What Is a Flank Steak?

Learn How to Tenderize This Tough, Flavorful Cut

Flank Steak Raw
Flank Steak Raw. Regarding BBQ Inc.

The flank steak is technically not a steak. Instead, this popular beef cut comes from the cow's belly muscle. It is a very flavorful piece of meat, though it's very lean and contains almost no fat. Despite its toughness, it can be a tasty, tender steak if you learn how to cook it right.

A Useful Steak

While it may not have the esteem of great steaks like the ribeye or T-bone, the flank steak (or jiffy steak) is very useful. The flavor makes up for the leanness and it tends to be on of the more affordable cuts of meat. 

This is a great choice for quick, casual weeknight meals in which the steak becomes part of the recipe, yet it can stand as a focal point on the plate. It's the preferred cut for steak fajitas because it's easily cut into strips and inexpensive. For the same reasons, it's also nice in Chinese dishes like kung pao beef.

Even though fajitas are partially responsible for the flank steak's more recent rise in popularity, it has a traditional use. This is the original steak used in the famous London broil, a cooking technique to consider when trying to tenderize this tougher meat.

How to Cook Flank Steak

Flank steak can easily become one of your favorite cuts if you know how to cook it properly. The trick is to tenderize the steak with liquids through techniques like braising or marinating.

For the grill, cook it hot and fast after two to four hours in a good marinade. It will be fantastic and have an excellent flavor and texture. Most importantly, always carve flank steak against the grain to prevent it from becoming overly tough.

Grilled Flank Steak Recipes

To inspire you to pick up more flank steak, explore these recipes. There's a great variety with some impressive marinades that really show off the versatility of this cut.

  • Port Wine and Onion Flank Steak - A flavorful marinade of port wine, onion, thyme, and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Jack Daniel's Flank Steak - Whiskey is a great base for a marinade and this recipe mixes it with garlic and stone ground mustard.
  • Spicy Flank Steak - An interesting array of flavors, red wine, soy sauce, lime, garlic, cilantro, and red pepper are required for this marinade.
  • Flank Steak With Onions - Onions are only a small part of this recipe. You'll also enjoy the combination of Dijon mustard, rosemary, allspice, and balsamic vinegar.
  • Soy and Pineapple Flank Steak - A unique marinade, you'll definitely want to experience the taste of pineapple and soy sauce with brown sugar, onion, ginger, and pepper.
  • Irish Flank Steak - For a quick and simple twist on the ordinary, allow this marinade of applesauce, soy, garlic, and cider vinegar to work its magic on your steaks overnight.