If you are a meat lover like us, you are well aware that flank steak is a fantastic cut of meat, but it can be a bit too tough. However, those who are experts at cutting flank steak can make tender slices of this beautiful cut of meat. As a result, it can be used in tons and tons of delicious and mouth-watering recipes.
Unfortunately, many people aren’t aware or even forget how to correctly cut this cut of steak, which ultimately means that they end up serving a dish that can be quite chewy and unpleasant. Incorrectly cutting it can also make the texture seem like it has been overcooked.
To avoid all of this from happening in your own kitchen, we will be giving you some top tips on how to correctly cut a flank steak.
What Is Flank Steak?
Flank steak is known to be chunky and meaty. This is a cut that tends to pack a lot of punch due to its grainy and bulky texture. This cut of the meat comes from right under the belly of the cow. It carries the weight of the cow, which means that this cut is a well-worked muscle and builds up all its strength from daily exercise. This strength, in turn, becomes the grain.
While the grain does make the flank steak chewy and bulky, it also makes it unique and delicious. If you correctly cut this cut of meat, you are assured of having an amazing experience. The flank steak’s unique flavor is why it is often considered an essential cut of meat for griddle cooking.
Difference between Flank Steak and Skirt Steak
Flank steak and skirt steak both come from the underbelly of the cow, but Flank is muscle and Skirt is actually the diaphragm. This means that Skirt is one of the most used muscles and as a result it is tougher, making it more flavorful. Flank steak muscle fibers are much more tightly packed together than Skirt which means it does not absorb marinades so readily.
How to Buy the Perfect Flank Steak?
If you are planning on buying a flank steak, then we recommend that you go to your local butcher. This is because the meat there will be much fresher and will bring out more of the flavor when it touches the griddle plate. Steaks from a supermarket are not an ideal choice because they have been frozen multiple times and could be left on the shelf for ages.
When you do buy a flank steak, keep a close eye on its color. The color of this cut of meat should be deep and red. If that is fine, then closely observe its bulk. It should have an even thickness throughout and should have no lumps. Also, make sure that the meat is firm, and the sides are smooth.
Now when it comes to buying flank steak, you will also need to keep a close eye on its grain. The grain is what makes the flank steak what it is, which is chunky, meaty, and packed with a ton of flavor. These muscle fibers ensure that these lines are defined clearly and also go from one side to another.
The flank steak also has fat, but make sure that this stays concentrated on the sides only. The best kinds of flank steaks tend to be lean because the flavor needs to come from the grain and not from the fat.
Cutting Flank Steak
Now that you have a good understanding of how to select a good piece of flank steak, it is time you know how to cut it correctly to ensure you get maximum flavor out of it. For flank steak, we recommend that you slice it.
Below, you will find a step-by-step guide to slicing flank steak correctly.
Step 1: Cut of the Silverskin
If your piece of steak has come with silverskin on it, then you must cut it out. With the help of a kitchen knife, slice under the skin on one of the corners of the meat. Now, grab the membrane and begin pulling the skin out with your hand. Ensure that you are doing this gently and keep slicing away with the knife as you are pulling.
Step 2: Find the Grain of the Steak
As mentioned earlier, the grain is the way the muscle fibers are aligned. Flank steaks will typically have a grain that runs long ways down the steak.
Thankfully, the grain is fairly easy to find in this cut of meat. This will look like long lines that run along the length of the meat. If you are pulling the meat, then it should separate slightly along these lines only.
Step 3: Hold the Steak with a Carving Fork
You will find that a carving fork tends to have about two to three large tines. This is ideal as it will help the steak from moving around while you are slicing it. If you are right-handed, you will need to hold the fork with your left hand and vice-versa if you are left-handed.
Step 4: Slice the Meat
Once you have your fork down in place, begin to slice the steak against the grain; this is the easiest way you will be able to tenderize such a tough piece of meat. This is mainly because it will shorten the muscle fibers.
Cutting the steak against the grain, in turn, means that you will not have to do much hard work when you chew it. As a side note, you can also do this after you are done cooking the steak.
Step 5: Cut the Steak at a 45-degree Angle
When you begin slicing the steak, try to hold your knife at a 45-degree angle instead of slicing it straight down. Keeping the knife and cutting at a 45-degree angle will keep the steak from becoming chewy and, at the same time, will give you slightly wider slices.
Step 6: Cut Thin Slices of the Flank Steak
When it comes to the thickness of these slices you will be cutting, aim to keep it anywhere between a quarter to half-inch thick. This will keep the meat tender. You will also find that this particular size is considered to be quite popular for several flank steak recipes like stir fry or carne asada.
As you can see, cutting flank steak is quite an easy thing to do. With the help of our article, we are certain that you will be able to cut your flank steak perfectly and get the most flavor out of it.