My wife is typically a person who prefers grilled seafood or chicken. But occasionally, she has a craving for steak. Ever since she was a young girl, her favorite steak was the flank steak. She liked it so much that she requested it each year for her birthday dinner while growing up. Her father was an accomplished cook and great griller, and would marinate the steak overnight in Catalina dressing. She still talks about those steaks from her childhood.
The flank steak is technically not even a steak. It is the hard working section of the cow that is under the belly. The muscle fibers are long and lean, and the cut is low in fat. It has a rich and beefy flavor, but because of the muscle structure and so little fat, the challenge is to serve a tender cut of meat. Once you are done with this column you'll know just how to do it.
This cut of meat is popular in other cultures, under different names. The consistency from one culture to the next is that it is marinated and served in small pieces, whether stir fry or tacos. Here in the states, the flank steak was considered a scrap piece of meat and was very inexpensive. As people have learned to prepare it properly, it has become a sought-after cut, with the price moving upward. We paid around $7 per pound, which still isn't bad for a nice cut of beef.
Liz's Marinade Recipe
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 2 Tbs sesame oil
- 1 Tbs honey
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes or 2 tsp Sriracha pepper sauce
Combine and stir all ingredients other than the vegetable oil. Then slowly drizzle in the vegetable oil while vigorously whisking to emulsify. Place the flank steak in a large zip lock bag and pour marinade in bag. Allow to sit in the fridge for a minimum of four hours, or better yet, overnight.
Have the grill (gas or charcoal) pretty darn hot. I used real wood charcoal. Allow the steak to sit at room temperature for fifteen minutes then place directly over coals or flame. Grill for five minutes or so. Turn and grill for another five minutes. This meat is best served rare to medium rare. Once you take it off the grill, allow it to sit for five minutes. With a very sharp knife, cut on the bias (against the grain) thinly, and serve quickly.
Give it a try. You will enjoy this delicious, rich cut of beef.
Dave Lobeck is a barbecue chef from Sellersburg, Ind., who writes the "BBQ My Way" column for CNHI News Service. Visit his website at www.BBQ-My-Way.com.