Chipotle-Honey Flank Steak


Sublime Smoke

Published by Harvard Common Press

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Few meats take to smoke cooking better than flank steak. The broad surfaces absorb seasoning well from rubs, pastes, and marinades, and are equally good at engulfing a copious amount of smoke in a relatively brief cooking time.

NotesThe Aztecs smoked chiles centuries ago and gave us the term chipotle to describe the result. Today, Mexicans generally make chipotles from ripe jalapeños or close cousins. In the United States, you sometimes find the pods dried but more commonly bottled or canned, with a heady vinegar-based brew called adobo sauce. Look for the chiles in the Mexican section of grocery stores or in Latino markets. Once opened, they keep for months refrigerated in a covered glass jar.

Serves6 to 8

Cooking Methodsmoking


Total Timea day or more

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationdiabetic, egg-free, gluten-free, lactose-free, low carb, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free



Taste and Textureherby, meaty, savory, smoky, sweet, tangy, tart


  • Two 1¼-pound flank steaks
  • 1½ cups tangerine or orange juice
  • ½ cup fresh lime juice
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 4 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, minced, plus 2 tablespoons adobo sauce (see Notes)
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1½ tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ cup honey
  • Minced fresh cilantro, for garnish


  1. The night before you plan to smoke the steaks, combine the marinade ingredients except the honey in a lidded jar. Place the steaks in a plastic bag or shallow dish, pour the marinade over them, and refrigerate them overnight.

  2. Bring your smoker to its appropriate cooking temperature.

  3. Remove the steaks from the refrigerator. Drain them and reserve the marinade. Let the steaks sit at room temperature for 25 to 30 minutes.

  4. In a heavy saucepan, bring the marinade to a boil and boil vigorously for 5 to 10 minutes, until reduced by one-third. Stir in the honey and heat through. Keep the mixture warm for glazing the meat.

  5. Brush the steaks thickly with the glaze and transfer them to the smoker. Cook the steaks to rare or medium-rare, about 35 to 45 minutes at a temperature of 225° F to 250° F. Remove the steaks from the smoker and brush them again with the glaze.

  6. Let the steaks sit 5 minutes before slicing them thin across the grain. Serve the slices with additional glaze on the top or on the side, along with the cilantro.


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