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‘Top Chef’ Champ Brooke Williamson on How to Grill Skirt Steak With Bourbon BBQ Sauce

A simple marinade brings a ton of flavor.

brooke williamson top chef champ cooking Photo: courtesy Playa Provisions

After coming so close to victory in Top Chef season 10 when Kristen Kish defeated her in the final, Brooke WIlliamson returned to the competition show in Charleston, finally taking the crown during season 14. But she didn’t return home to Los Angeles from the win with plans for tweezer food fine dining; she continued with her focus on neighborhood spots with her husband and fellow chef Nick Roberts.

Born and raised in LA (she cut her teeth at the California cuisine pioneer Michael’s in Santa Monica), Williamson currently owns and runs Playa Provisions. At this beachside location in the LA neighborhood Playa Del Rey, she and Roberts are executing multiple concepts under one roof. There’s the ice cream shop, a cafe serving breakfast and lunch and then a dinner spot featuring coastal California cuisine. No matter where she’s cooking, Williamson has a knack for delicious, unpretentious, well-executed food. She’s sharing with Robb Report readers advice on how to make one of her favorite things to grill during the summer: skirt steak.

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Skirt steak is a go-to grilling item in our house—a favorite and often requested dinner item by my 13-year-old son. It’s not only a very naturally flavorful, perfectly marbled and tender cut, but it also takes on a marinade easily and within hours, making it a very versatile protein regardless of the theme of the meal, ranging from taco night to Japanese sukiyaki.

Grilled Skirt Steak with Kentucky Barbecue Sauce

grilled skirt steak

Photo: courtesy Neeta Lind/Flickr Creative Commons

For the Marinade

  • 1 tbsp. whole grain mustard
  • 1/8 c. soy sauce
  • 1/8 c. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. chili flake
  • 3 tbsp. brown sugar
  • .5 c. cola
  • 1 tbsp. chopped thyme

For the Dish

Mix together all of the ingredients for the marinade and fully submerge the steak to marinate overnight. 

Remove steaks from marinade and season with salt and pepper. Place on grill over medium-high heat. Cook on both sides until desired temperature. Use a pastry brush to coat cooked steaks with Kentucky bourbon barbecue sauce about 2 minutes before removing from grill. Add more if desired.  

Coat scallions with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill scallions for 1 to 2 minutes, or until slightly wilted and caramelized. 

Slice limes in half and grill face side down until caramelized.

Serve steak immediately, garnished with grilled scallions and grilled limes.


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