How you cut your flank steak has a direct impact on its tenderness. Therefore, if you want a delicious and tender steak, you need to concentrate on the grilling process and cutting. So, what is the right way to cut a flank steak?
The right way to cut a flank steak is to do it across the grain to reduce muscle fibers to make the meat easy to chew. Whether you are cutting your flank steak raw or cooked, you are supposed to do it the same way, and the whole purpose of this is to ensure that you make it tender.
The first step to cutting a flank steak against the grain is to determine the direction of the muscle fiber. Luckily, most flank steaks are rectangular, with the muscle fibers running across the length of the meat. Hence, determining the muscle fibers’ direction won’t be an uphill task. However, there is more to cutting a flank steak perfectly.
What Is Flank Steak?
To correctly cut a flank steak, it is good to understand what it is. A flank steak is a cut from the abdominal muscles of a cow. The flank steak comes from the part that helps the cow to walk. Therefore, it is lean, tough, and contains long muscle fibers. This explains why it is necessary to slice the steak against the meat’s grain.
The flank steak is also referred to as the London Broil due to its popularity in the city. Other alternative names for the flank steak are the Jiffy and Filet. Further, it is known as Bavette steak in French and Arrachera in Spanish.
Buying A Flank Steak
While there is no doubt that a flank steak is quite delicious, buying the wrong steak will dilute its sweetness. Therefore, whether you intend to grill your flank steak or cook fajitas, you must ensure that you get the best quality. Here are some essential points you should put at the back of your mind when shopping for the best flank steak.
- A brown flank steak – A brown steak is an indication that the steak has been exposed to air for a long time
- Too much fat on the steak – if the flank steak has a lot of fats, it has not been trimmed well. Avoid such a steak.
- Purchase your flank meat from a store with a large meat section to ensure that you are getting a fresh product
- Liaise with the butcher if you prefer purchasing it from a butcher so that you can know when it is available. It is the best way to avoid buying a steak that has been in the store for a long time.
- Avoid packages with liquid on the tray’s bottom or even tears.
How To Cut Flank Steak Against The Grain
Although the flank steak is quite flavorful and delicious, it can be a tough piece of meat if you do not cut it correctly. Fortunately, you can cut your flank steak after or before cooking, depending on how you intend to prepare it. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to correctly cut a flank steak.
1. Gather Your Tools
To ensure that nothing prevents you from executing the job flawlessly, you must ensure that you have all the necessary tools at your disposal. It would help to have a quality serrated knife, carving fork, and chopping board.
2. Identify The Grain Of The Meat
Once you have all the necessary tools, the next step is to identify the meat’s grain. Identifying the meat’s grain should never be a complex task considering that most stores sell their flank steak in a rectangular shape. The muscle fibers of the meat normally run across the length of the meat. Carefully inspect the meat to determine the direction of the muscles fibers (the grain of the meat).
3. Cut The Meat
The cutting process should be easy once you have identified the meat’s grain. Hold the meat on the chopping board with your carving fork, and cut it against the grain while carving off thin slices to maximize the surface area of the cuts.
Tips To Remember When Cutting The Flank Steak
Since how you cut your flank steak can have a direct impact on the final meal, ensure that you do it perfectly. The following tips will help ensure that you have a delicious flank steak.
1. Invest In A Meat Thermometer
It is easy to wonder what a meat thermometer would play when slicing a flank steak. The truth is that even if you perfectly slice the meat, you will not achieve much if it is not well cooked. Use a meat thermometer to check its internal temperature before you can remove it from the cutting surface for cutting.
2. Keep Some Fats
Keep some fats from the meat when slicing it instead of getting rid of every portion of the fats. Leaving some fats is necessary as it ensures that meat is more flavorful when cooked.
3. Let It Rest
It is essential to let your flank steak rest for some minutes before you can start slicing it. The significance of this is to allow the meat to reabsorb its juices and redistribute evenly.
How To Cut Flank Steak For Fajitas
The flank steak is the best for making fajitas due to its high ability to take marination. In addition, some people like the flank steak in fajitas because you can cook it using simple methods.
To perfectly cut the flank steak for fajitas, you must ensure that you cut it against the grain. By cutting the flank steak against the grain and allowing it to rest for about five minutes, you infuse the best flavor into your fajita while ensuring that the steak is soft and delicious.
Tips For Making The Best Fajitas At Home
Whether you are experienced in making fajitas or you are making them for the first time, there are a few things that you can do to make the best. Here are some of the essential tips to consider when looking to make great fajitas at home.
- Marinate your flank steak ahead of time – marinating your steak 3 hours before the cooking time allows the muscle fibers of the meat to soak the flavor before the grilling.
- Avoid overcooking the steak. For the best flavor and texture, cook your flank steak to medium rare.
- Ensure that you slice your flank steak thinly against the grain. Cutting the steak against the grain shortens the muscle fibers, making the meat soft.
- Use fresh tortillas. Home-made fresh tortillas will make a difference in your fajitas.
How To Cut Flank Steak For Stir Fry
The secret to preparing delicious stir-fries is to use a loose-textured steak that can absorb a variety of flavorings. Further, the cut should be beefy enough to stand on its own. The flank steak is one of the best cuts for cooking stir fries.
The trick for delicious stir fries is to cut the flank steak into bite-size pieces that cook rapidly and are more tender. In addition to ensuring that the cuts are small, it is prudent to cut your flank steak against the grain and in the right shape to make it tender.
Slicing a flank steak is simple as long as you know what you want. The secret to well-sliced flank steak is to ensure that you cut it against the grain of the meat to make it tender. Remember that the tools at your disposal can negatively affect the entire process. Therefore, go for the best knife and chopping board to ensure they do not prevent you from correctly cutting your flank steak.
Scot has loved smoking food in his free time for the last few years. Each major holiday or off-weekend, Scot spends days testing and prepping new recipes for perfection.