How to Cook Flank Steak

If it's not cooked correctly, flank steak can be tough. Here's how to get tender, flavorful results.

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FNK_SimpleBroiledFlankSteakWithHerbOil_H

FNK_SimpleBroiledFlankSteakWithHerbOil_H

Chef Name: Food Network KitchenFull Recipe Name: Simple Broiled Flank Steak with Herb OilTalent Recipe: FNK Recipe: Food Networks Kitchen’s Simple Broiled Flank Steak with Herb Oil, as seen on Foodnetwork.comProject: Foodnetwork.com, FN Essentials/Weeknights/Fall/HolidaysShow Name: Food Network / Cooking Channel: Food Network,Chef Name: Food Network Kitchen Full Recipe Name: Simple Broiled Flank Steak with Herb Oil Talent Recipe: FNK Recipe: Food Networks Kitchen’s Simple Broiled Flank Steak with Herb Oil, as seen on Foodnetwork.com Project: Foodnetwork.com, FN Essentials/Weeknights/Fall/Holidays Show Name: Food Network / Cooking Channel: Food Network

Photo by: Renee Comet ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Renee Comet, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

By Leah Brickley for Food Network Kitchen

Flank steak is packed with intense beefy flavor — despite having very little fat — making it a budget-friendly option for steak lovers. Since it’s a hardworking belly muscle on cows it can be tough if overcooked, but there are techniques for making the most flavorful and tender flank steak possible.

How to Marinate Flank Steak

Flank steaks love a good marinade. Just a couple hours in the marinade is all it takes to tenderize them and infuse them with plenty of flavor. (Marinating them past six to eight hours could cause the meat to end up with a grainy mouthfeel.) Check out our Soy-Marinated Flank Steaks to learn about the ingredients that go into a fantastic flank steak marinade. This marinade includes soy sauce, which seasons and flavors the steak, balsamic vinegar, which tenderizes it, vegetable oil, which maintains its juiciness and sugar, which helps it brown and caramelize.

How to Make Sure Flank Steak Cooks Evenly

A flank steak is sort of wedge-shaped and can range from one to two pounds. Often one end of the flank steak is thicker than the other. If the difference in thickness is more than 1/4 inch, it’s smart to slice apart the thicker and thinner sides to ensure even doneness. Start cooking the thicker half, and about halfway through cooking, add the thinner half and cook both pieces to desired doneness. Alternatively, you can pound the steak out into an even thickness between two pieces of plastic wrap or parchment paper. Or, if some family members like their steak cooked medium-rare and others like theirs more well done, leave the flank steak intact as is and there will be something for everyone.

The Best Way to Cook Flank Steak: High Heat

High heat is best for cooking flank steak: the hotter and quicker it cooks, the less tough it will be. All of the cooking techniques you see below involve hot and fast cooking.

How to Grill Flank Steak

Flank steaks are great cooked on a hot grill, which often makes for a nice outer crust. This Grilled Flank Steak with Mozzarella and Basil gets pounded with a meat mallet, seasoned simply, cooked on a medium high grill for four minutes a side and paired with a simple summer salad.

How to Broil Flank Steak

Your broiler can do more than just melt cheese. Case in point: this Simple Broiled Flank Steak with Herb Oil (pictured above). Rub a flank steak with olive oil, season it with salt and pepper and slide it onto a foil-lined sheet pan for easy cleanup. Then just broil it until it's medium-rare, 6 to 8 minutes. No flipping needed.

FLANK_STEAK_021.tif

FLANK_STEAK_021.tif

Flank Steak with Smashed Potatoes

Photo by: Ryan Dausch

Ryan Dausch

How to Cook Flank Steak On the Stove

All you need is a large skillet (cast iron is great) to make flank steak on the stove top. Let's take a look at Flank Steak with Smashed Potatoes to learn about the technique. You'll heat olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Season the steak with salt and pepper and cook int until it's nicely browned, about five minutes a side. That was easy.

How to Stiry-Fry Flank Steak

A fast way to cook flank steak? Slicing it thinly across the grain and adding it to a stir fry. Because you'll be thinly slicing the beef against the grain many times, each piece of beef will be extra tender. Check out Food Network Kitchen's recipe for Spicy Sichuan Beef Stir-Fry as an example. The thinly sliced flank steak is cooked quickly in a hot wok and glazed with a black bean sauce.

Food Network Kitchen’s Ropa Vieja Roulade.

Photo by: Matt Armendariz

Matt Armendariz

How to Stuff and Roll Flank Steak

Flank steak looks good dressed up: it can be butterflied and pounded into a large, thin steak and then filled, rolled and cooked into an impressive main dish. This Ropa Vieja Roulade is inspired by the Spanish dish ropa vieja and is stuffed with pepper, onions and olives.

How to Tell Flank Steak Is Cooked

Flank steak tends to be chewy if overcooked: watch the side of your steak as it cooks, the color will begin to change and creep up the side of the steak – when it reaches about 1/4 inch up the side, it’s time to turn the steak over. Continuing cooking until desired doneness. Because this cut gets tougher the more well cooked it is, the less well done the better. Rare to medium-rare is 125 to 130 F with an instant read thermometer.

How to Slice Flank Steak Against the Grain

Take a look at your steak before you cook it and notice the direction the grain flows. After your cooked steak has rested, remember that direction and thinly cut across (not with) the grain with a sharp knife held at about a 45-degree angle. Cutting flank steak against its grain is yet another way to fight its tough nature.

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