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All About Beef: Beef Flank!

Flank steak is a lean, flavorful, boneless cut favored in Asian cuisines. This thin, flat steak comes from a well-exercised part of the animal, as evidenced by its striated muscle fibers and connective tissue.


Flank Steak

Flank steak can be broiled or grilled, if it is marinated first. Flank steak is a lean, flavorful, boneless cut favored in Asian cuisines. This thin, flat steak comes from a well-exercised part of the animal, as evidenced by its striated muscle fibers and connective tissue. However, when marinated, broiled, and cut against the grain, flank steak becomes quite tender.

Varieties

    Although flank steak is known by several names, all refer to the same lean cut of meat.

Buying And Storing Tips

    Look for flank steak that has a clear, red color. Beef normally is purplish-red, but when exposed to oxygen, it takes on a cherry-red hue known as the "bloom." While the exterior is bright red, the interior of the meat retains the darker color. Vacuum-packed flank steak also shows this purplish color.

    Packaged flank steak should be cold and the packaging free of punctures or tears; vacuum-packed flank steak should have its seal intact. The beef should be firm to the touch. Check the label for the "sell-by" date and make sure to buy it on or before that date.

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    Store flank steak in its original packaging in the coldest part of the refrigerator, where it will keep for three to four days. It may be frozen in this packaging for up to two weeks. For longer freezing, wrap the meat in heavy-duty aluminum foil, freezer paper, or freezer bags.

    Securely-wrapped flank steak will keep 6 to 12 months in the freezer. Defrost the meat in the refrigerator, allowing 12 to 24 hours, depending on size and number of steaks. Cook as soon as possible after defrosting.

Availability

    Flank steak is often available in the grocery store meat cooler, though you may have to ask at the service desk.

Preparation, Uses, & Tips

    Flank steak can be broiled or grilled if it is marinated first. Marinades are seasoned liquids containing tenderizing ingredients, either acidic foods such as lemon juice, wine, vinegar, and tomato juice, or natural tenderizers such as pineapple, papaya, or ginger.

    Place the flank steak in an acid-resistant container, add marinade (¼ to ½ cup [59.1-118.3 ml] for each one to 2 pounds [0.45-0.90 kg] of meat), and turn to make sure the marinade touches all surfaces.

    Cover, and marinate in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight. Marinades can used to baste meat while cooking or make a sauce. However, once the marinades have come in contact with raw meat, never consume them unless they have been thoroughly cooked so that all microorganisms are destroyed.

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    To broil, place marinated flank steak on a broiling pan 2 to 3 inches (5-7.6 cm) from the heat source. Leave the oven door open, and broil 6 to 7 minutes on each side for medium rare, 9 minutes on each side for medium. Avoid overcooking, as it makes flank steak become tough.

    To grill, place marinated flank steak directly over the heat source and cook, uncovered, over medium heat for 17 to 21 minutes, turning once during cooking.

    To stuff and bake, prepare the stuffing mixture and lay the flank steak flat on a work surface. Spread stuffing over the surface of the steak, then roll up the meat as if it were a jelly roll. Tie every 2 inches (5 cm) with cotton string. Place in a baking pan and bake at 350°F (177°C) for 40 minutes. Cool slightly before slicing.

    To braise, heat a skillet over medium-high heat, add oil, and brown steak on both sides. Add cooking liquid and seasonings. Reduce heat and simmer until tender, 1¼ to 1¾ hours.

Nutritional Highlights

    Beef (flank, cooked) - 3 oz. (85.05 grams)
    Calories: 192.1 kcals
    Protein: 22.4 grams
    Carbohydrates: 0.0 grams
    Total Fat: 10.6 grams
    Fiber: 0.0 grams

    *Foods that are an "excellent source" of a particular nutrient provide 20% or more of the Recommended Daily Value, based upon United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) guidelines. Foods that are a "good source" of a particular nutrient provide between 10 and 20% of the USDA Recommended Daily Value. Nutritional information and daily nutritional guidelines may vary in different countries. Please consult the appropriate organization in your country for specific nutritional values and the recommended daily guidelines.

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