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Hawaiian Kebabs

Ok boys, Memorial Day has come and gone, so you know what that means? It’s Grillin’ Season! You pulled the cover off the BBQ, you oiled down the grill grates, now you’re ready to make magic! Here’s a different take on kebabs, courtesy of Hawaiian Chef Sheldon Simeon. These grilled steak-tip skewers have a punchy, bright basting sauce of sake, soy sauce, brown sugar, sherry vinegar, garlic, ginger, scallions, and an unexpected ingredient: pearl barley! The ground barley thickens the sauce and helps it coat the beef so it gets crispy when grilled. I know your mouth is watering... Simeon layers on even more flavor with a “finadene,” a soy-based sauce, to serve with the skewers, that includes sweet Maui onions (or Vidalia) and Agrumato lemon olive oil, a citrusy finishing oil produced by pressing whole lemons and olives (but you can substitute extra-virgin olive oil). Of course me being me, I made a few changes here and there. I know this recipe seems complicated, but if your ready for the challenge, it’s different and yummy-licious! So..... Gentlemen, Start Your Grills!!!!!



  • 1 small sweet onion (such as Maui or Vidalia) thinly sliced

  • 1⁄2 cup apple cider vinegar

  • 1⁄4 cup soy sauce

  • 3 Hawaiian chiles or red Fresno chiles, seeded and finely chopped

  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce

  • 1 tablespoon Agrumato lemon olive oil or extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic

Steak Tips

  • 1/2 cup uncooked pearl barley

  • 1 cup mirin

  • 1⁄2 cup sake (or Cooking Sherry)

  • 1 cup soy sauce

  • 1⁄2 cup packed dark brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar (or white vinegar)

  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed

  • 6 scallions, roughly chopped

  • 1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly sliced

  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns

  • 3 pounds hanger steak, cut into 2-inch pieces

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper


  1. Make the finadene by stirring together all ingredients a small bowl. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour.

  2. While the finadene stands, grind barley to a fine powder in a spice grinder. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high; add barley, and cook, tossing constantly, until golden brown and toasted, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; let cool in skillet 2 minutes. Return skillet to medium-high; whisk in mirin and sake until smooth. Add soy sauce, brown sugar, sherry vinegar, garlic, scallions, ginger, and peppercorns; cook, stirring often, 15 minutes. Pour mixture through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a bowl; discard solids. Set sauce aside for basting.

  3. Sprinkle steak pieces with salt and pepper. Thread steak pieces onto 8 (12-inch) skewers. Brush with basting sauce; let stand at room temperature while grill is heating up.

  4. If using a gas grill, preheat to very high [500°F and up].) Place skewers on oiled grates. Grill, uncovered, flipping and basting with sauce until steak pieces are charred in some spots and a meat thermometer registers 125°F, about 8 to 10 minutes for medium-rare.

  5. Transfer skewers to a cutting board, and let steak rest 5 - 10 minutes. Serve with finadene.

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