4+ Meals That Flank Steak Is Good For

Flank steak is a versatile, affordable cut of beef good for fajitas, London broil, Vietnamese pho, and stir fry, but needs proper cooking to prevent toughness.

what is flank steak good for

Flank steak (aka skirt or ranchera steak) is a (not always) affordable cut of beef with a long, fibrous grain that, when prepared correctly, lends itself well to a number of grilled and stir-fried, and even soup recipes.

Meals that flank steak is good for include options as diverse as fajitas to London broil to Vietnamese pho. However, flank steak also requires proper preparation and cooking in order to avoid tough, chewy meat and dry, flavorless meals. 

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Meal Considerations: Are Flank Steaks Tender? 

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

Flank steak, also known as a skirt or ranchera steak, is prized for its bold flavor and versatility in the kitchen. While it may not be as naturally tender as some other cuts, it can be transformed into succulent and delicious dishes with the right techniques.

To achieve optimal tenderness, marinating is essential. By allowing the meat to marinate for about four hours in the fridge, you can break down some of the tougher connective tissues, resulting in a more tender bite.

Despite its lean profile, flank steak shines in a variety of cooking methods. Whether you grill it to perfection, stir-fry it with vibrant vegetables, or slice it thinly for tacos or salads, its versatility makes it a favorite among home cooks seeking flavorful and satisfying meals.

How Do I Find Flank Steak in the Store?

In terms of being kind to the budget, flank steak is an excellent resource for money-minded home cooks. If you’re looking for some flank steak at the grocery store or in the butcher’s shop, do be aware that this cut of meat goes by a number of names.

Aside from being called flank steak, it’s also known as bavette (from the French), jiffy steak, or London broil.

4+ Meals That Flank Steak Is Good For

1. London Broil

Flank Steak London Broil

London broil isn’t a specific cut of meat like filet mignon; it’s a method for cooking tougher meats. While flank steak is commonly used, top-round steak is also popular. Despite flank steak’s toughness, its rich flavor makes it ideal for this dish. Marinating in an acidic mixture tenderizes the meat, with some using Italian dressing for added flavor. Typically, London broil is broiled in the oven for 2.5 to 3 hours at 350°F. With its roots in cheap cuts of meat, London broil offers a budget-friendly beef option.

2. Fajitas Made With Flank Steak

Beef Steak Fajitas with tortilla mix pepper, onion and avocado on wooden board

Traditionally, fajitas were made with skirt steak, a result of Mexican ranch workers receiving it as part of their salary. They experimented with ways to tenderize and flavor the tough meat, leading to the creation of the fajita. As fajitas gained popularity, chefs and home cooks began using flank steak as well. Both skirt and flank steak are lean and tough, making them interchangeable in recipes like fajitas, which require high-heat cooking methods.

3. Vietnamese Pho

Vietnamese soup with chicken balls

Vietnamese pho features pho rice noodles, beef bone broth, and thinly sliced beef, complemented by fresh herbs and Asian flavors. It’s popular street food known for its customizable nature, with diners adding side ingredients like vegetables and spices such as Sriracha, chili paste, soy sauce, fish sauce, and hoisin sauce. In some versions, the beef is served raw and cooked in the hot soup.

4. Stir Fry

stir-fry_2546366

Stir fry is a versatile dish that allows you to use up various fridge ingredients, resulting in a unique meal each time. Flank steak’s natural flavor pairs well with stir-fry marinades, and using oils like olive or sesame adds richness. For Asian-inspired stir fry, marinades typically include soy sauce, citrus juice, ginger, and garlic. Combine your favorite vegetables, tofu, and mushrooms, and serve over steamed rice for a quick and healthy meal. Recommended vegetables for flank steak stir fry include Asian cabbage, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, onions, sugar snap peas, water chestnuts, green beans, and tofu.

If you’re looking for a list of good vegetables to try in your flank steak stir fry, try these:

  • Asian cabbage
  • Mushroom
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Red, green, or yellow bell peppers
  • Onions – green, white, yellow, or even red for some coloring
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Water chestnuts
  • Fresh green beans
  • Tofu 

Tips for Marinating Flank Steak

Marinating flank steak is a key step to enhance its tenderness and infuse it with flavor. Follow these tips to ensure your marinated flank steak turns out perfectly every time:

  • Choose the Right Marinade: Select a marinade that complements the flavors you want to highlight in your dish. Common ingredients include acidic components like vinegar, citrus juice (such as lemon or lime), soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and a variety of herbs and spices.
  • Marinating Time: Aim to marinate the flank steak for at least 4 hours in the refrigerator. Marinating for too long can result in the meat becoming mushy, so avoid leaving it in the marinade for extended periods.
  • Pierce the Meat: Before marinating, use a fork to pierce the surface of the flank steak. This allows the marinade to penetrate deeper into the meat, enhancing its flavor throughout.
  • Use a Sealable Bag or Container: Place the flank steak and marinade in a sealable plastic bag or container. Ensure the meat is fully submerged in the marinade for even flavor distribution. Massage the marinade into the steak gently to coat it evenly.
  • Refrigeration: Marinate the flank steak in the refrigerator, not at room temperature, to prevent bacterial growth. Place the sealed bag or container on a plate to catch any potential leaks and prevent cross-contamination.
  • Allow Time to Rest: After marinating, remove the flank steak from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for 15-30 minutes before cooking. This allows the meat to come to temperature for more even cooking.
  • Pat Dry Before Cooking: Before cooking the flank steak, remove it from the marinade and pat it dry with paper towels. Excess marinade can cause the steak to steam rather than sear when cooked, resulting in less flavorful meat.
  • Grilling or Searing: Cook the flank steak using high heat methods such as grilling or searing for optimal flavor and tenderness. Avoid overcooking to prevent the meat from becoming tough and dry.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your marinated flank steak is tender, flavorful, and a hit at your next meal!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is flank steak good for?

Flank steak is versatile and suitable for a variety of dishes. It can be used for grilling, stir-frying, marinating, or slicing thinly for dishes like fajitas or sandwiches. Its rich flavor and tender texture make it a popular choice for many recipes.

What is flank steak called at the grocery store?

Flank steak may go by different names at the grocery store, including bavette, jiffy steak, or London broil. These alternative names may vary depending on the region or store.

What to serve with flank steak?

Flank steak pairs well with a variety of side dishes, enhancing the overall meal experience. Popular accompaniments include roasted vegetables, grilled asparagus, mashed potatoes, rice pilaf, or a fresh garden salad. Additionally, flavorful sauces or condiments such as chimichurri or salsa can complement the steak’s robust flavor profile.

Is Flank Steak Good Well Done?

Due to the tough nature of flank steaks, they don’t really make an appealing, well-done steak. They tend to get dry and tough when cooked this way.

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