Americans are obsessed with grilling, and here to help master the backyard grill is New Orleans chef, David Guas, award-winning cookbook author, restaurant chef and host of Travel Channel’s high-heat, high-stakes grilling competition show, “American Grilled.”
His new book, Grill Nation: 200 Surefire Recipes, Tips, and Techniques to Grill Like a Pro is endorsed by my friend, Dr. BBQ Ray Lampe, who says, “David takes on outdoor grilling and we all want a seat at the table. I offer his Grilled Peach BBQ Sauce, Creole-Coffee Rubbed Cowboy Cut Bone-In Rib Eye and Grilled NOLA BBQ Shrimp as evidence that life just got a little better for all of us.”
While Chef David is from Louisiana, the recipes represent a worldwide sampling of flavors, from Korean Flank Steak, Grilled Lamb with Mint Chimichurri, to Caribbean Shrimp Kabobs and Charred Eggplant with Miso Dressing.
His recipes are simple, most of them no more than a handful of ingredients and 3 steps. Our favorite is this Vietnamese BBQ Tacos recipe. David loves this as a fun party meal, complete with a “toppings bar” of Vietnamese dipping sauce, shaved red onions, pickled cucumbers and wedges of fresh lime.
The marinade is made of classic Vietnamese flavors: fish sauce, ginger, garlic and sugar. All easy-to-find ingredients at your grocery store.
Vietnamese BBQ Tacos
The marinade is whisked together in a bowl, then added to a zip-lock bag with strip, flank, flat iron or skirt steak.
Get your grill ready on medium-high, and grill the steaks 7-8 minutes per side, depending on thickness and desired degree of doneness. I prefer medium-rare skirt steak, which is thinner – so 5-6 minutes per side works well.
Cover the steaks with tin foil to let rest for a few minutes (while you get your Vietnamese BBQ Taco topping bar ready). Then slice ACROSS the grain if using skirt or flank steak.
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Vietnamese BBQ Taco Recipe
Reprinted with permission from Time Inc. Books (c) 2015 Photos by Johnny Autry. Recipe from Grill Nation by David Guas. This recipe serves 8 (have a party!) Use a mandolin to thinly slice the onion and the cucumber. The dipping sauce stores in refrigerator for up to 1 week. You can use leftovers as a tangy/sweet salad dressing!
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 pounds steak (flank, skirt, flat iron or NY strip)FOR THE TOPPING BAR
24 (8-inch) soft taco-sized flour tortillas
1 lime, cut into wedges
1/2 red onion, very thinly sliced
1/2 cucumber, very thinly sliced
1 cup match-stick cut carrots
handful fresh cilantro leaves and mint leaves, roughly choppedFOR THE DIPPING SAUCE
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/4 cup white vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 serrano pepper or Thai chile pepper, seeded and sliced
1. To make the marinade, whisk together the fish sauce and the next 7 ingredients in a bowl. Place steaks in gallon-sized zip-top bag, pour in the marinade. Squeeze out the air, massage bag a bit to distribute the marinade. Refrigerate for up to overnight.
2. To make the dipping sauce, whisk together the ingredients in a bowl, or add them to a mason jar, cover and shake.
3. When ready to cook, preheat grill to 350F-400F (medium-high). Remove steaks from marinade, discard marinade. Grill steaks 6-8 minutes per side, or until desired degree of doneness, turning every 3-5 minutes; remove from grill and cover loosely for 10 minutes. Cut steaks across the grain into thin strips.
4. Serve with the carrots, red onions, cilantro, mint, cucumber, lime wedges and warmed tortillas.