Flank steak might not be as popular as some other cuts, such as filet mignon, sirloin or rump steak, but it is a cut of meat that you should include in your cooking!
The one problem with finding flank steak is that it can also be sold under different names, which can be confusing. Knowing the difference will make sure you can find flank steak wherever you shop!
What are the other names for flank steak, and what is it? Flank steak is a boneless and skinless cut of meat from the rear quarter of the cow. It is also commonly known as London Broil, and lesser known names for it include jiffy steak, flank steak filet, and Bavette steak.
Read on to find out more about flank steak, what it is exactly, why you should try it out, the best cooking methods, and more!
What Is Flank Steak?
As the name might suggest, flank steak comes from the flank of a cow, just below the loin and sirloin.
The flank sits near the bottom of the abdominal area of the cow, and helps the cow to walk and move.
The area around a flank steak is surrounded by quite a bit of fat, but the flank steak itself is lean.
The size of a flank steak does vary, but usually it is just under 1-inch thick on one end and tapers down to ½-inch on the other end.
Flank steak is a very versatile cut of meat, and when cooked it can have a great flavor and beautifully tender texture.
As it is a thin cut of meat, it can be cooked quickly and used in many different cooking methods.
What Else Can Flank Steak Be Called?
Flank steak can be called a few different things, but the two most popular names are flank steak and London Broil.
However, London Broil can also refer to top round, so knowing what a flank steak looks like will also help you pick out the right cut of meat.
If you are battling to find flank steak at your local store or butchery, ask for London Broil, flank steak filet, jiffy steak, or (if you are in a European butchery) Bavette steak.
If you are unsure, ask your butcher for the flank steak, and they would be able to point you in the right direction!
Why Choose Flank Steak?
There are so many ways you can cook flank steak! Even though it is a lean cut of meat, some tenderizing can help it be soft and tender, and you get to enjoy the rich beefy flavor that the cut of meat naturally has.
Found in the lower abdominal muscles of the cow (you know — at the flank), this is definitely a cut of meat you should try if you have never cooked with flank steak before!
Read on for some cooking tips and the best way to tenderize, prepare, and cook flank steak.
What Are The Taste And Texture Of Flank Steak?
The taste and the texture of flank steak is why it is such a popular cut among those who know how to prepare and cook it.
Flank steak can be a little bit tough, as it is lean, but if cooked properly, it can be tender, buttery, and soft.
It is usually sliced thin and cut against the grain to ensure it is tender when it is eaten.
The taste of flank steak is quite rich, with a pronounced beefy flavor that makes it great to eat on its own, but it also pairs well with different marinades and flavors.
The beefy flavor you get from flank steak is not overwhelming, but it is unlike any other cut of meat. If you love rich-tasting beef, this is definitely a cut you want to try!
Is Flank Steak Tender?
Flank steak is known for its tenderness, but this is often due to the way that it is prepared or cooked.
This is actually a lean cut of meat, and it doesn’t have a high fat content like other cuts of meat do. However, tenderizing the steak either manually or through marinading makes a huge difference!
Manually tenderizing flank steak requires you to use a meat tenderizer.
The best way to do this is to place the steak in a plastic food bag, remove all air from the bag and seal it tight. Place this on a chopping board and then use the tenderizer to pound the steak, doing it evenly all over.
Be sure to not pound too hard — you want it just enough so that it is tender when cooked, you don’t want to actually break the meat up!
Another way to tenderize flank steak is to marinade it. This does take longer and is best done overnight, but it also infuses a lot of flavor into the meat as well!
The best marinade for flank steak should include an acid to break down the meat and make it tender (such as lemon juice, vinegar, or soy sauce), paired with salt, oil, brown sugar, and some of your favorite spices. You can even use BBQ sauce!
Simply mix the marinade together, then place it in a food storage bag along with the steak. Make sure to rub the marinade in before removing all the air and sealing it tight.
This is best done overnight, but it can also make a difference if done just a few hours before cooking!
Is Flank Steak Expensive?
Luckily, flank steak is not actually an expensive cut of meat! Compared to other popular cuts, it is actually one of the least expensive options.
The reason for this is that it is quite a lean steak. When people are grilling steak, they usually want a cut with more marbling and fat. It is also quite easy to overcook flank steak, but done right, it can be just as tender and delicious!
Flank steak is usually more expensive than skirt steaks, but it is not considered to be one of the more expensive cuts, so you can really get the most out of the meat!
How Is Flank Steak Best Served?
Just as flank steak can be served in so many different ways, it can also be cooked using so many different methods!
Whether you want to fire up the grill and give it a char, or slow cook it to make beef in gravy or beef tacos, there are many options. Flank steak is also popularly used by restaurants to make fajitas!
As it has quite a rich flavor, beef flank pairs well with many vegetables and ingredients, whether you serve it in a stir fry or with some noodles, it will be delicious either way.
Another reason to include flank steak into your cooking at home is because it is fairly healthy too. It is lower in fat and high in protein, and can be cooked in a variety of healthy ways too.
How To Prepare Flank Steak
The beauty of flank steak is that it can be cooked in so many different ways.
Out of all the cuts of steak, it is definitely one of the most versatile!
Whether you marinade flank steak, grill it, slice it up for fajitas, or broil it, it will turn out great and tender.
All you have to do is pay attention to the cooking time and not overcook the cut!
Here are some of the most popular ways to prepare and cook flank steak:
We do recommend marinating your flank steak before cooking, as it is a sure way to get tender, flavorful meat. Without marinating the flank steak, there is a chance that it might become tough when cooked, particularly when grilling.
It is a good idea to make sure that your marinade has some acidity to it, as this will help tenderize the meat before cooking it.
You can marinade it just before cooking, but leaving it to marinade overnight or for a few hours allows it to become even more tender.
One of the most popular ways to cook flank steak is to grill it! When grilling flank steak, it only needs to be on the grill for a few minutes.
The flames should be at medium-high, and you should cook the flank steak for 3 minutes on each side. You might want to cook it for a little longer if you prefer your meat well done, but make sure not to overcook it.
Leave it to rest for a few minutes, then slice it into thin slices and enjoy!
If you do not feel like lighting up the grill just to cook flank steak, you can do so on the stove. The best option would be to cook it on a cast-iron skillet, but you can use a normal skillet if you do not have one.
Prepare the pan with some olive oil and set the temperature to high. The steak will need around 4 minutes on each side to be medium-rare, and you can cook it for longer to have it more well done.
Make sure to not cook it too long — you don’t want it to become chewy!
Cooking steak in the oven might not be commonplace in your kitchen, but you can get a tender, flavorful flank steak cooked this way.
To start, you should heat the oven to 450°F. Marinade or rub the flank steak with some olive oil and spices, and any other seasonings you’d like, such as brown sugar, lime juice, etc.
Place the flank steak on a baking pan and place it in the oven for 5 minutes. Then turn it over to the other side and cook for another 5 minutes. This will give you a medium rare steak.
Once the steak has cooked to your preference, remove it from the oven and leave it to sit for at least 10 minutes before slicing.
While the other methods of cooking flank steak call for it to be cooked for a short amount of time, you can slow cook it and still have it melt in your mouth. You will actually get the most tender flank steak when cooked in a slow cooker!
The flank steak will need to be cooked for at least 6 hours in a slow cooker, and you can add in any other seasonings and ingredients you want for your dish. Slow-cooked flank steak can be used for steak tacos, gravy, etc.
Flank steak can be broiled as well! Broiling a flank steak will give you a finish very similar to grilling, just without that smokey flavor.
You only need to broil a flank steak for around 5 minutes on either side, then allow it to rest for up to 10 minutes for serving.
Broiling a flank steak helps to crisp it on the outside, but still keeps the inside juicy and tender.
What To Use In Place Of Flank Steak
If you have looked for flank steak (even using its alternative names) and still can’t find any, there are some other cuts of meat that you can use in its place!
The two best options to use in place of flank steak are hanger steak and skirt steak.
Hanger steak is similar to skirt steak, with a long and thin shape, but it has quite a bit of fat between the muscles.
This is also referred to as a “Butcher’s Cut” because you only get one hanger steak per animal, and the butchers would traditionally keep this for themselves.
Hanger steak can be very tender and it is quite flavorful thanks to the fat between the muscles. However, if it isn’t cooked properly, it can be chewy!
Skirt steak is very similar to flank steak, but it can also be longer and thinner.
It has slightly more fat than flank steak, which can give it a little more flavor, but it can also be chewier too.
Both of these cuts of meat can be used successfully in place of flank steak, and both can be cooked in the same ways that flank steak can be cooked.
Is skirt steak the same as flank steak?
No. Skirt steak and flank steak are often referred to as the same thing, but while they might look similar, they are not the same cut of meat.
Skirt steak has a similar shape to flank steak, but it comes from the diaphragm muscles of the cow. It is a tougher cut of meat, and it does have a beefier flavor. Not cooking skirt steak properly will cause it to be very chewy and tough.
Flank steak is lean like skirt steak, but it is easier to make it more tender. Both skirt steak and flank steak can be cooked in similar ways, and both require marinating or tenderizing to make the most of the meat and the lack of fat.
Skirt steak is generally cheaper than flank steak, but flank steak is possibly the better option between the two.
Is flat iron steak the same as flank steak?
No, flat iron steak is not the same cut of meat as flank steak.
Flat iron steak comes from the chuck roast, which is found on the neck and shoulder of a cow, whereas flank steak is from the flank of a cow.
Flat iron steak can also be called top blade steak or chuck steak.
What is hanger steak called in a grocery store?
Hanger steak in a grocery store can be labeled as hanger steak, but it could also be called Butcher’s Select or Butcher’s Secret.
It is quite rare to find hanger steak in a store as it is such a popular cut!