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What Is The Difference Between Flank Steak And Skirt Steak

Episode 4: At the Table with Robert Irvine, Sponsored by Stop & Shop

Even though skirt steak is the best flank steak substitute, both beef cuts are pretty different. Intense muscles present in skirt steak make it a unique choice. It got a diverse fan base due to its muscular flavor.

You will enjoy the taste of skirt steak if you barbecue or roast it. Besides, it is a perfect beef cut for preparing pan-fried dishes.

Flank steak has several more recipes, and its flavor is also quite different. Regular beef eaters can easily spot the difference between the flavor and texture of both types of beef cuts. Therefore, you should not mistake skirt steak for flank steak.

Flank Steak With Horseradish Sauce

  • Serves
  • Cooking time15mins

Store-bought mesquite marinade makes quick work of a flavorful steak: this is a great main dish when you need something nice on the table in no time. Serve with a delicious sour cream horseradish sauce and a side of roasted potatoes. Delicious.

Add ingredients to cart

  • 1 ½ lb flank steak, 1-inch thick
  • ½ cup mesquite-flavored marinade
  • ½ cup fat-free sour cream
  • 1 tbsp chopped green onion
  • 1 tbsp prepared horseradish
  • 1 tsp honey mustard

Should You Buy Tenderized Flank Steak

Flank steak is quite thin and lean. However, you should buy it tenderized to maintain that soft and juicy texture of the meat. The cooking time will decrease and the dish will taste quite delicious.

Flank steak is cheap, delicious, and always in demand. Suppose you cannot get this beef cut, try other substitutes recommended in this post. Your recipe will taste equally great and steak fans will admire your cooking skills!

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How Flat Iron Is Different From Flank Steak

The flat iron is produced from the cows shoulder and neck. Flank is produced from the rump or lower back of the cow. Many retailers mark flat iron as top edge steak. Both beef cuts got different flavors.

However, the flat iron is a delicious alternative when flank steak isnt available for the recipe!

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, its 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.

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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, its 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.

Braising Flank Makes A Great Gravy

To break down and tenderize the connective tissues in the muscle, braising is the best way to go. You can braise thick pieces by cutting the flank steak into four or five portions.

Another method is to cut slices and pound them to tenderize. Then add a filling, roll and stick with a toothpick to make roulades.

Once the meat is ready, you can brown it in a deep skillet, add your cooking liquid and simmer for 2 to 3 hours. Flanks beefy flavor enhances any sauce youre making with it.

Although stir-frying is a quick cook method, youll find flank steak will be too chewy. Some of its substitutes will make better choices.

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Best Substitutes For Flank Steak

Once upon time, flank steak was considered a lowly cut of beef, often discarded or ground into hamburger. By nature, it’s tough. And a tough cut of beef used to be synonymous with an inexpensive cut of beef . As its name suggests, flank steak comes from the cow’s flank or, the muscle located on the belly or underside of the cow, below the loin and rib cage.

While flank steak had a loyal fan base in Tex-Mex and Southwest cooking styles, home chefs in other parts of the United States were puzzled over how to prepare it. Toss it on the grill and you’d end up with a tasteless, chewy hunk of meat. Make the mistake of cutting it with the grain and you may as well be serving shoe leather. Then along came the Food Network with its roster of cooking shows and charismatic chefs introducing regional flavors and specialities to a national audience, and we got more ideas.

In the case of flank steak, we learned how to marinate and slice the bargain-priced cut of meat to make sizzling fajitas and overstuffed burritos. Gradually, we expanded our horizons to incorporate flank steak into Asian-inspired dishes like Mongolian beef and Italian braciole . And the rest, as they say, is history.

Fast forward a few decades and that once lowly cut of meat with an equally low price point is now one of the most popular beef cuts in the United States. In most major markets, you’ll find it priced at, or near, the cost per pound for grill-favorite sirloin strip steak.

How To Grill Flank Steak

Grilled Coffee Rubbed Sirloin Steak | Savory by Stop & Shop

When you use the right grilling techniques, grilled steak is one of the most delectable proteins you can put on your plate. Although flank steak is a thinner cut that can dry out easily, its just right for the grill, especially with a little practice and a yummy marinade.

Use this guide to learn all about how to grill flank steak while keeping it moist and tender.

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How To Make Beer

  • Prepare the meat. The trick to a perfect grilled flank steak is for the meat to be sliced very thinly before marinading it. For thicker pieces, butterfly slice the meat so that it is no more than ½ inch thick. If you pre-order your flank steak, ask your butcher to slice it very thinly for you. Place the sliced meat into a sealable plastic bag.
  • Make the marinade. Mix these ingredients in a bowl: pineapple, paprika, cayenne pepper, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, lime juice, and salt.
  • Combine the marinade and the meat. Pour the marinade onto the meat in the sealable bag. Add the avocado oil and enough lager-style beer to cover the meat. Push the air from the bag and seal it. Massage the contents of the bag to mix the marinade into the meat. Place the bag in a refrigerator for 24 hours.
  • Time to grill! Because it is sliced thin, the meat will grill rather quickly. Place the meat on a heated grill for about 6 minutes per side.
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    Find The Right Temperature

    Use a digital meat thermometer to find the accurate temperature of flank steak. Because this cut is thinner than others, it might look not quite done enough on the outside but done more than youd like it on the inside. Once you become more familiar with grilling it, youll get a good idea of its look and feel for the level of doneness you like, but the only way to know for sure what temperature it is inside is with a meat thermometer.

    Check flank steak on the grill by inserting the probe into its thickest part and comparing that temperature to the remove from heat temperature in the chart above to determine when to pull it from the grill. Then, temp the steak again after resting to ensure that its reached your ideal doneness temperature.

    Interesting Facts About Flank Steak


    Flank steak is the only whole cut that comes from the flank primal basically, the abs of the animal. The steak must be trimmed away from the cut as it is sheathed in a layer of fat. The flank primal also contains some longer, tougher muscles which are used to make ground beef.

    The muscle that makes up flank steak is the 19th most tender on the animal. It is one of the toughest cuts that is still recommended for grilling.

    The French call this cut “bavette de flanchet.” Bavette means bib. In Spain and some other Spanish-speaking countries, the cut is called “bife de vacio.” Vacio means empty or gap.

    Carne asada, a popular Mexican-style preparation for taco or burrito meat, is made with flank or skirt steak.

    The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association identifies the cut with UPC number 1581. You may see this number in the UPC code on the beef package label at the supermarket.

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    Stop By The Butcher Shop For The Freshest Meats And Local Produce

    Why purchase meat and produce from a grocery store that comes from who knows where? We have such excellent, fresh meat and produce available to us locally! The Butcher Shop is your one-stop-shop for locally sourced meats and produce from farms right here in Southern Oregon. At TBS, youll find the perfect cut of meat for your meal, plus fresh-baked loaves of bread, fresh fruit and vegetables, local wine and beers, and even quality food specifically for your canine. Stop by today or call ahead to pre-order your ingredients.Beer-Marinated Flank Steak

    What Is Flank Steak Where Does It Come From

    The name gives it away. Flank steak comes from the flank of the steer below the loin and sirloin.

    It sits in the abdominal area of the animal near the bottom. It helps the cow to twist and walk, so the muscle works A LOT. It is tough, lean and has long thick muscle fibers.

    One end is about ¾ to one-inch thick tapering down to about 1/2 inch on the thinner end. Sometimes youll see some fat on the thinner end. The muscle sits in an area surrounded by fat, but itself is very lean.

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    If You Cant Find Flank Use These Cuts

    There are two cuts of meat that have the long striations of muscle similar to flank. They are hanger and skirt steaks.

    Comparing skirt steak to flank steak, skirt is longer and thinner. It comes from the diaphragm muscles, and it is the most popular cut for the Mexican favorites, Carne Asada and Fajitas. It tends to have more fat than flank, making it juicier and more tender. Its an uncommon cut, so you may have to ask the butcher for it or shop in a market that caters to shoppers from south of the border.

    Hanger steak resembles skirt steak more than flank. It is long and thin with lots of fat between the muscles. They call this the Butchers Cut because there is only one steak like this per animal and the butchers would take it for themselves.

    If you cant find flank steak for your recipe, ask for hangar and treat yourself to a delicious cut of beef.

    There is one other cut of beef that cooks use to substitute for flank in a pinch. Its the flat iron steak. Although the lean muscle has the same long muscle fibers, they are much finer.

    A flat muscle near the shoulder blade, the flat irons taste and texture are probably closer to that of the N.Y. strip than flank. You may find it labeled as a petite tender or a top blade steak.

    If your recipe calls for flank, and you cant find it, skirt steak and hanger steak are your best substitutes.

    How To Broil Flank Steak

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    Your broiler can do more than just melt cheese. Case in point: this Simple Broiled Flank Steak with Herb Oil . 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.

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    Fast Grilling Keeps The Meat Tender

    When I say hot and fast, if you can dangle it behind a jets afterburner, thats what you want. Otherwise, use a scorching charcoal fire and sear for just a few minutes on each side before slicing, the afterburner steak method is perfect.

    You dont want to cook it past medium-rare, or it will get chewy. Let the steak rest for about ten minutes before you slice it.

    And when you cut it, make sure its across the grain and cut on the bias. That means dont hold your knife straight up and down like slicing bread. Instead, hold the knife at a 45-degree angle to make wider slices.

    The beauty of flank steak is that it absorbs the flavors of any rub or marinade easily as its thin and theres so much surface area between the string-like muscle fibers. This is what makes it one of the most popular steaks for grilling.

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    No Fuss Salisbury Steak

    This No Fuss Salisbury Steak is easy and delicious- our kind of recipe. That’s because it’s made with ground beef on a skillet, in no time at all!

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    Total TimeCalories



















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    Which Is Better: Skirt Steak Or Flank Steak

    Skirt steak and flank steak are such similar cuts that it’s hard to say which one is better. Every animal is different, so a skirt steak from one animal could be more tender and flavorful than a flank steak from another, and vice versa. If you aren’t sure which one to buy, ask the butcher for a recommendation. The two can be used interchangeably in recipes.

    What Else Do They Call Flank Steak

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    One of the most common names for flank steak is London Broil.

    Youll sometimes see it written that way in the grocery store or on a menu. However, stores also use top round as London Broil so you need to know what it looks like to be sure youre buying the right cut.

    When in doubt, ask the person at the meat counter.

    Two lesser known terms are Flank Steak Fillet and Jiffy Steak. If you happen to be in an ethnic market or out of the country, look for Bavette steak in French and Arrachera in Spanish.

    Flank is prized by cooks and chefs around the world for its flavor and texture, so its available in most countries and hence due to language differences, under different names.

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    What Is A Good Substitute For Flank Steak 11 Options Here

    Flank steak is a protein-rich beef cut prepared from the cows abdominal muscles. Its pretty lean and quite delicious. People love flank steak because its flavor is quite tasty.

    What if you prepare a flank steak recipe, but the main ingredient is missing? Can you use a substitute to make an equally delicious meal for your guests?

    Yes, you can use a flank steak substitute to prepare the delicious meal for dinner.

    Bonus: For those who are looking for the best oil for searing steak, check out our latest research here.

    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 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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    Choosing The Right Cut

    Youll find lots of different options for flank steak when you buy it. The most common choice is USDA Prime, Choice, or Select. USDA Prime denotes the best marbling of these options, which leads to the most tender steaks when cooked properly.

    You might also find dry-aged and wet-aged flank steaks. While either is an excellent option, dry-aging takes a bit more time to break down tough steak tissue, which is beneficial for flank steak youll put on the grill.

    How To Cook Flank Steak On The Stove

    Marinade of the Month Savory

    All you need is a large skillet 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.

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