Flank steak, when prepared correctly, is one of my favorite types of beef. The steak is cut from the abdominal muscles or lower chest of the cow1 and is usually classified as a “work meat.” Nevertheless, the flank steak is an overall lean piece of the cow and is often less expensive than more tender cuts such as the tenderloin.
For me, flank steak has a great trade-off between being not too expensive while having lots of flavor. The texture of the steak is at its best when you cook the steak medium to medium rare and cut against the grain before serving.
- Flank steak
- Oil (for searing the steak)
Optional, to finish (as shown in the image):
- (Black lava) salt
- Rosemary (fresh)
- Emersion circulator. I use an Anova, but any brand will do.
- Vacuum pouches + sealer or a zip-lock bags. I use a fairly cheap vacuum sealer from Foodsaver.
- Pan for searing the steak.
My preferred method for preparing flank steak is to use sous vide, this guarantees a perfectly cooked inside of the flank steak. However, due to the typical thinness of the cut, it is also possible to skip the sous vide step. In both cases: keep an eye on your pan when searing the meat; you can easily overcook it.
The recipe below uses the sous-vide method.
- Heat water bath at 56°C (for medium to medium-rare).
- Vacuum seal the flank steak (or put in a zip lock bag).
- Put the sealed steak in a water bath for roughly 1.5 hours. The total duration will depend on the thickness and whether you want to pasteurize the steak. A general rule: preferably 30 minutes longer than the other way around. The sous vide guide by Douglas Baldwin is a great resource for determining the total time.
- Finish the steak on the stove. I prefer to use a cast iron or stainless steel skillet on medium to high. Make sure not to overcook the steak as it will lose its lovely texture.
- (Optional) At the end of cooking, you can add butter and herbs to the pan and baste the steak to add flavor.
- Cut the steak in strips before serving and make sure to cut against the grain. Cutting against the grain shortens the muscle fibers in the meat, which results in a more tender steak.
- Serve with black lava salt, fresh rosemary, and freshly ground pepper.
Flank steak pairs pretty well with a radicchio salad, parmesan cheese, and broccoli puree.
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