Flank steak is rich in flavor, is relatively lean with less marbling than similar cuts, and it’s versatile for a whole range of meals.
It works well with rubs and marinades and absolutely deserves a spot on your grill.
If you’re looking for new ingredients to try, flank steak is a great choice.
What is flank steak?
Let’s find out more about it and look at some cooking tips so you can prepare delicious and juicy flank steak on your grill at home.
Flank Steak Requires Special Attention to Get it Right
Flank is a cut of steak that comes from the lower chest or abdomen of the cow.
It’s flavorful, versatile, and is a favorite for home grillers.
Best of all, it’s also one of the most affordable steak cuts.
Because it’s lean, it’s a great choice when you are trying to eliminate some of the fat from your diet.
The humble flank steak gets a bad reputation because many people consider it to be tough to chew.
This is only true if it isn’t prepared correctly.
When it’s treated to a delicious marinade or rub, and cooked at the perfect temperature, it can be deliciously tender and works great with a range of other ingredients from salad and bread to rice and pasta.
Cooking it right is all about temperature and speed.
A flank steak should be seared quickly on both sides, rested, sliced, and served.
We’ll look more closely at the cooking process later.
First, you need to know how to season it…
Marinating Flank Steak
It’s the lean nature of the said steak that makes it tough when cooked incorrectly.
The right marinade will help to break down some of the connective tissues so that flank steak is more tender and tastier.
Being a rich cut of steak, flank is incredibly flavorful.
You can use a bold marinade without compromising the beefy flavor.
There’s no real rule on what kind of marinade you should use.
Some people go for a more acidic option, while others prefer a saltier or even a sweet marinade.
It all comes down to personal preference.
If you have a recipe that you already use for other types of steak, feel free to use it for flank.
If you aren’t sure what to start with or if you want to try something incredibly simple that you can prepare in minutes, then you can create a marinade with just a few ingredients you already have in your kitchen.
Combine all the following ingredients in a bowl…
- 1/3 Cup of Extra virgin olive oil.
- 1/4 Cup of Soy sauce.
- A Dash of Lemon Juice.
- 2 Teaspoons of Brown sugar.
Ratios here aren’t as important and everybody has their own.
Consider our measurements a basic guideline.
The only thing to be careful of is balancing the lemon juice and sugar to get the right amount of acidity.
If using the measurements above, you’ll get a sweet and umami marinade with just a touch of zest.
You can use low-sodium soy sauce without compromising the flavor.
If you don’t want a sweet marinade, omit the sugar, and add a teaspoon of crushed or finely chopped garlic instead.
This type of steak needs at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator with the marinade to take on flavor.
Going longer has benefits, and some home cooks marinate overnight or for up to 8 hours.
Anything longer than this won’t have any real benefit on the flavor and the acidity of the lemon juice could ruin the texture of the steak.
You don’t have to use your own marinade.
You can use steak sauce, Italian dressing, or even a prepared marinade to get amazing results.
If you want to step up your game, consider a cookbook dedicated entirely to marinades, like The Ultimate Marinade Recipe Book by Les Ilagan.
When it’s time to cook, let the steak reach room temperature before patting it dry with paper towels.
You can season with salt and ground peppercorns before it goes on the grill.
The Best Technique for Cooking Tender Flank Steak
Your marinade is going to get you halfway to a delicious flank steak on your gas grill or charcoal grill.
The rest is all down to the cooking technique.
The grill temperature should be medium-high.
You want to be searing the meat, not cooking it slowly.
There’s no need for indirect cooking with flank steak.
Medium-rare is the target.
Overcooking flank steak to medium-well or anything beyond will bind the connective tissues and make it much tougher to eat.
The steak should be served at around 135°F (57°C) for medium-rare.
Remove the steak from the grill as it approaches this temperature and rest it for five minutes.
The rest will bring the center up to temperature and ensure that the juices are contained when it is sliced.
Never slice steak straight off the grill.
Some patience goes a long way towards improving its texture, tenderness, and flavor.
- A meat thermometer is essential. This wireless meat thermometer is perfect for flank steak and other ingredients.
- Flank steak is a large cut, so you’ll need tongs or a grill spatula for turning. If you don’t have high-quality grilling utensils, consider investing in something like this grilling tool set that includes a meat thermometer. Quality utensils make cooking so much easier no matter the ingredients.
Always slice flank steak against the grain or you will end up with extremely stringy pieces of meat that are difficult to eat.
How Should You Serve Flank Steak?
Flank steak is amazing on its own or even with some Chimichurri sauce.
It can be served alongside a fresh garden salad, on bread, in wraps, in tacos, or as a topping on pasta.
It’s incredibly versatile and it’s completely up to you how you serve and enjoy it.
Flank steak might be a bargain cut but its flavor is amazing when you take some care to prepare it well.
Enjoy your steak with friends and family and you’ll find that it ends up in regular rotation when you’re cooking outdoors.