Grilled ginger rum marinated steak with grilled rum pineapple and island yams

samba pa ti

steak Cooking in places where beef is not a big part of the local diet means you can run into some pretty tough cuts. I’ve found this recipe to be about the best method of tenderizing while “flavorizing” meats, especially steak.    




The meat soaks up the sweet boozy goodness of the rum and then that same goodness caramelizes when it cooks producing a whole new level of flavors.

Just like in the story, this dish will impress your favorite meat-and-potatoes lover and give them a more exotic Polynesian experience.


ingredients 4

Grilled Ginger Rum Marinated Steak

1/2 cup pineapple juice

1/3 cup rum 

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 small green onions (finely chopped)

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon ginger (grated)

2 cloves garlic (minced)

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (crushed)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Grilled Pineapple with Rum

1 pineapple, ripe

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

12 cup brown sugar

12 cup dark rum

Island Yams

2 1/2 pounds yams, peeled and cubed

1 cup pineapple and orange juice blend

2 tablespoons softened butter

1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar

1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts

Hamilton Beach

Grilled Ginger Rum Marinated Steak

Place steak and all remaining ingredients into a large ziplock bag. Refrigerate for 6-8 hours, turning the bag occasionally.  

By that time the steak is nice and Ona (drunk) we are ready to heat the grill to high

Remove the steak and toss the marinade

Grill the steak for about 4-5 minutes per side for medium-rare then allow at least five minutes for it to rest before slicing. This allows the juices to reabsorb into the meat and retains the flavors you are after.


Grilled Pineapple

Place the wedges into a freezer bag with the brown sugar, seal the bag and massage brown sugar onto the wedges.

Allow the pineapple to soak in the brown sugar for anywhere from two hours to two days; refrigerate if soaking more than a few hours. The pineapple should release enough juice to dissolve the brown sugar completely.

Heat the grill to medium heat.

Add the vanilla and rum to the bag, seal and shake.

Remove the pineapple from the bag and place it on the grill.

When the pineapple becomes caramel-colored on the bottom side, rotate it. Repeat for each of the 3 sides of each wedge, then remove from the grill.

Pour the juice from the bag into a saucepan and reduce over medium heat to a thick syrup. Drizzle the syrup over the pineapple when serving

Or you can reserve the extra syrup to use as a topping for a scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream for a great dessert/nightcap. 

Island Yams

Place yams into a large pot and cover with salted water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and allow to steam dry for a minute or two.



samba pa ti title

Without a doubt, it was her wild flame-red hair that first attracted me to this beautiful mature tourist wandering the open market with wide-eyed wonderment. She was so enthralled with the array of vegetables, fruit, fish, and flowers that she walked straight into me. With the top of her head still planted squarely in my chest, she froze, too embarrassed to move. As I looked down I saw huge green eyes looking up apologetically from under that hair. “ I guess all my training as a roadblock actually worked! “ came tumbling out of my mouth and was met with a relieved smile. “You know, there are easier ways to meet the locals, but few are as fun or imaginative.”  By then she was laughing through apologies and explanations that amounted to a brief history of how she came to be here. The short version sounded very familiar. She said it was time for a big change from Iowa, time for an adventure. Traveling alone added to that and where better to travel the Paradise?. It all sounded familiar and my offer to serve as a guide and fellow soul traveler was thankfully accepted. Since she had already found the market so it seemed like a good starting point.

The place she was staying in had a small kitchen and she had come to find something to make for her first meal on the island. She had zero clues about what to try. I figured helping her set up her dinner could be fun and asked what she had in mind. She produced a small butcher paper bundle and unwrapping it said  Being from Iowa, I figured beef would be an easy start.” Flank steak was about the best she was going to find here. Beef is not exactly a staple of island food and flank steak is on the tough end of the scale. The challenge was now to serve her steak as exciting as she was. Plus score some great Karma points coming to the aide a fellow explorer.  

It dawned on me that we had been shopping and talking for a while now and didn’t even know each other’s names. “By the way, friends call me R.B. And you are…?” “Ginger” was her reply. I thought she was joking because of her hair but she followed it with “Ginger Catherine-Mary O’Connor, late of Des Moines, at your service” I swear her eyes actually seriously twinkled as I slid a ginger flower behind her ear and said “Well, Ginger Catherine-Mary O’Connor, late of Des Moines you have given me all the lead I needed. I’m betting Ginger steak would be exactly what you’ve been wanting… at least for dinner. And since I am cooking I ask that you be my guest. “ Her giggle was beyond flirty. We joked and played our way through gathering our necessary ingredients and finally met up with my friend Teuila who owns a clothing shop. I turned over guiding Ginger Catherine-Mary O’Connor, late of Des Moines, to my friend and bee-lined it back to my apartment to begin the marinade. The rum, ginger and soy mixture breaks down the toughness of meats and sticks flavor in its place. I decided to play it all out with the Iowa angle and added sides like yams ( get it…meat and potatoes?) and a sharp Asian cabbage salad to counterpoint the sweetness of the rum and brown sugar and lure her tastes into Paradise. I could almost see those green eyes twinkling. It was somehow of growing importance to make that connection. 

Long ago a wise man taught me to see and honor the good in life. Ginger Catherine-Mary O’Connor, late of Des Moines, was a good person on a good journey and helping to send her off properly was my way of honoring that. Helping her journey into Paradise played directly to my soul and spending the evening with a beautiful woman was a sweet reward. In the vernacular of the day, this was a Launch Party. That wise man had also taught me to recognize signs, I was just finished with setting the table when a breeze playfully entered the room and danced around me. It carried the scent of my favorite flower, ginger, and softly, gently the breeze turned my head until I faced the doorway.

There stood Ginger Catherine-Mary O’Connor, late of Trulia’s shop dressed in what can best be described as HOLYCRAPTHATIS BEEEEAUTIFUL. She was transformed and her new self-confident vibe was electric. You know when you take a chance on a new persona and it clicks? She Clicked! It was time to cast my fate to the wind again. I stepped across the room, took her hand and danced her through the living room. The “Cocktail Hour” and dinner were a blur of long laughs, lingering tastes, and talking story. The “Meat and Potatoes” joke went over well and I could tell the switch-over to Island thinking was proceeding nicely by the way she smiled as she gazed lovingly at the water lapping the beach just off the lanai.

Somewhere in the mix of eating and drinking and laughing we were once more dancing. It felt right holding her in my arms and feeling her body rub against mine as she swayed to the music. To my ears, Carlos Santana was playing “Samba Pa Ti” exclusively for us. It always was as still is the ultimate love-making music and as it played my hand drifted down her back. It was encouraged by her fingers brushing my neck and weaving through my hair as if she was pulling me into her. We moved through the house towards the bedroom. As the tempo of the music and our movements heightened, and with my typical grace, the back of my leg hit the edge of something resulting in me sprawled unceremoniously on my back across the bed. Any hurdle left to being at ease with each other fell away instantly. With a laugh that came from her toes she leaped on top of me. The tastes of dinner and rum were now replaced with tastes of her soft, warm, pale skin. My tongue wrapped around her nipple as she pushed her breasts against my face. Her mouth roamed my body kissing, engulfing, caressing as my hands sent waves of pleasure through her.

The morning was a blend of a long lingering afterglow and the vision of her laying there bathed in soft pinkish light. With a soft good morning kiss, I went to make breakfast. She emerged from her shower ready for the day dressed in a pair of my shorts and an old Bob Marley t-shirt I forgot I even had. We sat sipping our coffee and watching the Sun bring us a new day.  She mustered all of the appropriate authority and announced “ It’s my turn to host tonight. May I suggest more of the same,?” Then she leaned close and half-whispered    Except we might think of skipping dinner….” 



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