Tropical Spiced Grilled Steak and Papaya

grilled steak with papaya

Nothing says summer like a sizzling grilled steak. Top it with a simple papaya relish and you’ve got a summertime meal almost as good as a tropical vacation.

Tropical Spiced Grilled Steak and Papaya 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 2Published

Papaya not only flavors the meat in this recipe, it actually contains an enzyme that acts as a tenderizer. Give it a try.

grilled steak with papaya


  • 1 medium papaya (peeled, seeded and cut into ½‑inch chunks, divided)
  • 1 orange (zest and juice only)
  • 1 lime (zest and juice only)
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 clove garlic (peeled and chopped)
  • 2 tablespoon packed fresh oregano leaves
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (plus more for seasoning steaks)
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper (plus more for seasoning steaks)
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • water (as needed)
  • ½ red bell pepper (seeded and cut into ½‑inch chunks)
  • ½ sweet onion (such as Maui, peeled and cut into ½‑inch chunks)
  • 1–2 (1 ½‑inch thick) steaks (about 12–15 ounces total for 2 people)
  • lime wedges (to taste)


Make the marinade: In a blender, combine half the papaya chunks, orange juice and zest, lime juice and zest, olive oil, garlic, oregano, cumin, salt, black pepper and cayenne if using. Blend until mostly smooth, but flecked with oregano. Adjust consitency with water. It should fall freely from a spoon. Set aside. 

In a large bowl, combine remaining papaya, bell pepper, sweet onion. Drizzle in 2–3 tablespoons of the marinade; toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate the relish until serving time. Can be made up to 6 hours in advance.

Place the steak(s) in a ziplock bag. Pour the remaining marinade into the bag, seal and let it sit, uncovered, at room temperature for about an hour. Or you can refrigerate the steak in the marinade for several hours or even overnight.

When ready to cook, preheat the grill. Brush off any excess marinade from the steak(s), season to taste with salt and pepper and grill, turning once, until done to taste, about 3–5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Cut into thin slices, across the grain. Serve with papaya relish and lime wedges.