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Ponzu sauce (Recipe: grilled flank steak with ponzu and honey glaze)

Grilled flank steak with ponzu glaze

The first time I bought ponzu sauce was a happy accident.

I pulled down what I thought was a bottle of Japanese soy sauce from a high shelf at the Asian grocery. I tossed it into my shopping cart, and not until I reached the checkout line, with my cart full and my wallet in hand, did I realize I had ponzu instead of soy sauce.

I checked the ingredient list on the bottle. Well, I thought, why not give it a try?

Thus began my love affair with ponzu. Think of it "soy sauce plus", as soy is the main ingredient, but it's the combination of sweet and fruit that makes ponzu sauce a perfect base for building a glaze, or a stir-fry or barbecue sauce.

It's easy to make your own from ingredients you probably already have in the pantry, but it's easier to keep a bottle of store-bought ponzu in the refrigerator.

What is ponzu sauce?
A blend of naturally brewed soy sauce, vinegar, bonito, and citrus (yuzu or lime), plus a bit of sugar.

How/where to store:
Unopened, in the cupboard indefinitely; once opened, store in the refrigerator for up to one year.

More facts about ponzu sauce, and ingredient photos, in The Perfect Pantry:
Ponzu sauce (Recipe: grilled chile-lime-ponzu chicken)

Grilled flank steak with ponzu glaze 

Grilled flank steak with ponzu and honey glaze

There's something about flank steak cooked on a grill that screams Summer! Here's a variation that is not spicy or salty; it's fruity, with just a hint of a glaze from the honey in the marinade. Serve with cold sesame noodles or a salad made with broccoli slaw and an Asian dressing, for a great twist on the traditional meat-and-coleslaw favorite. Serves 6-8, depending on side dishes.


1/2 cup ponzu
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tsp honey
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil
1 pinch fresh black pepper
2 lb flank steak, trimmed of any excess fat


Combine first 7 ingredients in a bowl and whisk until thoroughly mixed. Taste, and adjust seasoning if necessary with more honey or vinegar.

Place the steak in a large ziploc bag, and pour in the ponzu mixture. Seal the bag and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

When you're ready to cook, heat your grill (or broiler) to high. While the grill is heating, remove the meat from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature. Do not discard the marinade. Cook for 4 minutes on each side, brushing occasionally with the marinade. Remove the meat from the grill and allow it to sit, covered with a piece of aluminum foil, for 10-15 minutes before slicing.

You can make this dish far ahead; it's just as good cold as hot.

More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Shrimp teriyaki
Ginger cabbage salad
Spicy Asian grilled chicken and pasta salad
Salmon fried rice

Other recipes that use ponzu sauce:
Tofu with ponzu sauce, from Ravenous Couple
Uni shooter with ponzu sauce, from Steamy Kitchen
Udon with ponzu and brown butter sauce, from Healthy Delicious
Sesame crusted tuna with ponzu sauce, from The Kitchen Sink
Brussels sprouts with bacon, ponzu, fried garlic and bonito flakes, from We are not Martha

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


Anybody or anything that makes flank steak look that good---I'm sold! Definitely checking into ponzu next time I'm at the market, just so I can try this marinade. Beautiful images, Lydia! Just mouthwatering...

I love ponzu too! I usually think of it as a condiment, not for cooking. But it certainly makes sense and sounds delicious to use as a marinade.

That photo looks good enough to eat!

Gorgeous looking steak....looks like tiger's strips with the grill marks and the pink steak inside.

Great photos in this post, and it sounds delicious too.

Thanks, everyone, for your kind words about these photos. Julia, ponzu makes a great dipping sauce for summer rolls and eggrolls, but I use it more for cooking than on its own.

Delicious! I needed a new condiment to "shake things up at the grill!" Thanks!

That steak looks amazing, and the thought of soy with notes of citrus charred on the grill is making me just crazy right now!

NJ is so lame...4 stores and not one has it in stock.....time to move to NH haha

finally found a bottle of the kikkoman brand. cant wait to try this recipe...thanks

this recipe turned out really well....many thanks for sharing

use it on raw oysters

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