Ultimate Guide: Best Flank Steak Techniques & Tips

Transform flank steak into a succulent masterpiece with essential prep steps, marinating tips, and optimal cooking techniques for flavorful results.

Grilled flank steak with chimichurri sauce on a grill pan on wooden table

Flank steak, positioned beneath the cow’s loin, emerges as a culinary enigma owing to its remarkable leanness. Despite its potential toughness attributed to minimal fat content, a mastery of precise cooking techniques can metamorphose it into a succulent marvel, teeming with flavor.

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Preparing Flank Steak for Cooking

Raw Grass Fed Flank Steak Ready to Season

Getting your flank steak ready for cooking is vital for a mouthwatering result. Here’s why it’s essential:

  • Bringing Flank Steak to Room Temperature: Before cooking, let your flank steak sit out for 30 minutes. This simple step ensures even cooking. No more unevenly cooked steaks with charred outsides and cold centers. Instead, enjoy a perfectly cooked piece every time.
  • To Marinate or Not to Marinate?: Marinating your flank steak is crucial for flavor and tenderness. Ingredients like vinegar, citrus, or wine break down tough fibers, resulting in a melt-in-your-mouth texture. Even a short marinating can enhance flavor, but overnight marinating takes it to new heights.
  • Tenderizing Techniques: Consider using a tenderizing mallet to gently pound your steak. This not only breaks down fibers but also allows the marinade to penetrate deeper. Focus on even thickness for consistent cooking. The goal isn’t to flatten your steak but to enhance its natural qualities.

By following these steps, you’re not just cooking; you’re creating an unforgettable flank steak experience, whether for a family dinner or a backyard BBQ.

Cooking Flank Steak: Best Techniques for Optimal Results

After diving into the preparation process for flank steak, let’s move on to the cooking part. Ensuring your flank steak turns out flavorful and tender involves choosing the right cooking method. Below, we’ll explore the best techniques that promise optimal results every time you cook this versatile cut.

Grilling: Maximizing Flavor and Texture

Grilling marinated angus beef flank steak on hot coals barbecue grill. Preparing juicy medium rare meat on hot grill BBQ with grill marks in restaurant fireplace.

Grilling is your go-to for a smoky, charred edge that’s hard to resist. First, heat your grill as hot as it can get, aiming for a temperature that’ll sear the steak quickly, locking in juices and flavor. Whether you prefer your steak rare or well-done, grilling allows you to control the outcome with ease. Remember, a preheated, clean, and oiled grill is key to preventing sticking and achieving those sought-after grill marks. Grill your flank steak for 4-5 minutes per side, then let it rest to redistribute the juices. You’ll end up with a crusty exterior and a juicy interior that’s full of flavor.

Pan-Searing: A Quick and Convenient Method

For those who love a golden crust with a tender middle, pan-searing is your best friend. It’s a quick and convenient method, especially on busy weeknights. Heat a heavy pan, preferably cast iron, and add a bit of high-smoke-point oil like avocado. Searing the steak on high heat for a few minutes on each side creates a delicious crust while keeping the inside succulent. Don’t forget to let it rest before slicing it against the grain for the ultimate tenderness. Plus, pan-searing offers the bonus of using those tasty browned bits left in the pan for a savory sauce.

Broiling: An Indoor Alternative to Grilling

When grilling isn’t an option, broiling offers a fantastic indoor alternative. Position your oven rack so the steak is about 4-6 inches from the broiler element, allowing for a charred finish without overcooking the interior. It’s a speedy method, requiring just a few minutes per side, and it replicates the high heat of grilling. Watch closely, though, as the high heat can quickly go from perfect to overdone. This method especially suits marinated steaks, as the high heat intensifies the flavor while creating a caramelized crust.

Slow Cooking: Low and Slow for Tenderness

If it’s tenderness you’re after, slow cooking is surprisingly effective for flank steak. It’s a departure from the quick-sear methods but results in melt-in-your-mouth meat that’s perfect for shredding. Cook it on low in a slow cooker with your choice of broth, spices, or sauce for several hours, and you’ll transform this lean cut into a tender, flavorful dish. The slow cooking process breaks down the fibers, making them exceptionally tender. It’s perfect for tacos, sandwiches, or as a main dish when you’re looking for that fork-tender texture.

Whether you prefer a quick sear or a slow-cooked feast, these methods bring out the best in flank steak. Remember to let your steak rest before slicing for maximum juiciness. With these tips, you’re ready to impress guests and enjoy a delicious, protein-packed meal.

Carving Flank Steak: The Art of Slicing Against the Grain

Sliced medium-rare flank steak on a bamboo carving board

Once you’ve perfected cooking flank steak, proper carving is essential. Here’s why slicing against the grain is crucial and how to do it right:

Why Slicing Against the Grain Matters

Flank steak has visible muscle fibers. Slicing against the grain means cutting perpendicular to these fibers, shortening them for a tender bite. This simple technique transforms potentially chewy steak into a delightfully tender one, elevating your dining experience.

Techniques for Perfect Slices

  • Let Your Steak Rest: After cooking, allow your steak to rest to redistribute juices, enhancing juiciness.
  • Identify the Grain: Locate the direction of the muscle fibers to position your knife correctly.
  • Choose the Right Knife: Use a sharp, long knife like a carving knife for clean, swift cuts.
  • Angle and Thickness: Hold your knife at a 45-degree angle to the steak for thin, tender slices, aiming for about 1/4 inch thickness.
  • Slice with Confidence: Cut perpendicular to the grain in one fluid motion to avoid shredding the meat.

By mastering these techniques, every bite of your flank steak will be tender and enjoyable, whether it’s for a special occasion or a casual meal.

Serving Suggestions and Pairings

Homemade Cooked Skirt Steak with Chimichurri Sauce and Spices

After mastering the art of cooking flank steak, the next step is making it a meal to remember. Here’s how you can turn your beautifully cooked flank steak into a feast with the right sides and sauces.

Complementary Side Dishes for Flank Steak

  • Grilled Vegetables: Season and grill veggies like zucchini, bell peppers, and asparagus right alongside your steak for a smoky, healthy side.
  • Roasted Potatoes: Dice and roast potatoes with olive oil, rosemary, and garlic for a crispy, hearty companion to your tender steak.
  • Quinoa Salad: Mix quinoa with cherry tomatoes, cucumber, feta, and a lemon vinaigrette for a light, refreshing side.

Each of these sides brings its own texture and flavor, complementing the rich taste and tender texture of the flank steak. They’re not just fillers; they’re an integral part of the meal that enhances your dining experience.

  • Chimichurri: This bright, herby sauce pairs incredibly well with the robust flavors of flank steak, adding a zesty contrast.
  • Béarnaise: A classic French sauce, béarnaise adds a luxurious, creamy element that elevates the steak to new heights.
  • Soy-Ginger Glaze: For a more adventurous pairing, try a soy-ginger glaze. Its sweet and salty balance with a hint of umami complements the meat’s savoriness.

The right sauce can transform your flank steak from simple to spectacular, adding layers of flavor that make each bite exciting. Whether you prefer the freshness of chimichurri, the richness of béarnaise, or the boldness of a soy-ginger glaze, there’s a sauce out there that’s your flank steak’s soulmate.

Storing and Reheating Leftover Flank Steak

So, you’ve mastered the art of cooking flank steak to perfection. What do you do with the leftovers? Let’s dive into the best ways to store and reheat your flank steak, ensuring it remains just as delicious as when it first came off the grill.

Best Practices for Storing Cooked Flank Steak

  • Cool It Down Quickly – To minimize the risk of bacteria growth, don’t leave your cooked steak out for more than two hours after cooking. Speed up the cooling process by slicing it into smaller pieces.
  • Use Airtight Containers – Transfer the cooled steak to an airtight container. If you prefer, you can also wrap it tightly in aluminum foil or plastic wrap, but containers will protect it from getting squished in the fridge.
  • Label Your Steak – Write down the date on the container or wrap. Cooked flank steak can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, making it easy to plan for a quick meal.
  • Opt for the Oven – Preheat your oven to 250°F. Place the steak on a baking sheet with a wire rack, and add a splash of water or broth to the tray to create steam. Cover loosely with foil to trap the moisture, and gently reheat it until just warm.
  • Skillet Method – For smaller portions, a skillet on the stove can work well. Heat the skillet over low heat, add a little oil or broth for moisture, and place the steak in the pan. Cover and heat gently, flipping once, until warmed through.
  • Avoid the Microwave – Microwaving can cause the steak to become tough and chewy. If you’re in a hurry, cut the steak into thin slices and microwave on a low setting in 30-second intervals, checking frequently to prevent overcooking.

Remember, if you cooked your flank steak to a rare or medium-rare doneness initially, it would cook a bit more during the reheating process. Adjust your method accordingly to enjoy a tender, flavorful steak even the next day.

In the video, Mashed explains-

  1. Steak is versatile and can be prepared in various ways.
  2. Leftover steak can be challenging to reheat without compromising taste and texture.
  3. Reheating steak in the microwave can result in toughness if not done properly.
  4. One method for reheating steak involves using a zip-top bag, a food thermometer, and a pot of water.
  5. Allowing the steak to come to room temperature before reheating reduces the risk of overcooking.
  6. Reheating steak using a sous-vide technique with a pot of water is effective without fancy equipment.
  7. If you have a sous-vide machine, you can use it for reheating or cooking raw steak.
  8. Another method recommended by Courtney Rada is reheating steak in the oven at a low temperature for a longer time.
  9. Elevating the steak on a wire rack in the oven ensures even cooking without flipping.
  10. Reheating steak in the microwave can be successful by adding extra moisture and reheating in short bursts on low to medium power.

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