Grilled Beef Satay

Primal AviarySatay is often served as an appetizer, but it makes a fantastic main course when served with a rich, creamy satay sauce and crisp raw veggies on the side.

In this Primal version of beef satay, sugar is skipped entirely in both the marinade and the satay sauce. It isn’t missed, with coconut milk and macadamia nuts adding plenty of natural sweetness. The meat gets its intense flavor from soaking just 1 hour in a richly seasoned marinade that is sweet, salty and deliciously pungent. The mellow macadamia satay sauce served on the side balances the bold flavors of the meat, although giving the sauce a good, spicy kick is essential—without it, the sauce isn’t nearly as good.

Macadamia satay sauce is amazing with any type of grilled meat and should not be overlooked as a dip for cold, chopped veggies. Plan to serve sliced cucumber, carrots and/or red bell peppers with Primal beef satay for a colorful, flavorful main course or appetizer.

Time in the Kitchen: 45 minutes, plus 1 hour to marinate

Servings: 4

Beef Satay



  • 2 pounds beef top sirloin or flank steak, cut into strips about 2 inches/5 cm long and 1/8 to ¼ inch thick* (900 g)
  • 1 2-inch/5 cm piece fresh lemongrass (white part only), roughly chopped
  • 1 small shallot, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 2-inch/5 cm piece peeled ginger, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (15 ml)
  • 2 teaspoons tamari or soy sauce (10 ml)
  • ½ cup coconut milk (120 ml)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin (5 ml)
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander (10 ml)

*Meat is easier to slice thinly if it’s really cold. Put the beef in the freezer for 30 to 45 minutes before slicing it.

In a high-powered blender, combine the lemongrass, shallot, garlic, ginger, fish sauce, soy sauce/tamari, coconut milk, cumin, and coriander.

Combine the beef strips and marinade so the meat is completely coated. Refrigerate and marinate 1 hour. Don’t marinate too much longer than this, or the meat can get mushy.

Remove beef from the marinade and shake off excess marinade. Thread 2 to 3 pieces of meat onto each skewer, spacing the meat out on the skewer. If the skewer is too crowded, the edges of the meat won’t get crispy and charred.

On a heated grill over high heat, grill the skewers 3 minutes per side, or until slightly charred on the outside and barely pink in the middle.

Macadamia Satay Sauce

Macadamia Sauce


  • 1 cup raw macadamia nuts (or ½ cup raw macadamia butter)
    (5 ounces nuts, or 142 g)
  • 2 small garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon tamari or soy sauce (5 ml)
  • ¼ teaspoon toasted sesame oil (1.2 ml)
  • ½ teaspoon fish sauce (2.5 ml)
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice (30 ml)
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (1.2 ml)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk (30 ml)
  • 2 tablespoon water (to thin out the sauce) (30 ml)

In a food processor or blender, blend the macadamia nuts until very smooth.

In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients: garlic, tamari, sesame oil, fish sauce, lime juice cayenne, coconut milk and water. Pour into the blender with the macadamia nuts. Blend just until combined.

Serve the beef satay skewers with the macadamia sauce and crisp, raw vegetables like cucumbers, carrots and red bell peppers.

Primal Aviary

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