If you’ve been looking for new dishes and meals to cook, then you’ve probably been scouring the internet in search of recipes to try out. The only thing is, some of them are using flank steak, and if you’ve never heard of this before, then you’re probably wondering what it is.
Flank steak is not as popularized as other cuts of steak. We’ve all heard of the sirloin, filet mignon or rump steak, but the flank is not a term we come across often. So, what is the flank steak, which dishes should we use it in, and how do we cook it? Read on to find out!
What Is Flank Steak?
Flank steak is a boneless, skinless piece of beef from the rear quarter of the cow, near the stomach muscles. Flank steak is one of the most flavorful, but thin cuts of meat you can find.
Due to the thin, long shape of this cut of beef, it can be on the tough side as it is all too easy to overcook it. The flank is found underneath the cow, which is where it got its name. Flank steak therefore comes from the flank of the cow, below the sirloin and the loin.
As this area is so close to the abdominal part of the cow, it is a muscle that is worked a lot due to exercise and movement. As a result, this piece of steak tends to be very tough and lean due to the excess muscle fibers.
This steak is often about ¾ of an inch thick, but can sometimes be ½ an inch in thickness, and also has a lot of muscle fibers going through the meat. In addition, it is also deep red in color when fresh and has very little fat on the sides as it should be trimmed.
Is Flank Steak A Good Steak?
Flank steak is rather popular as it is a very lean steak. It’s great for grilling, broiling, sauteing and roasting, and it cooks very quickly, making it a great option for a quick meal.
However, due to how thin this steak is, it can become very tough and dry if cooked too much or sliced too thick. For the best results, you will want to cook this steak no more than to a medium, as this will be enough.
Alternative Names For Flank Steak
If you haven’t heard of flank steak before, then this could be because it often goes by other names. Flank steak is most commonly referred to as London Broil. This is how you may find it in your local grocery store or in restaurants around the glove.
Others may call flank steak skirt steak, as the two are very similar, however skirt steak is a different cut of meat.
Skirt steak is also from the abdominal area of the cow, and is therefore a very muscular and lean cut of meat, but many believe that the skirt steak is slightly chewier than the flank steak, but it all comes down to personal preference.
Many chefs like to use flank steak in their cooking as it is a versatile cut of meat that can be incorporated into many different dishes for added protein and flavor. It’s also ultra thin, which is what makes it so easy to cook quickly.
When cooked properly, this cut of meat can be incredibly tender and soft, you just need to sear it on each side before slicing to ensure it is moist and not chewy. So, how do you cook flank steak properly?
How To Cook Flank Steak
Knowing how to cook flank steak is essential with this cut of beef. When overcooked, it can be prone to being very dry, or tough, but when cooked right, it can be delicious and it’s a healthy cut of beef.
The secret to cooking flank steak is grilling. This is the easiest and simplest way of cooking this beef, but you can also pan sear it in a skillet, which is most common, or broil it in your oven if you prefer to, hence the term, London Broil.
The trick with this beef is to cook it as little as possible, as it is best served rare, medium rare or medium at the most. This is because the muscle fibers from the abdominal area are very strong, which can make the steak tough.
To cook flank steak in a skillet, you will want to use a cast iron skillet over a high heat. Wait for the skillet to be extremely hot, so that you can sear the meat.
Then, add some vegetable oil or butter to coat the skillet. Once hot, place the flank steak in the skillet, and sear for 2-3 minutes until browned.
Then, use tongs to lift and flip the steak to sear the other side for 2-3 minutes. After that, remove the skillet from the heat, and leave to cook for a further 5 minutes in the pan.
For medium rare, use an internal thermometer, and wait for it to reach 130 degrees fahrenheit, or for rare, cook to 125 degrees fahrenheit. Once cooked, leave the steak to rest on a cutting board for 10 minutes covered in foil, slice and serve.
Best Dishes For Flank Steak
Flank steak can be used in a range of different dishes and recipes. For example, flank steak goes best with things such as stir fry and fajitas, as it can be thinly cut into slices.
That being said, this steak also pairs well with veggies or onions, and can be served with rice or noodles on the side. It’s a very versatile cut of meat.
The great thing about flank steak is that it is one of the healthiest cuts of beef. It has fewer calories and more protein than a ribeye steak or porterhouse steak (ounce for ounce) and has lots of flavor when not overcooked.
To summarize, flank steak is a thin cut of beef that is derived from a cow’s abdominal muscles, or the flank of the cow. It’s also often called London Broil steak or skirt steak, and can be used in a range of different recipes.
This cut of meat can be very flavorful and tender, especially when cooked to perfection, but luckily, with this guide, you’ll know exactly how to cook this steak for a tender, juicy and delicious meal.