There’s nothing like cooking up a succulent barbeque in your backyard on a summer night. If you’re planning to host one, there are some preparations you’ll have to make beforehand to ensure a delicious spread.
One of the most important aspects of hosting a barbeque or any other dinner party is choosing the proper cut of meat. Apart from the popular meat cuts like brisket, prime rib, and sirloin, you can choose other flavorful yet affordable options as well.
Flank steak is a lean piece of meat that comes from a cow’s abdomen. Its tough muscle grains give it an intensely beefy flavor that goes well with any recipe you cook.
If you’ve never cooked with or had flank steak before, here’s a detailed answer to what is flank steak so you can get all the information you need.
Click to jump straight to each topic
What is Flank Steak?
Flank steak is a lean cut of meat from the lower abdominal muscles of a cow. Other names from the flank steak are jiffy steak, London Broil, or flap steak.
The signature identification of a flank steak is its thick, criss-cross muscle grain and minimum fat content. You see, the primary job of this muscle in a cow’s body is to help it twist, turn, and walk. That’s why the cut has next to no fat and is very tough and lean.
Needless to say, if you don’t cook it correctly, it can turn into a chewy, rubbery piece of meat. However, it is an inexpensive and versatile cut of meat that fits any recipe and cuisine. You just need to know the right way to prep and serve it.
The entire flank area weighs around a pound and is an inch thick. This means it takes less than 2 minutes to cook each side to ensure its natural flavor and juiciness.
Now that you know what a flank steak is let’s discuss other necessary features of the meat cut to help you out.
Flank Steak Flavor
Flank steak is the beefiest and leanest meat cut off a cow. If you’re a fan of the fatty, silky flavor of marbled steak cuts, flank steak might not appeal to your taste buds.
On the contrary, the flank steak is the ideal cut for those who love the intense, gamey beef flavor. The best part is, while fatty steaks barely need any seasoning, flank steak’s intense flavor compliments all kinds of marinades.
Whether you’re cooking a typical Texas-style barbecue or going for tangy Korean-style grilled meat, flank steak has the flavor to suit all recipes.
While marinading a flank steak, make sure you load it win enzyme-rich ingredients. These include soy sauce, citrus, wine, or Worcestershire sauce. This helps tenderize the tough meat cut and enhances its flavor as well.
Buying a Flank Steak
If you think the flavor of a flank steak might become your next favorite and you want to try it out, you’re probably ready to go shopping.
As mentioned, a flank steak will have a dark red color attributing to the steak’s lack of fat and marbling. That’s what you should look for while selecting a fresh piece of flank steak.
If the steak shows some brown discoloration or dark spots, it has been sitting out in the air for too long. We’d suggest skipping such flank steaks as they’re tougher to cook and harder to tenderize.
Similarly, try to go for a steak with uniform thickness. A flank steak is already a challenging piece of meat to cook. That’s why an uneven steak will give you an undercooked middle and black edges.
Usually, a rib-eye steak or NY strip will have shorter grains. On the other hand, a flank steak will sport long and tough muscle strands. Although this makes it difficult to cook, it is the secret to its intense beefy flavor.
In some cases, you might see some pieces of fat on a flank steak. You can easily ask your butcher to trim it and get that lean cut you’re looking for.
If you have seen a flank steak counter at the meat section at your local supermarket, you can easily purchase the cut from there priced at per pound.
If you usually get your steaks from your local butcher, you should confirm whether they have flank steaks beforehand. That’s because the flank is not a commonly purchased piece of meat.
As it is an affordable meat option, you can even buy the steaks in bulk and store them in your freezer to incorporate them into your family dinners throughout the week.
And that’s everything you need to know about what is a flank steak, and how to purchase the right piece for yourself. You can cook a flank steak using multiple techniques such as grilling, braising, oven baking, and even slow cooking on a pellet smoker.
Just grab the best flank steak from your local market and whip up some fajitas for lunch or some juicy steak bites for dinner.