Cut Beef - How to Slice Flank Steak
How to Cut Flank Steak
Flank steak is an extremely flavorful cut of meat, but it can be a little tough. If you trim the meat well and slice your steak the right way, though, you'll have tender slices of steak you can use in tons of delicious recipes!
In order to cut tender slices of flank steak, first you have to find the grain of the meat, or the direction the muscle fibers run. Hold the meat in place with a carving fork. Slice the meat against the grain, holding the knife at a 45 degree angle as you cut. Try to cut your slices into thin pieces, about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.Keep reading for tips on how to trim your flank steak!
Trimming Your Flank Steak
Slice under one small corner of the silver membrane with a knife.The silver skin on your flank steak is a thin membrane that covers one side of the steak. It should always be taken off before you cook the meat. Place the meat on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, slice under one small corner of the membrane.
Grab the membrane and pull upwards to remove it from the flank steak.Use the knife to slice the membrane away from the steak as you pull. Make sure you face the knife away from you to avoid accidentally cutting yourself.
Trim away any large pieces of fat.You’ll want to leave a little fat on the steak, since this adds moisture and flavor as it cooks, but you should trim off any large pieces or bands of fat from your steak. Use your knife to carefully cut the white pieces of fat from the steak, getting as close to the red meat as possible.
Slicing a Flank Steak
Find the grain of the meat.The grain refers to the way the muscle fibers are aligned. In flank steaks, the grain usually runs long-ways down the steak. The grain is usually easy to spot in this cut. It will look like long lines running along the length of the steak, and if you pull at the meat it should separate slightly along those lines.
Hold the steak in place with a carving fork.A carving fork usually has 2-3 large tines and will help keep the steak from sliding around as you slice it. If you’re right-handed, hold the carving fork in place with your left hand, and vice-versa if you’re left-handed.
Slice the meat against the grain.Slicing meat against the grain is the easiest way to tenderize a tough piece of meat. This is because it shortens the muscle fibers, so you don’t have to do all the hard work when you chew.
- You can slice the steak either before or after you cook it.
Cut the steak at a 45 degree angle.Hold your knife at a 45 degree angle to the steak as you cut instead of slicing straight down. Cutting the steak at an angle will keep it from being chewy, and it will give you slightly wider slices.
Cut thin slices of flank steak.You’ll want to cut your slices about – inch (0.64–1.27 cm) thick to help keep it tender. This is the perfect size for most popular flank steak recipes, such as carne asada or stir fry.
Cooking Your Steak
Cook your steak on the stovetop for stir fry.After slicing your flank steak, heat up a frying pan to medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of oil and let it heat until the oil starts to shimmer. Add your steak to the pan and let it cook for 3-4 minutes on each side for medium-rare steak. Check the internal temperature - it should be about 125–130 °F (52–54 °C).
Grill the steak for a smoky carne asada.If you like, you can marinate your flank steak before grilling it, or you can season it with salt and pepper if you prefer. Heat one side of a charcoal or gas grill to high heat and have the other side prepared for lower, indirect heat. Place the steak over the direct heat for 1-2 minutes on each side to get it seared. Move it to the cooler side, close the grill, and let it cook for a few more minutes until it’s cooked to your desired doneness. You can check the doneness by taking the temperature of the steak with a meat thermometer.
- For rare steaks, the temperature should be 130–140 °F (54–60 °C), for medium-rare 145 °F (63 °C), for medium 160 °F (71 °C) and for well-done at least 170 °F (77 °C).
Broil the steak in the oven for to combine grilling and indoor cooking.The broiler on your oven basically acts like a grill, except the heat comes from the top instead of the bottom and you can control the temperature more easily. Place the steak on a broiler pan on a baking sheet with a wire rack. Line the pan with aluminum foil for easy clean-up. Turn the broiler on high and broil the steak for 4-6 minutes on each side.
Video: Cutting against the grain and on a bias - new and improved video
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