Sugar Cured Beef Skewers

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I went to the Taste of Dallas a few weekends ago and for some reason the Texas summer decided to play nice by keeping the temperatures in the high 80’s for a change. Perfect weather for wandering around with The Man with a fair sized margarita and over-eating sampler plate by sampler plate! It was a pretty amazing deal b/c each plate was $3 and the servers were definitely being generous. When it got too hot, we went inside the convention halls and sampled local olive oils, non-commitally browsed artwork, and tried not to get sucked into buying one of those water-less cooking sets. They almost got us with the offer of free food for only 15 minutes of your time…
The very BEST dish I had at the fair were these fantastic beef skewers at the booth of the restaurant, Sullivan’s. Man oh MAN were they delicious!
The meat is deeply marinated lending to a powerful, slow sweetness just tempered by a touch of citrus flavor at the end. The meat is then was perfectly grilled to a tender medium and we got 3 skewers for $3! Ridiculous! I had had these skewers before at a charity event I volunteered at and had forgotten to ask for the recipe. This time, I made sure to stalk down the chef and ask him how he made this amazing dish. He told me that the steak was cured for 24 hrs in a coating of sugar and orange & lime zest. Apparently they’d gone through an entire case of oranges for the day!

After I got home, I searched online in vain for other sugar cured beef recipes to add to what the chef had told me. Oddly enough the only things I found were recipes for Vietnamese sugar cured beef where you actually eat the meat “raw” after it has cured. Never heard of the dish before, but it wasn’t quite what I was looking for. So I decided to forge ahead and just try something to reproduce the dish. The meat turned out pretty good for a first try. The sweet & citrus zest was definitely there, but I would probably add more salt and pepper to deepen the flavor.

In addition, I happened to find out this week that @LawyerLovesLunch is my neighbor, so I invited her & her husband over for dinner. What an awesome time we had, and how nice to find internet friends can transcend the barrier of the blinking screen. 🙂

Servings: 5-6


  • 3-4 lbs of flank steak
  • 1.5 cups white sugar
  • 2 oranges
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  1. Zest your oranges & lemons
  2. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, zest of orange & lemon, salt & pepper. Mix until it’s evenly distributed and looks like this:

3. In a sealable container, pour some of the sugar mix in the bottom. Lay your steak on top and pour the rest of the sugar mix on top. Rub the mix into the steak and make sure there is a nice thick coating of sugar on all sides of the meat. Seal & leave in the fridge for at least 24 hours.
IMG_7581 IMG_7582
4. The next day, you will find that the sugar has turned to a pretty golden syrup. Remove the meat from the container and brush off any excess sugar crust stuff. The meat will be a little dark in color from the curing process.
5. Heat your oven to 350.
6. Heat up a skillet with some oil to very hot. I used my cast Iron pan with grill ridges so I could some nice sexy grill marks in the meat!
7. Cook about 4 min on each side and pop in the oven for about 5 min. This will get you about a medium finish on your steak.
8. Let the meat rest a few minutes, and then slice to serve!
@LawyerLovesLnch & her hubby were sweet enough to bring some delicious sides – Chinese style green beans & Thomas Keller’s Potato cakes. Wow. The Potato Cake was just PERFECTLY crunchy & salty! Thanks guys!!
What a great meal, and lovely evening of conversation about everything under the sun, plus, of course, lots of talk about good food. 🙂

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