What is Flank Steak?

What is flank steak, and why is it so popular in the United States? You may have heard of this medium-rare specialty steak by one of its other names—London Broil. If you are wondering how to cook it and why most people are not aware that they have eaten it, here is everything you need to know about flank steak.

What is Flank Steak, Exactly?

Knowing your beef cuts is essential if you want to fully develop your meat lover’s palette, but what is flank steak? Here is some surprising news about this steak: it is not actually “meat,” it is muscle. As one of the most flavorful steaks available, flank steak is on the tough side because muscle works hard.

If you know how to cook it, flank steak makes for a delicious meal. The right preparation is all this meat needs to provide a perfect steak cooked in a single slab of flavor. The flank is about an inch thick on one end and tapers down to about half an inch on the other.

Flank steak is in the lean steak category. You will typically see muscle fibers on one side of the steak, and its deep red tinge makes it easy to recognize. When shopping, deep red indicates freshness (brownish hues show longer exposure to oxygen).

Other Names for Flank Steak

In beef appreciation circles, flank steak is often called London Broil. The telling title refers to a cooking technique, not a cut of meat. Other names for flank steak include:

The cut is popular worldwide, with each country using its own name for flank steak. A local butcher or grocery store will usually use “flank steak” or “London Broil.”  A handy tip is to ask the butcher whether their “London Broil” is a Top Round or a flank steak, though. Flank steak and Top Round are similar in texture but not identical.

Where Do Flank Steaks Come from On the Cow?

Flank steak fully describes where the cut comes from—the “flank” of the cow. The flank steak typically comes from the abdominal muscle right under the cow’s lower chest. It is part of the animal’s underbelly, which is a very hardworking area of the body and tends to develop muscular strength.

What Does Flank Steak Taste Like?

Flank steak has little fat, but that does not mean this popular steak is short on flavor. If you like a meaty flavor, this steak offers umami deliciousness in spades. Some fans even say that flank steak has one of the boldest, beefiest flavors available, but it also takes on other flavors well.

Where To Buy Flank Steak Online

You can buy flank steak online; an impressive number of vendors sell it this way. Remember to choose a vendor with great reviews and an established business for the freshest quality. Most reputable online vendors master the shipping of perishable goods like a flank steak by vacuum-sealing their products and ensuring prompt delivery.

Cooking Methods

The standard approach for flank steak worldwide is in the broiler for the famous ‘London Broil’ method. However, if you like the beefiness of flank steak, the best way to cook it is on the grill for some extra smoky flavor. You can also pan-fry it easily, but the resulting steak will not offer the same delicious and complex ensemble as a medium-rare London Broil with a nice crust of spices.

Nutrition & Calories

On average, steak lovers can expect to find flank steak a healthy option. The following nutritional value applies to a 3-oz serving of flank steak:

  • 163 calories,
  • 7 grams of fat, and
  • no carbohydrates.

As a leaner option, a flank steak is one of the lowest fat-content steaks available.

Recipes for Flank Steak

The lower fat percentage in this steak cut means that you will need to tenderize the meat before cooking it. Try this simple marinade for great flavor:

  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp of rosemary

Let the meat soak for up to four hours in the refrigerator, then add the dry rub. And, what is flank steak or any beef cut without a thick coating of kosher salt, ground pepper, and spices to give it the kick it needs?

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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.