Grilling Guide

Flank Steak Cooking Tips

Image: Deposit Photos, ryzhkov86

Flank steak, a lean and boneless cut of meat, is famous for its intense beef flavor. However, it can be tough if improperly cooked. This versatile cut of beef can be melt-in-your-mouth tender with just a little know-how. Flank steak is used in a variety of dishes including London broil, stir-fry, and as an alternative to the traditional skirt steak in fajitas.

Grilling is perhaps the best way to cook flank steak, but you can also pan-sear it in a skillet or broil it in your oven. The real trick is to keep cooking time to a minimum; this lean cut is best cooked rare, medium-rare, or medium. Since the muscle fibers are very strong and can be extremely tough, you must carve against the grain.

Flank steak is a terrific cut for marinating but wait until completely thawed. Marinating while defrosting can make the surface texture of the meat mushy. Place steak in a bowl or resealable plastic bag and add the marinade. Use enough to cover the meat completely and turn the steak a few times while marinating. Optimal time for marinating is 4-12 hours. After 4 hours the flank steak has absorbed a lot of the flavor but by 12 hours it will become even more tender.  Always refrigerate the meat while marinating. Before cooking, remove your flank steak from the marinade and allow excess marinade to drain away.

If you choose not to marinate the flank steak, just season with your favorite spices or rubs at least two hours before cooking.

 

Flank Steak on the Grill

For a charcoal grill, place flank steak over the hottest part of the grill, and sear both sides for 1-2 minutes. Then move to medium, ash-covered coals and continue to grill. Use the chart below to determine how long to grill. Turn about one minute prior to the halfway point.

For a gas grill, preheat on high. Sear both sides for 1-2 minutes, then reduce to medium heat and continue to grill. Use the chart below to determine how long to grill flank steak. Turn about one minute prior to the halfway point.

For the perfect medium-rare flank steak, grill for 9-12 minutes, turning about 1 minute before the halfway point. A meat thermometer should read 130°F. Rest flank steak for five minutes before serving, covered lightly with foil. This allows the juices time to sink back in and throughout the meat, keeping it moist and flavorful. The temperature of the meat will continue to rise about 5°F during this time. The final temperature will read 135°F.

Cut steak across the grain into slices no more than 1/4″ thick. For extra tender bites, hold knife blade at a 45° angle; this is called “cutting on the bias.” Cutting against the grain this way exposes more surface area in each fiber and keeps the fibers from being stacked directly on top of each other in each slice of meat, further weakening the bonds that hold them together.

Flank Steak in the Oven

Set oven for broil and preheat 10 minutes. Place flank steak on the rack of a broiler pan. Position broiler pan in oven so that the surface of the beef is three to four inches from the heat. Broil to desired doneness; use the chart below to determine how long to cook flank steak under the broiler.

For the perfect medium-rare flank steak, broil in the oven for 11-14 minutes, turning about one minute before the halfway point. A meat thermometer should read 130°F. Rest for five minutes before serving, covering lightly with foil. The final temperature will read 135°F.

Cut steak across the grain into thin slices, just as you would after grilling.

Pan-Seared Flank Steak

Heat a heavy skillet or cast-iron skillet over high heat until hot, for about five minutes. A very hot pan delivers the best sear. Add a 1-2 tablespoons of vegetable oil or butter to skillet (enough to coat the bottom) and immediately place flank steak in the hot skillet.

For the perfect medium-rare flank steak, sear in a skillet for 12-13 minutes, turning about one minute before the halfway point. A meat thermometer should read 130°F. Rest for five minutes before serving, covering lightly with foil. The final temperature will read 135°F.

Cut steak across the grain into thin slices, just as you would after grilling.

Note: Flank steak is a versatile cut of beef; pre-sliced and pan-seared it is perfect atop pasta, a salad or in a stir fry. Just follow the cooking instructions for pan-searing. To pre-slice your skirt steak, place it in the freezer for just 15 minutes; this will firm up the meat and make it easier to slice. Slice into thin strips or cubes against the grain, before cooking.

Steak Sandwiches on Texas Toast, Espresso Barbecue Sauce

Prep Time: 20 Minutes, Plus About 50 Minutes for The Sauce Grilling Time: 9 To 11 Minutes Special Equipment: 2 Large Handfuls Mesquite Wood Chips Serves: 4

 

Sauce:

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 small yellow onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 tablespoon prepared chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 cup ketchup-style chili sauce

1/2 cup drip-brewed espresso or dark roast coffee

2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 

 

Rub:

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon prepared chili powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 

 

Everything else:

1 flank steak, about 1 1/2-pounds and 3/4-inch thick

1/4 cup (½ stick) salted butter, softened

2 garlic cloves, minced

4 slices white, French or Italian bread, each about 1-inch thick

2 cups baby arugula

extra-virgin olive oil

In a heavy, medium saucepan over medium-low heat, warm the oil. Add the onion and cook until super soft and very dark, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chili powder, cumin and paprika and stir well. Add the remaining sauce ingredients and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the sauce thickens and is reduced to about 1 cup, 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Soak the wood chips in water for at least 30 minutes. 

Mix the rub ingredients. Lightly brush the steak on both sides with oil and season evenly with the rub. Allow the steak to stand at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes before grilling.

Combine the butter and garlic, and then spread on both sides of the bread slices. Stand the slices upright, cut sides together, on a plate until ready to grill.

Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium heat (350° to 450°F).

Drain and add the wood chips to the charcoal or to the smoker box of a gas grill, following manufacturer’s instructions, and close the lid. When smoke appears, grill the steak over direct medium heat, with the lid closed, until cooked to your desired doneness, 8 to 10 minutes for medium rare, turning once. During the last minute of grilling time, brush the steak on both sides with some of the sauce, and turn once or twice to glaze the steak. Remove from the grill and let rest for 3 to 5 minutes.

Grill the bread slices over direct medium heat until lightly toasted, about 1 minute, turning once.

Cut the steak across the grain into thin slices. Build the sandwiches on the toasted bread with arugula, steak and sauce. Drizzle the sandwiches with the carving juices. Serve warm with additional sauce on the side. Any leftover sauce can be stored in the refrigerator in a covered container for up to two weeks

Garlic Soy Rosemary Marinated Flank Steak

Serves 6

 

2 pounds flank steak

 

Marinade

1 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup rice wine vinegar

1/4 cup fresh rosemary, finely chopped

2 tablespoons minced garlic

2 tablespoons sorghum molasses

1 tablespoon granulated onion powder

1 tablespoon butcher-grind black pepper

Mix all marinade ingredients in medium-sized bowl. Place flank steak into a 1-gallon resealable plastic bag. Pour in marinade. Seal bag, removing as much air as possible.

Marinate overnight in fridge, turning bag over a couple of times to evenly distribute marinade.

Grill. Preheat grill to medium-high heat of 375°F to 450°F. Remove flank steak from marinade. Discard remaining marinade. Grill steak to rare/medium rare (130°F to 135°F). Remove from grill, and rest for 10 minutes. Flank steak must be cut across the grain when serving. I like to sprinkle the slices with good kosher or sea salt just prior to serving.

Tailgater Magazine