Beef negimaki is a popular Japanese-American dish, created by the Manhattan restaurant Nippon in 1963. When New York Times food critic Craig Claiborner suggested that the restaurant add a beef dish to cater to the American palate, owner Nobuyoshi Kuaoka created negimaki.
“Negi” means onion and “maki” means roll in Japanese. Raw fish was too exotic for most Americans in the 1960s, but broiled beef slathered with sweet, salty teriyaki sauce became a winning combination for years to come.
The typical cut of beef used for negimaki is flank steak, and the most comparable cut of venison is the bottom round. The bottom round is rectangular, relatively uniform in shape and flat, which makes it much easier to slice into equal-size pieces. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a piece of bottom round in my freezer so I used an oddly shaped piece of top round. It still worked, but assembling the rolls became a bit of a puzzle. It’s OK if you have to use more toothpicks to keep your rolls together, no one will know if you take them out before serving.
- 2 lbs. venison round, partially thawed/frozen
- 1 cup teriyaki sauce
- 3 tbsp. sugar
- 20 scallions
- High-heat cooking oil
- Sesame seeds for garnish
- Cooked white rice
Also works with
- Combine teriyaki sauce and sugar in a small saucepan and gently boil until it reduces by half into a syrup consistency, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Cut scallions in half, separating the green tops and white/light green bottoms.
- Venison should be partially frozen to make slicing easier. Cut roast into approximately 3/8" thick, 4" by 2" long strips. Try to get the slices as uniform in shape and size as possible, but it’s not the end of the world if that doesn’t happen. (I ended up with about 30 slices.)
- Pound each piece of venison between two pieces of plastic wrap until they are about 3/16" thick.
- Lay 3 to 4 slices of venison side by side, slightly overlapping, to form a square-ish shape. If needed, I used odd-shaped pieces of meat to “patch” up areas. Lay two pieces of white/light green scallion bottoms, with the white ends sticking out, across the venison. Then add 2 to 3 pieces of green tops. Tightly roll the venison around the scallion and secure with 3 toothpicks. Repeat with remaining meat and scallion. I ended up with 9 rolls, but that could vary. Chill raw negimaki while you prepare the grill. Rolls may be assembled a day ahead.
- Prepare grill for direct, high-heat cooking. Lightly brush oil all over the negimaki before cooking. When grill grates become scorching hot, brush them with oil as well. Lay rolls on the hot grill and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the first side starts to char. Then turn the rolls over and brush the charred side with teriyaki glaze. Grill until the second side starts to char, then turn over and glaze again before you take the negimaki off the grill.
- Allow rolls to rest for a couple minutes before removing toothpicks and slicing into smaller, bite-size pieces. Drizzle leftover teriyaki glaze on top and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve with hot white rice.