Picnics at Kapiolani Park.  Tailgaiting at Aloha Stadium.  Firing up the hibachi at Grandpa and Grandma’s house.  What goes best with all of these things?  You can fill in the blank here, but for me, it would be teriyaki beef.  Not kal bi (marinated Korean-style shortribs), though these are wonderful too.  And not thick juicy steaks, though I have no complaints with these either.  I’m talking about authentic thin-cut slices of teriyaki beef, perfectly grilled until the marbled fat that winds through them starts to sizzle and take on a tantalizing caramel brown color.  Nothing spells s-u-m-m-e-r outdoor fun like these “leave your knife and fork at home” cuts of meat.  You can get teri beef at most Hawaiian style plate lunch restaurants, and you’ll often find them skewered on sticks at saimin (Japanese noodle soup) establishments.  But I think they taste the best when you make them yourself, and eat them as soon as they come off the grill.The internet offers few recipes for good teriyaki beef like we’re used to in Hawaii (I tried searching for “beef teriyaki,” “teriyaki beef,” “teri beef,” etc.).  Fortunately, my Aunty J. gave me her recipe for teriyaki marinade, which is equally good with beef and chicken.  The recipe was a part of one of my most treasured bridal shower gifts – a collection of recipe cards and marriage advice from my aunties and cousins – assembled in a beautiful, bound recipe binder by my Aunty P.  I look at through this binder several times a month, and it always makes me feel closer to home.  Thanks again, Aunty P!

 Aunty J.’s ratio of sugar to soy sauce is PERFECTION, and the sugar gives the marinade a thicker consistency than bottled teriyaki marinades you’d find at the supermarket.  Why do you care about a thicker marinade?  For starters, it will stick to your meat more, so you will not need to marinate for hours and hours.  And, the sugar caramelizes on the meat when you grill it, sending the tastiness factor of this teri beef through the roof.

Once you’ve got your marinade down, the next question becomes:  what cut of beef?  The general consensus in my immediate family is that Grandma B. makes one of the best teri beef, and she uses rib eye.  Her local butcher used to slice the rib eye thin for her.  I’ve also tried slicing it myself, into approximately ¼” thick slices; it helps if the rib eye is a little bit frozen.

 Teriyaki Beef (adapted from Aunty J.’s recipe), about four servings

1 1/4 – 1 1/2 pounds rib eye steak, about two steaks, cut into 1/4″-thick slices (slightly frozen meat is easier to cut)

1 cup soy sauce

2/3 cup sugar

1″ piece of ginger, smashed, and sliced

2 large (or 3 medium) cloves of garlic, smashed and sliced

1 stalk of green onion (white and green parts), chopped

Stir all ingredients together in a dish that is large enough for marinating (I use an 8″ x 8″ glass Pyrex).Add the beef, and marinate between one and three hours.  Grill meat or place under a broiler.


13 Responses to Teriyaki Beef

  1. Ron says:

    It was way too salty? Do you use Aloha Shoyu or Kikimon’s?
    No like plate lunch Teri Brah..?

  2. Rmf says:

    Measurements are just about the same as what my family uses. I love that you use rib eyes!!! Thanks for tonight’s dinner menu suggestion. :-)

  3. Jeff says:

    I used the recipe but used the low sodium salt soy sauce you can also use a little water or pineapple juice to control the salt. It was awesome. Reminded me of the sandy beach lunch truck. I even made the zippys macaroni salad. Laid the beef over some raw cabbage. Just like home. Plate lunch heaven

  4. Sarah says:

    Oh no, didn’t think about the type of shoyu as being so important. Should a reduced sodium shoyu be used?

  5. Anonymous says:

    If it’s still salty add more sugar til it’s sweet enough n whatever shoyu you prefer

  6. I have seen the recipe that you use, I also born and raised in Hawaii. I have cooked teriyaki but my recipe differs, I use lite brown sugar instead of plain sugar and I don’t use kikoman shoyu sauce, its too salty. My recipe also good with deer meat, try it some time it ” reel o’no “

  7. sherry says:

    Hi Sarah, reduced sodium shoyu could absolutely be used. I’ve tried it, and have noticed a difference in the flavor. But it could definitely be used. Thanks for your comment!

  8. sherry says:

    Thank you for posting, Jeff! Perfect combination … teri beef, crisp cabbage, and macaroni salad!

  9. Jane says:

    I use Aloha Shoyu and up the sugar to 1 cup. In Arizona it’s available at Lee Lee’s fabulous Asian supermarket. For a change, substitute 1 – 2 tsp. Asian sesame seed oil in place of the ginger it’s delicious.

  10. welma says:

    this recipe is so easy and it was so good …i buy the meat at the korean asian store so it’s thin and i’m thinking to use it with chicken and boneless beef ribs…thank you! grow up in hawaii but we move alot so missing that plate lunch!.

  11. Ann says:

    Rule of thumb for marinating is: 1:1 With Aloha Shoyu (regular) and either all white sugar or half white and half brown sugar. Drizzle little sesame oil, add chopped garlic pieces and grated ginger. Green onion optional.

  12. Anonymous says:

    kikoman is to salty, I always use Aloha and brown sugar.

  13. Mahealani says:

    if you use kikkoman shoyu sauce you need to do 1/2 kikkoman and 1/3 water. It will come out less salty. I make it all the time here in Ohio. Until I could get Aloha shoyu sauce. Try adding sesame seed and the oil to it and it comes out even better. I have been making it here for over 20 years and these people love it and keep asking for more and my recipes. I lived in Hawaii for 43 years and are proud of it.

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