Cola Steak with Fritos

By Ben Millett •

Published in Dinner,Meals

This is a really interesting recipe from Food & Wine. It’s fast and it’s tasty. The flavors surprisingly worked well together, despite their variety. To be honest, I don’t know that I could taste the Pepsi, let alone the jalapeño, in the meat, but they certainly didn’t distract from the salsa verde and lime. I also served this with some sweet corn which helped emphasize the corn flavor of the chips.

Even though the meal still tasted good on the second day, this is not a dish I’d prepare in its entirety on one day if you expect leftovers. The recipe does indeed serve four, so if you are making it for two people and want to make the full recipe, I’d still grill all the beef at once, just to reduce the hassle of dealing with a grill (even the George Foreman like we used). Then I would make only half of the Frito-concoction each day you eat the steak. My primary concern with the Fritos before I even started cooking was that they would get too soggy before it was time to eat. They did get soggy the first night, but there was still enough crispness to them that they were enjoyable. After spending almost a full day in the fridge, though, they were not very appetizing the second night. Considering how easy it is to make the Frito-mix, you might even just do it in the microwave each night, heating up the salsa in a bowl, then stirring in the Fritos and cilantro right before serving.


Here are some quick bullets of what I did differently than what the recipe says:

  • I used less salsa verde than the original recipe, just because Trader Joe’s salsa verde comes in a 12 oz jar instead of 16 oz. The Fritos picked up the full salsa flavor, but still got really soggy (Have I mentioned that yet? I’m saying it again just in case you missed it before), so I don’t think I missed anything by using only 12 oz of salsa.
  • I used goat cheese, as I thought that might be an acceptable substitute for the Cotija cheese called for. It was great. I think the extra saltiness of Feta might have been overpowering, so I’m glad I didn’t use that.
  • If I could have found a cane sugar-based Coca-Cola product, I probably would have used that, as I prefer Coke to Pepsi. However, Pepsi Throwback was readily available, so I used that. Maybe you have your own preferred cane sugar, small-batch artisanal cola, you’ll probably want to use that. Although since you pretty much just let the meat sit for 15 minutes in the bath of cola, you may want to just use the cheaper Pepsi and save the artisanal stuff for actual drinking.
  • I served the Fritos on top of the meat, instead of the meat on top, because I couldn’t read the instructions. The only thing affected was presentation. But considering how it looks after people start scooping out meat and chips, it doesn’t matter much that it’s not very picturesque to start with.


Cola Marinated Flank Steak with Fritos

  • 4 cups/2.5 cans of Pepsi Throwback (or your choice of cola)
  • 2 teaspoons jarred Thai green curry paste
  • 2 jalapeños, thinly sliced crosswise
  • One 1 1/2 pound flank steak, quartered
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil, plus more for brushing
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 Hass avocados, diced
  • 3 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese
  • Lime wedges for serving
  • In a 9-by-13-inch glass pan, whisk the Pepsi with the green curry paste and sliced jalapeños. Add the steaks and turn to coat. Let stand for 15 minutes at room temperature. Turn occasionally.
  • Turn on your countertop grill or outdoor grill and set to 350°F.
  • Remove the flank steaks to some paper towels and pat dry.
  • Brush the steaks with canola oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • Grill until the steaks are medium-rare, about 8 minutes. Transfer the steaks to a cutting board, cover loosely with foil, and let them sit for 10 minutes.
  • While the meat sits, in a large skillet, bring the salsa verde to a simmer. Cook until reduced, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the Fritos until the chips are soft with some crunchy bits, about 2 minutes. Stir in 1/8 cup of the cilantro. Set the skillet aside.
  • Thinly slice the steaks across the grain and transfer to a serving dish. Top with the chips. Scatter the avocados, goat cheese, and remaining cilantro on top. Serve with lime wedges.

Adapted from Food & Wine

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