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Flank steak refers to one of the most popular cuts of beef from a cow’s belly muscle. Not to be confused with skirt steak, which comes from the plate. Technically, the flank steak is not a steak at all bearing in mind that it’s obtained from the cow’s belly. The flavorful meat is very lean, considering it does not contain any fat. Even though this popular beef cut is tough, it can be tender and mouthwatering if well prepared. Flank steak is best enjoyed when grilled over high heat or when slowly braised.
The flank steak is one of the toughest cuts of meat you will ever grill but similar to skirt steak it’s full of flavor. The thin-cut requires care and proper technique to obtain the right flavor by the end of the grilling process. If you have never tasted a flank steak or you are completely unfamiliar with it, this guide is specially crafted for you.
What is flank steak?
Flank steak comes from a cow’s lower abdominal muscle and is inexpensive to obtain, similar to the skirt steak which is adjacent to it. The cut is flavorful, and a versatile beef cut worth trying out. This piece is about a foot long and an inch thick. Professional grillers recommend the flank steak to be cooked whole and not in pieces for best results. The steak goes by different names in different regions around the globe. For example, in French, the flank steak is referred to as the jiffy steak bavette or the London broil.
There are two options when cooking a flank steak. You either cook it long and slow through braising or cook it hot and fast. Whichever means you choose to use, make sure you break down the connective tissues through heat and moisture or by cutting it into thin slices.
Techniques/ Tips to improve
For best results with these steaks, once you decide to cook them, make sure you consider where you buy the steaks from, how to store them, and use the best recipe.
Where to buy flank steak
You can buy flank steak in a grocery store that has a well-stocked meat section. Identifying a flank steak in a grocery store can be a daunting task, and this is why we urge you to consult a salesperson. This is essential considering most grocery stores do not label sections of their meat cuts. Apart from the grocery store, you can also buy a flank steak at a butcher’s counter. As it is not always available at all butchers, call in advance to check.
Note than flank steak is measured in pounds; a single steak could weigh between one to four pounds depending on how thin or fat it is. When buying a flank steak, look for one that is uniform in thickness to avoid overcooked ends. If you are a grilling enthusiast, you can buy flank steak in bulk as long as it’s properly stored.
Flank steak recipe ideas
The flank steak, like the skirt steak, has proved best for stir-fries, rice and grain bowls, or tacos. If you would love to prepare a simple meal, simply marinate or grill it alongside seasonal vegetables. With these simple recipes, you get to enjoy a simple and nutritious meal.
Flank steak storage
Make sure you store any uncooked flank steak in a refrigerator at around 35°F. For best results, make sure it is well wrapped in butcher paper. Some supermarket packages are also effective if they are airtight or labeled “modified atmosphere packaging”.
Cooked flank steak can only be kept in the fridge for four days. For increased shelf life, you can freeze it while in the original packaging. Make sure you carry out vacuum-sealing first before freezing if you want the meat to last for up to 12 months.
Correcting Common Problems
Common problems associated with flank steak and skirt steak arise as people don’t understand what other terms are used to describe them when buying.
Flank steak’s other names
The most common name for flank steak is ‘London Broil’. Don’t get confused when you see the name in the grocery store or on a menu in a restaurant. However, there have been complaints that some stores equate top round for London Broils, making it vital to understand what it looks like to avoid buying the wrong cut. If you are in doubt, ask the person at the counter to help you choose a flank steak.
Other common names you can come across if you travel to other parts of the globe include Jiffy Steak and Flank Steak Fillet. If you happen to find yourself in France, look for Bavette.
The flank steak is called Arrachera in Spanish.
Analysis of Best Practices in the Industry
Below is a guide on how to best cook a flank steak
How to cook flank steak
When cooking flank steak, you do not need a lot of trimming like in the case of brisket as it has the fat content is low. For most recipes, the cut is seasoned using your favorite meat rub or salt and pepper. To achieve the best flavor, we urge individuals to tenderize. Tenderizing should not be a major issue considering you can do it by hand using a meat tenderizing mallet. If you are not good with the mallet, an acidic marinade can also be used. However, if the flank steak cut is extremely tough, cooking low and slow breaks the dense connective tissues. This cut is ideal for stir-fries and fajitas. Once cooked, let the meat rest for five minutes before serving. For best texture, cut into thin slices at a 45-degree angle.
What should flank steak taste like?
As the flank steak is pure lean meat, similar to a skirt steak, it lacks the fatty feel offered by most beef cuts. However, it does offer a rich and assertive beefy flavor irrespective of how you cook it. Since this beef cut benefits greatly from marinating before being grilled, there is a high chance you may taste some citrus or some fruit juice, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, or other ingredients depending on what you used to tenderize it before cooking.
Tools You Can Use
To achieve the best flavor when cooking flank steak, you need to make sure you have the right tools at hand. There are many tools you should have, but here are the basic ones commonly used.
- Long-handled tongs
- Long-handled basting brush
- Grill mitts
- Fire extinguisher
- Instant read thermometer
Frequently Asked Questions
What is flank steak called at the grocery store?
Flank steak is called ‘London Broil’ at local stores.
What cut is flank steak?
Beef cut from a cow’s belly muscle is what is commonly referred to as Flank Steak.
Is round steak the same as flank steak?
No. Round steak is different from Flank Steak.
Can you substitute top sirloin for flank steak?
Yes, although you will not attain the same flavor.
Flank steaks are among the best cuts you can grill over the weekend with friends when catching up. If you have never tried flank steak before, you need to give it a try for a mouthwatering meal. If you are used to briskets, we highly recommend you try these lesser cuts today. One thing you can be sure of is you will like them if you cook them correctly. Make sure you tenderize it before cooking for the best results as this type of meat tends to be extremely tough.
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