoes and creamed spinach.  Hope you enjoy it as much I did.

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