This Hawaiian Beef Teriyaki recipe uses flank steak and a few authentic ingredients for the best teriyaki you’ve ever tasted! An awesome and flavorful flat top grill recipe to try on your Blackstone or Camp Chef griddle!
You guys know that when I make a dish that’s sacred to a particular culture or region, I try my best to do it justice. So when I got an email recently from a Hawaii native asking me to make authentic Hawaiian teriyaki, I was excited to immerse myself in the Hawaiian culture and try my hand at this dish!
And I’m glad that I did!
There’s a reason why certain dishes are so highly valued by specific cultures… because they’re freaking delicious! And this Hawaiian style beef teriyaki is no exception. In fact, when we tasted the marinade before adding it to our sliced flank steak, my wife made the comment that we’ll probably never buy store-bought teriyaki sauce again. It’s that good!
If you’re looking for a creative dish to make on your Blackstone griddle or Camp Chef flat top grill (you can only eat so many smash burgers, am I right?), then try this delicious Hawaiian Teriyaki Beef recipe! Or, you can even make this easy Hawaiian teriyaki steak inside on your stovetop also!
Straight From a Hawaiian
Like I mentioned before, I decided to try my hand at this authentic Hawaiian beef teriyaki after my correspondence with a native Hawaiian. Since he grew up eating this Hawaiian dish, he was a wealth of information. From what type of shoyu to use (and what the heck shoyu is in the first place) to that one ingredient that you can’t buy at any store (it’s love!), I now have mad respect for teriyaki and the people that created it.
So this recipe is dedicated to him.
Here are some of the nuggets of Hawaiian teriyaki wisdom that he shared with me:
No pineapple juice needed.
It’s a common misconception that pineapple juice is an ingredient in authentic Hawaiian teriyaki. In fact, when teriyaki originated in Hawaii, pineapples hadn’t even been brought to the islands yet.
Instead, this teriyaki recipe is a mash-up of ingredients from Hawaii and the groups of people that immigrated there. The Japanese immigrants contributed mirin and shoyu, and the knowledge of how to brew both of these. The Portuguese immigrants brought garlic over. The Chinese contributed ginger to the dish. And the sugar came from Hawaii’s cane fields. All of those ingredients, combined with “the cleanest fresh water you’ve ever tasted from mountain streams and springs” led to the birth of the Hawaiian teriyaki sauce that so many try to replicate.
Often imitated, but so rarely duplicated, especially by non-native Hawaiians.
Flank steak is traditional for Hawaiian teriyaki, but other proteins work also.
According to my Hawaiian friend, this teriyaki marinade is traditionally used with thin sliced flank steak, as we did in this post. However, you can for also use it chicken, fish, pork chops, etc.
The Hawaiians don’t use measurements either.
You guys know that I rarely use recipes when cooking… I only started creating recipes for my flat top grill dishes when so many of you reached out asking for specific measurements. So when my Hawaiian friend mentioned that they don’t use measurements in their dishes, he won my heart! (I have, however, included a recipe for you at the end of this post!)
He suggests you should “let your heart lead you” as you make this dish… after all, one of the most important ingredients in authentic Hawaiian cooking is love.
Ingredients for Hawaiian Teriyaki Beef
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- flank steak
- Aloha shoyu – Find it on Amazon or Asian supermarkets
- granulated sugar
- minced garlic
- ginger – We used minced ginger that comes in a squeeze bottle because I already had that on hand in my fridge. We actually really enjoy this type of ginger for other recipes also, because it’s more convenient than using ginger root.
- green onion – The green onion in not traditional, but I really like green onion and I thought it would add a little something extra to this dish.
How to Make Hawaiian Beef Teriyaki on the Flat Top Grill
This awesome Hawaiian teriyaki steak is so easy to make on the griddle. There’s really only two steps to this dish… marinating the steak and cooking it on the griddle. That’s it. What you serve with your teriyaki beef if up to you, but I’ve got some suggestions for you down below.
Here’s how to make the best Hawaiian steak teriyaki:
Step 1: Slice and marinate the flank steak.
Start by making your Hawaiian teriyaki marinade by combining shoyu, granulated sugar, mirin, minced garlic, and ginger in a large bowl. Whisk together until sugar is fully dissolved. Since my marinade ingredients were right out of the fridge, I added the marinade to a sauce pan and heated it slightly to help speed up the process, but this is not necessary.
While the sugar was dissolving in the teriyaki sauce, I cut my flank steak into thin slices. Add the steak to a large bowl with some sliced green onions. Then, once the sugars in your teriyaki sauce are dissolved, pour the sauce over the steak and stir to combine. Allow the steak to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
Some Hawaiians marinate their meat for up to 3 days, and some local restaurants in Hawaii even let their steak marinate for a full week.
Here’s what my steak looked like before it went in the fridge:
Step 2: Cook your Hawaiian beef teriyaki on the griddle.
Once your beef has marinated, it’s time to cook it. Allow your griddle to heat up on low, then add a bit of avocado oil or your favorite cooking oil to the surface of your griddle. Of course, you can also cook this awesome Hawaii teriyaki beef inside in a skillet on your stovetop if you wish.
When you add your sliced beef to the griddle, be sure that you spread it out a bit so that it can cook evenly and you can get a nice caramelization on your steak. Here’s what I mean:
If you add all of your beef to the griddle without spreading it out, then all of the moisture from the marinade will steam your meat, which is not necessarily what you want. Spreading the meat out on the griddle to cook allows the sugars in the teriyaki sauce marinade to naturally caramelize on the flat top grill. Plus, making sure that each piece of beef has its own “landing spot” on the griddle surface helps to create a nice crust on the meat and it doesn’t cause the temperature of your griddle to drop drastically in one spot.
Cook the beef until done and a good amount of the sauce has reduced. The sauce will definitely thicken up to coat the sliced beef with the sweet sticky goodness that you expect from teriyaki. When your beef is done cooking, transfer it to a serving bowl and serve with white rice.
FAQ’s about Hawaiian Style Teriyaki
When I first learned about authentic Hawaiian teriyaki, I had a lot of questions. Here are some of the questions that I had about making this Hawaiian beef, because maybe you’re wondering about some of these same things:
Where is teriyaki originally from?
So often we think of teriyaki as an Asian dish, but actually teriyaki originated in Hawaii when Japanese immigrants mixed Hawaiian ingredients with soy sauce and mirin to use as a marinade.
What is shoyu?
Shoyu is just another name for soy sauce. However, for more authentic Hawaiian style teriyaki, you should use Hawaiian shoyu. The main difference between Hawaiian shoyu and Japanese shoyu is the saltiness. Hawaiian style shoyu (or soy sauce) is less salty than a Japanese shoyu like the Kikkoman brand.
What if I can’t find Aloha shoyu?
The most popular sauce to use in the islands to make authentic teriyaki is Aloha brand soy sauce… but it’s not easy to find if you’re not in Hawaii. After trying a few different grocery stores, I was able to find Aloha shoyu at a specialty Asian supermarket. The Aloha shoyu is also available on Amazon.
You can substitute Kikkoman’s soy sauce for the Aloha brand if you dilute it with some water… 1 part Kikkoman soy sauce to 1/2 part water.
What should I serve with Hawaiian beef teriyaki?
We served our teriyaki beef with another Hawaiian staple… pineapple! We also added some white rice to soak up some of the extra Hawaiian teriyaki sauce (trust me, you won’t want any of this delicious sauce to go to waste!). Some sautéed broccoli rounded out the dish and added a nice pop of color to the plate.
If you’re watching your carbs, you can also substitute the white rice for cauliflower rice like we did in these low carb burrito bowls! Or, add your teriyaki beef and cut grilled pineapple to some lettuce cups to cut some carbs.
In Hawaii, this beef teriyaki is often served with a mayonnaise based macaroni/potato salad on the side. Some islands in Hawaii also garnish their beef with things like sesame seeds or sliced green onions, but the teriyaki sauce remains pretty much the same. Here’s the recipe:
Hawaiian Teriyaki Beef
- 3 lb flank steak
- 1 cup Aloha shoyu Hawaiian soy sauce
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup mirin sweet cooking wine
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 2 green onions sliced
- To make the teriyaki marinade, add shoyu, sugar, mirin, garlic, and ginger into a bowl and whisk together. Transfer the marinade to a sauce pan and heat just to warm up slightly until sugar is dissolved. Don't boil or overheat the marinade.
- Cut steak against the grain into thin slices.
- Add steak, sliced green onion, and marinade to a large bowl and stir to combine. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
- Preheat your griddle on low. Or, you can also cook your Hawaiian beef teriyaki in a skillet on your stovetop.
- Add the pieces of marinated steak to the griddle, spacing them out so as to not overcrowd the griddle.
- Once you add the meat to the griddle, let it cook untouched for about 2 – 3 minutes. Then saute it for a minute or two and spread it back out on the griddle. When you spread out the meat on the surface while it's cooking, it allows the sauce to reduce more quickly. Continue this process, mixing it together and then spreading it back out to continue to cook.
- Cook until the steak is done and the sauce has reduced a good bit.
- Remove the Hawaiian beef teriyaki from the griddle and serve with white rice or your favorite side dishes.