Understanding What Flank Steak Is

what is flank steak

 

If you’re unsure what flank steak is or how to cook it, this blog post will get you properly introduced and started on your flank steak love affair. It’s not as expensive as other cuts of steak, which makes it a popular choice for all budgets and tastes. 

Before you place your first flank steak order, something to be aware of is that you can find flank steak hiding under a number of pseudonyms, including London Broil, jiffy steak, and plank steak. 

What Part of the Steer is Flank Steak?

Flank steak comes from the lower chest and abdominal muscles of a steer. These cuts are sometimes called “bavette” and are generally on the lean side.

This cut of beef is famous for its robust flavor, deep red color, and abundance of striations — making it perfect for marinades and soaking up rubs.  

What is Flank Steak Used For?

Because flank steak is so versatile, it can be used in a wide variety of dishes. 

If you prefer Mexican food, your flank steak will feel right at home in a batch of fajitas. Or if Asian cuisine is on the menu, this cut of beef goes great as stir fry or beef bulgogi. 

In short, any recipe that calls for steak strips or other thinly sliced beef can have flank steak subbed in for a delicious dinner. This steak is also great for beginner chefs or folks who don’t fancy a lot of time in the kitchen, as flank cuts are quick to prepare, easy to cook, and satisfying to eat. 

How to Cook Flank Steak

One of the most popular methods of cooking flank steak is on the grill. When done right, this produces a rich, seared exterior, with a subtle charcoal flavor throughout. 

To avoid ending up with dry flank steak, it’s best to marinate your steak for at least two hours before grilling. For a fresh steak flavor, try marinating your flank steak in an acidic fruit juice (such as orange juice) or wine.

When it comes to the actual grilling process, heat your gas or charcoal grill on a high heat and sear the outside of your flank steak for a minute on each side. Once your flank steak has been seared, reduce the heat of your grill to medium and continue grilling the flank steak for about ten minutes. At about the halfway point (five minutes) you should flip your flank steak and continue grilling.

Don’t cook it past medium-rare, or you risk the saddle leather. Instead, once it’s medium-rare, pull it off the grill and let it sit for 8-10 minutes before cutting. 

Tips for Making the Most Tender Flank Steak 

Here are some pointers to help get your flank steak as tender as possible.

  1. Tenderize your flank steak: you can do this using a meat mallet. Use the rough side of the meat mallet and gently hammer the meat (don’t overdo it with the hammering as this could result in a meat mush rather than a tenderized steak). 
  2. Marinate your flank steak: another tip for cooking flank steak is to marinate it for between two and 24 hours. For maximum effectiveness, poke little holes in your flank steak using a toothpick.
  3. Don’t overcook your flank steak: the quickest way to end up with dry flank steak is by overcooking it. Flank steak generally is the tastiest when it is between rare or medium (at most). 
  4. When cutting flank steak, an important tip is to cut it against the grain on a bias to make it tender.

How to Season Your Flank Steak

As mentioned above, marinating your flank steak is one of the best options for seasoning as it infuses the meat with a flavor very quickly being a muscle with so much grain.

But, if you don’t have time to marinate, a couple of dashes of salt and pepper or a steak seasoning will more than suffice. Apply the seasoning before laying your meat on the grill and you’re ready to go!

Flank Steak vs. Skirt Steak: What’s the Difference?

While these two cuts of steak do come from a similar part of the steer, flank and skirt steak are different in flavor and texture.

The primary difference between the two cuts of steak is that skirt steak generally has a little more fat than flank steak. Some believe that this gives skirt steak a richer flavor profile while others who prefer less fat think the flavors between the two steaks are nearly identical. But at the end of it all, if trimmed properly, both steaks would have very little fat.

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