Perfect Soy-Grilled Steak

Yield4 servings

Time30 minutes


You may think you don't have the time to marinate meat before grilling it, but it's time-consuming only if you think a marinade has to tenderize. As far as I'm concerned, there are only two goals in marinating: to add flavor and to promote browning and crispness. Neither of these requires long soaking, although dunking the meat while the grill heats contributes to a slightly greater penetration of flavor. This marinade of soy sauce, ginger, garlic, honey and lime is ideal for steak, but it works beautifully with any tender meats like burgers, boneless chicken, tuna and swordfish, all of which can be turned in the sauce before putting them on the grill. Longer-cooking meats, like bone-in chicken, should be cooked within 10 minutes of doneness before basting with the sauce.

Serve with


  • ¼cup soy sauce
  • 1teaspoon peeled and minced ginger
  • ½teaspoon peeled and minced garlic
  • 1tablespoon honey, molasses or hoisin sauce
  •  Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  •  Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 116- to 24-ounce boneless steak (rib-eye, skirt or strip), or one 24- to 32-ounce bone-in steak (rib-eye or T-bone)


  1. Start a charcoal or wood fire or heat a gas grill; the fire should be hot and the rack no more than 4 inches from the heat source. Mix together the first 6 ingredients; taste and add more of anything you like. Turn the steak in the sauce once or twice, then let sit in the sauce until the grill is hot.
  2. Turn the steak one more time, then place on the grill; spoon any remaining sauce over it. For rare meat, grill about 3 minutes a side for steaks less than an inch thick. For larger or more done steak, increase the time slightly.

Originally published in The New York Times Perfect Soy-Grilled Steak, by Mark Bittman