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The best beef and broccoli recipe swaps the wok for the grill

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Garnish with thinly sliced scallions for a fresh bite.
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

This iconic stir-fry is known as beef and broccoli, but I prefer to treat it as broccoli and beef. In this version, I’ve upped the proportion of vegetables to meat and swapped stir-frying for grilling.

Growing up, I ate this simple dish almost once a week at home, swiping the saucy mix through steamed rice before each bite. My babysitter made it using the traditional technique of boiling the broccoli until morning-grass green, then quickly tossing it in a wickedly hot wok with flank steak and a savory-sweet soy-based sauce.

It was a defining weeknight meal of my childhood. Just as memorable were our weekend cookouts with extended family. My dad grilled steaks as an indulgent treat, and we all smashed the slices into our ever-present rice. The beefy juices soaked the grains with their smoky deliciousness.

I love both meals so much I’ve combined them here by grilling a whole steak and lots of long-stemmed broccoli, then tying them together with the classic sauce.

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My favorite part of stir-fried broccoli is the hint of char it picks up from sizzling in the wok. On the grill, broccoli gets even smokier and more satisfying. The same is true of the beef, especially after sitting in a marinade with just enough sugar to give the meat a caramelized crust over the fire. Although the dish is tasty on its own, it’s best with — you guessed it — steamed rice.

Grilled Beef and Broccoli

30 minutes plus marinating. Serves 6.

⅓ cup Shaoxing cooking wine or dry sherry
⅓ cup soy sauce
¼ cup oyster sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
4 large garlic cloves

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1 pound flank steak
3 ½ pounds broccoli with stems
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 Combine the Shaoxing wine, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil and sugar in a medium bowl. Using a Microplane, grate the garlic directly into the mixture. Or crush into the bowl with a garlic press or mince by hand before adding. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Pour about half the mixture over the steak in a shallow dish that holds it snugly. Turn the steak to evenly coat, then marinate at room temperature while you heat the grill or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day. If refrigerating, cover the remaining marinade and refrigerate it as well.

2 Heat a grill or grill pan to medium-high.

3 Use a sharp paring knife to cut the thick peel off the stems of the broccoli, then cut each stalk in half or quarters lengthwise. You want them all to be about the same size. Drizzle with the vegetable oil and toss to evenly coat.

4 Remove the steak from the marinade and pour its marinade into a cast iron or other heavy heatproof small skillet or saucepan. Add the remaining sauce to the skillet and set on the grill. Put the steak and broccoli on the grill grate in a single layer. Grill, turning once, until the broccoli is evenly charred and tender and the steak is well-seared, 10 to 12 minutes. The sauce will be simmering alongside for the same amount of time. If it starts to thicken past the consistency of syrup, pull it off the grill.

5 Transfer the broccoli and steak to a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle the boiled marinade all over. Let the steak rest for 5 minutes, then cut with the grain into thirds. Cut each section into thin slices across the grain and toss with the broccoli and sauce. Serve hot.


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