This has been one of our favorite grilling recipes for a long time and it’s always one of the first things I make when the weather gets warm.  Although Cook’s Illustrated categorizes it as an appetizer (as do most Thai restaurants) I didn’t see why it couldn’t be the star of the show. 

Let me implore you again not to be put off by the fish sauce.  I was very squirmy about this particular ingredient for a long time and I’m still not fond of the smell (in fact, try to avoid breathing until you’ve got it mixed up with other things), but it adds an irreplaceable depth of flavor and really makes this taste like the satay at your favorite Thai place.  It does not taste fishy, I promise!

The spicy peanut dipping sauce is brilliant but unless you’re doing a shot of it after every bite of beef it makes about 3 times as much as you need.  So either cut back or plan to eat it with something else later in the week (like Asian noodles?).

Best of all, the good people at Cook’s have given me (and the rest of the blogosphere) permission to reprint their recipes as long as we put the instructions in our own words.  So here you go!

Beef Satay with Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
Serves 4-6 as a main course

For the Satay:
1 large whole flank steak (about 2 pounds)
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons Asian chili sauce (Sriracha), or more to taste
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
4 scallions, white and green parts, sliced thin

For the Spicy Peanut Sauce:
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup hot water
2 tablespoons lime juice from 1-2 limes
2 tablespoons Asian chili sauce (Sriracha)
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro leaves
1 medium garlic clove, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 teaspoon)
2 scallions, white and green parts, sliced thin

Marinate the satay: combine fish sauce, oil, chili sauce, brown sugar, cilantro, garlic and scallions in a zipper bag, bowl or tupperware container.  Cut steak in half lengthwise and slice each piece across the grain into 1/4″ thick strips, add to marinade and toss to coat.  Refrigerate for 1 hour but no longer. 

While meat is marinating, make peanut sauce: whisk peanut butter and hot water together until combined and smooth.  Add remaining ingredients and set aside.

Remove meat from marinade and weave onto skewers.

Light a full chimney starter of charcoal and let burn approximately 20 minutes.  Spread evenly onto bottom of grill.  Set cooking grate in place, cover grill, and let heat about 5 minutes.  Scrape grate clean.

Place skewers onto grill and cook, uncovered, until lightly charred, flipping halfway through.  Transfer to a serving platter and serve with peanut sauce.