How to Cook Bavette Steak

Bavette, also known as flap steak, is a flat, highly-flavored, loose-textured cut of steak, also known as the “butcher’s cut,” as it is said that butchers saved it for themselves.

The name comes from the French, who refer to it as bavette, or literally “bib.”

Bavette steak is excellent in several recipes, including fajitas, steak salads, steak enchiladas, Asian stir-fries, or on its own, served with a delicious pan sauce. Bavette also makes excellent steak jerky.

Usually, grilling, pan-frying, broiling, or braising increases the tenderness of this cut. If you’re cooking a meal for people with different preferences on their steak’s doneness or where you need your meat to go that little bit further, bavette steak should be your preferred pick.

What is a Bavette Steak

Bavette steak comes from the abdominal muscles or lower chest area of the cow. This grainy cut of meat is incredibly flavorful but can be tough to work with due to its highly-exercised nature.

It is also sold as flap meat, but you may see it at the supermarket or butcher’s labeled as sirloin tip because it runs from the sirloin or hip through the flank between the hind leg and the porterhouse.

The cut is also typical in two of Latin America’s largest meat-eating countries. In Colombia, it is known as sobrebarriga, meaning “over the belly,” and in Brazil as fraldinha or “little diaper.”

Where and How to Buy

Always buy bavette steak from quality butchers or a supermarket butchery with knowledgeable staff. Because it has the same taste profile as flank steak, the two cuts are often confused, so you need to buy from someone who understands their meat.

Look out for a fresh, bright red piece of meat with quite a lot of marbling and a nice, tender texture. The grain and muscle fibers should be quite loose-looking, with clear spaces in between. This feature will ensure that any rubs and marinades you use will seep into the cut, resulting in a flavorful steak.

How to Cook Bavette Steak

We recommend grilling or pan-frying this steak cut as it produces a highly flavorful result.

When grilling or pan-frying bavette, it typically has a thin end and a thick end, which means that it will cook unevenly. You’ll need to keep a keen eye out because the thinner end cooks faster than the thicker end.

Before seasoning, trim off excess fat, and then rub on your preferred dry rub or marinade.

Cook this steak cut as you would any other until it reaches a safe internal temperature of 130°F for medium, 125°F for medium-rare, and 120°F for rare. Do not cook bavette steak beyond medium as it continues to cook as it rests.

Let your steak rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing to allow all the juices to redistribute evenly throughout the meat, making it more flavorful. You always want to slice bavette steak against the grain to ensure that the pieces you serve have the correct texture and are extra tender to eat.

Seasoning the Steak

To season this cut, generously use a dry rub of your choice, such as a Mexican-inspired rub or classic steak seasoning. It can also be as simple as coarse ground black pepper and sea salt.

You could also use a wet marinade made up of savory ingredients such as garlic, soy sauce, and barbecue sauce. Let the steak marinate for up to 12 hours before cooking.

Preparing the Grill

To grill bavette, set up your grill or smoker as follows:

  • Use the two-zone heat method on the grill with hot coals on one side.
  • Preheat the smoker to 225°F to enable smoking and low-heat grilling.

Both methods will yield a tender and juicy cut that won’t dry out or result in an uneven cook.

Cooking Bavette Steak

Bavette is best grilled using the two-zone or direct/indirect method mentioned above. This technique allows a good sear for both sides initially, followed by moving the steak to indirect heat to finish.

Once your grill or smoker is ready, put the meat down with the thicker end closer to the direct or hotter zone, but not on it. You do not want to sear the steak when you start cooking it—you want the meat to cook slowly to ensure the middle gets warm.

In a separate pan, combine some butter with tallow (rendered animal fat) on the grill; the tallow prevents the butter from burning and intensifies the flavor. Just as the tallow and butter start to smoke, lay the bavette steak on the high-temperature side of the grill.

Cook your bavette steak on either side for a total of 3 to 7 minutes, depending on the doneness you prefer. Keep flipping it to keep the cooking even, and baste it occasionally with the butter and tallow to retain the juiciness.

After about three minutes, use a meat thermometer to check the steak’s internal temperature (it should be approximately 115°F. When done to your liking, set the meat on a foil-lined plate and allow to rest 5 to 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Flank steak on a wooden chopping Board. Gray background, top vie

Finish and Eat!

How you serve your steak will depend on how you like it. Bavette steak is best served rare, medium-rare, or medium, and sliced into thin pieces for a tender and juicy result.

When grilled, bavette is best served in fajitas, steak enchiladas, or on its own with a flavorful sauce such as chimichurri or herb-butter on the side.

About the author

Adam can tell you the difference between a flank steak and skirt steak and any other cut of meat. He loves sharing his knowledge of steaks with everyone, ensuring you get the perfect steak every time.