Pan-Grilled Pinwheel Steaks

  • A steak ready to be rolled and tied. A steak ready to be rolled and tied.
  • A pinwheel steak stuffed with parsley and Parmesan, ready to be cooked. A pinwheel steak stuffed with parsley and Parmesan, ready to be cooked.

Pan-Grilled Pinwheel Steaks

This recipe uses a less expensive but flavorful cut of beef to form single-serving pinwheels stuffed with Parmesan and parsley, and a boost of flavor from garlic, rosemary and lemon.  A skirt steak is ideal to use because it is already thin and long enough to roll like a jellyroll.  But you can also use a flank steak if you have the tools and patience to pound it long and 1/2-inch thick.

Each roll creates three one-inch pinwheels.  To create more servings you can double this recipe and cook six pieces at the same time. Resist cutting the rolls thinner because the pinwheels will fall apart.

If you're lucky enough to have an outdoor grill, by all means fire it up.  But these pinwheel steaks cook beautifully on a stove-top grill or in a cast iron frying pan.  Just remember to preheat the pan.



  1. You'll need three pieces cotton butcher's twine, each about 12-inches long.
  2. Place a grill or cast iron pan (not a no-stick) on medium-high heat for about 8 minutes before you'll be ready to cook. You want to get it blazing hot.
  3. Unroll the skirt steak on a large, clean work surface and if necessary, pound it using a mallet or a heavy metal one-cup measuring cup, to make the meat an even thickness, about 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick. Drizzle meat with about 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil, just enough to gloss the meat, and season both sides with salt and pepper.
  4. Working as if you were placing ingredients on a pizza, begin by scattering the lemon zest along the length of the steak. Then cut the zested lemon into 3 or 4 thick slices and hold aside.
  5. Sprinkle the rosemary along the length of the steak. Using a Microplane or fine grater, grate the garlic into a paste and spread it along the steak on top of the rosemary and lemon zest. Use your fingers to have the seasonings equally distributed along the steak.
  6. Scatter a layer of parsley over the top and follow with the shaved Parmesan.
  7. Starting at one end and rolling carefully and tightly, roll the steak into a large pinwheels. Tie the roll in the center to secure it and then add two more pieces of string on either side of the center string, about 1 inch in from the edges. Cut each steak evenly, spacing your knife between the strings to create 3 pinwheels each secured with a string and each piece being about 1 1/2 inches thick and 5 inches in diameter.
  8. Brush the hot grill or cast iron pan with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil, reduce the heat to medium, and place each pinwheel slice flat side down, leaving the slice in place to cook for about 8 minutes in total, turning the slice halfway through the cooking, until you reach your desired doneness. Resist overcooking the slice because skirt steak is more tender and flavorful when it is not cooked well done. Aim for medium rare or medium.
  9. When the pinwheels are almost finished cooking, add the reserved pieces of lemon to the pan cut-side down to caramelize.
  10. Transfer the cooked pinwheels to a serving plate and let rest for five minutes. Serve with the grilled lemon slices.




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