Flank Steak and Shitake Yakitori – Tales from the Kingsford Invitational

March 14, 2013


Tune into Destination America at 10 pm EST, this Sunday, March 17 to experience the glory that was the first ever Kingsford Invitational.  Our pre-event coverage begins with a recipe and blow by blow of what it was like behind the scenes by NibbleMeThis


The cookers have cooled, the smoke has cleared, and the First Annual Kingsford Invitational is in the books.

First, here is a recipe from the weekend.  The recipe is by Chris Lilly for Kingsford and the picture is the Anheuser-Busch’s chef’s interpretation of that dish.  He marinated the flank steak in Stella Artois, grilled it whole and then topped with the onion/shitake skewers.

kingsford recipe Flank Steak and Shitake Yakitori

 Flank Steak and Shitake Yakitori

reprinted with permission from Kingsford and Grilling.com

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 9 minutes

Ingredients (12-14 skewers)

  • 28 shitake mushroom caps
  • 1 flank steak
  • 1 bunch green onion tops
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 12-14 4-inch skewers, soaked in water

For the Marinade

  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3/4 cup mirin (rice wine)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3/4 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes


1. Cut the shitake mushroom caps in half and place them in a mixing bowl. In a medium sauce pan add the marinade ingredients and bring to a simmer for 10 minutes. Then, remove from heat and pour the hot liquid over the mushroom caps, marinate for 20 minutes.

2. While mushrooms, marinate, cut the flank steak across the grain into 1/4 inch strips. Cut green onion tops into 1-inch pieces.

3. Once mushrooms have finished marinating, remove mushrooms and set marinade aside. Use skewer to pierce the flank steak at the end of the strip. Next piece a piece of mushroom cap followed by a green onion top. Weave the flank steak strip around the mushroom and green onion, and flank steak until the steak strip ends. Lightly season the skewers with salt and pepper.

4. Preheat the grill using Kingsford charcoal. Dip each skewer into the left over marinade and place on the grill over direct heat. Grill for 2 minutes on each side, or until the streak browns. Remove the skewers from grill and serve.


I arrived in St. Louis just in time to check in my room and have a few minutes before having to meet the Kingsford gang downstairs.

St. Louis kingsford invitational

View from my room.

Kingsford took us all to a farm to table dinner at Farmhaus where host, Chris Lilly, talked about the importance of this contest as a unified championship for the world of competitive BBQ.  He also talked about continuing and emerging trends in the food world and how they relate to grilling and BBQ.

Chris Lilly at Kingsford Invite

Photo taken by Harry Soo.  Chris Lilly is on the left.  I’m in the far right corner.

The next morning we headed to the Anheuser-Busch Brewery for a plant tour.  When I heard “beechwood aging” all those years, I assumed they were aging beer in beechwood barrels.  Actually, the beechwood is large shavings inside the tanks and it facilitates the yeast and natural carbonation as opposed to artificially forcing in CO2.

Anheuser-Busch Brewery outside

Anheuser-Busch brewery inside

Sclemeel, schlemazel, hasenfeffer incorporated!  Errr….I mean Anheuser-Busch!

 After the tour we had a special presentation about pairing beer with foods by Anheuser-Busch’s Brewing Specialist and Ambassador, Sarah Schilling.  That meant an excellent lunch as well.  The tips she gave for pairing include concentrating on

  • balance – matching intensities
  • contrast – creating different “angles” by pairing opposing profiles, intensities, etc
  • compliment – flavors that enhance or add to each other

lunch at Anheuser-Busch brewery

Shock Top Belgian Wheat with salad

The chef made a vinaigrette with Shock Top Belgian Wheat.  The orange peel and coriander in the beer balanced with the dried fruit.

Jalapeno beer cheese soup with beer

Jalapeno beer cheese soup paired with Budweiser to cleanse the pallet of the milk fats.

bottle of stella artois

Did I mention that all of this beer drinkin’ was before noon?

Creme Brulee Cheesecake with Bourbon Bud - Budweiser

Creme Brulee Cheesecake with Bourbon Bud – Budweiser aged in bourbon casks with vanilla bean.


Next, we traveled a few hours to the Cook Farm at the Kingsford plant in Belle, MO where the first part of the Kingsford Invitational was underway – The One Bite Challenge.  The cooks had 1 hour to create the perfect grilled appetizer but they were limited to using 5 ingredients.  At stake was a $5,000 bonus and a 1 point lead for the main competition the following day.

welcome to Kingsford invitational sign


Kingsford invitational lawn

camera man at Kingsford invite

Some of the other bloggers were more prepared with equipment than me.  Kidding, part of the production crew.

Kingsford invitational people on lawn

It was unseasonably warm and beautiful, but windy as all get out.  See the flags?

one bite challenge Johnny Trigg

Godfather of BBQ, Johnny Trigg, with his One Bite Challenge turn in.

Johnny Trigg one-bite challenge

“Just pretend we’re not here and cook like you normally would.”

Kingsford pitmaker at invite

Meanwhile, the Kingsford Pitmaker was in action, grilling up dinner for everyone.

The dinner was

  • charcoal grilled turkey with fresh herb butter
  • spiral sliced ham with spicy apricot glaze
  • grilled sweet potato steaks with maple pecan butter
  • grilled seasonal veggies
  • grilled pineapple upside down cake
  • and all delicious!

Now for the winner of the preliminary event….

Chris Lilly one-bite challenge

Chris Lilly about to announce the winner of the One Bite Challenge.

one-bite challenge cameras

I kept feeling like we were being watched ;)

Yazoo's Delta Q winner with check
Yazoo’s Delta Q won the One Bite Challenge with their Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Shrimp.
Shortly after this, the teams headed back to their sites because the main competition would be starting soon.  They would be cooking through the night for their chance at the top prize of $50,000.
Kingsford invitational at night

The flag shows the cooks would contend with strong winds all night.

All of the noise and celebration didn’t bother this farm dog that kept coming into the tent.  He got up on stage and took a nap.

beagle sleeping on hay bale

It was the end of a long exciting day and I was ready to go to sleep too.

 Source: NibbleMeThis.com



Related Topics: Anheuser-busch | Editor's Picks | Kingsford Invitational | Nibblemethis.com | One Bite Challenge | Steak Yakitori

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