Flank Steak: Its Location, Names, Flavor Profile, and Size

Flank steak is a popular cut of beef known for its good beef flavor and decent tenderness if cooked and cut properly. The flank steak’s size is impressive. Weighing between 2 and 4 pounds, it’s an excellent choice when cooking for a crowd. Its consistent shape and clear grain make the flank steak simple to cook, slice, and serve. It’s more than just a steak to cook and serve; – flank steak shines in various dishes. And if you have a favorite marinade or rub, this is the steak to try it on.

So, that’s a quick rundown on flank steak. More in-depth info and facts are waiting for you later in the article.

What is Flank Steak?

Flank steak is a very popular cut of beef from the cow’s flank, and while it might not look like your typical steak, don’t be fooled. Flank steak has a robust beefy flavor. It’s a lean cut, long in shape, but when you cook it just right and slice it against the grain, you’ll get a tender bite with a bit of chew. Generally, it measures between 0.5 to over 1 inch in thickness, which is perfect for a good sear on the outside while keeping the middle just how you like it, maybe medium-rare? That’s what I recommend.

Flank steak thickness ranges from half to over 1 inch
Flank steak thickness ranges from half to over 1 inch
Flank steak seasoned with salt and refrigerated for 24 hours

What Are the Other Names for Flank Steak?

Flank steak is also known as Beef Flank, Flank Steak Filet, Jiffy Steak, London Broil, and Plank Steak. While these names can sometimes vary by region, it’s good to remember that “flank steak” remains the most common term for this cut in the United States.

What Part of The Cow is Flank Steak?

Flank steak is a cut from the cow’s flank part. This part is right behind the plate and below the sirloin and loin. The muscles in this area get a lot of use, so the meat is tougher.

flank steak location on cow

Flank Steak Nutrition Facts

NutritionPortion size: 3 oz = 85 g
Calories165 kcal
Total Fat7.07 g
Protein23.6 g
Zinc4.34 mg
Potassium287 mg
Vitamin B-60.492 mg
Vitamin B-121.48 µg
Nutrition facts based on cooked 3-oz flank steak (choice-grade).

Nutrition data source: USDA.

Where to Buy Flank Steak?

Flank steak is as easy to find as other standard high-end beef cuts. When picking one out at the store, look for a flank steak without the membrane. Please stay away from flank steaks that either still have the membrane or look rough and damaged without it. Even though flank steak is lean, picking one with some marbling is a good idea. That’s why going for a higher-grade flank steak makes more sense.

What Are the Best Methods for Cooking Flank Steak?

Flank steak is a relatively thin cut of beef, so it’s best to cook it quickly over high heat. Many prefer using a grill because it can reach very high temperatures, ideal for achieving a perfect sear. Start by giving the steak a quick sear on the hottest part of the grill, then let it finish with some indirect heat. This cooking technique will give you a nice crust and that perfect medium-rare inside. 

A skillet is a good alternative if you don’t have a grill. Just remember a few things: make sure the skillet is super hot. If you want a good crust, the steak must be dry. I know many love to marinate their flank, and that’s cool. If that’s you, try a dry rub next time. Or, if you must marinate the flank steak, give it a good pat dry with a paper towel to get rid of excess moisture before it meets the pan.

Flank steak cooked in a cast iron skillet on the stovetop
Flank steak cooked in a cast iron skillet on the stovetop

And here’s a pro tip: Always slice that cooked flank steak super thin and against the grain. Trust me, if you slice it the other way, you’re in for a chewy surprise.

Cut flank steak against the grain. The yellow line indicates the grain direction, while the red line shows the cutting direction with the knife
Cut flank steak against the grain. The yellow line indicates the grain direction, while the red line shows the cutting direction with the knife
The result of cutting flank steak against the grain
The result of cutting flank steak against the grain

Is Flank Steak Tender or Tough?

By nature, flank steak leans more on the tough side. But here’s the magic: cook it right, and it’ll surprise you with its tenderness. Aim for medium-rare to medium, as going too far off will make it even tougher. A good marinade will make a difference, adding some tenderness. But, honestly, the way you slice it makes all the difference. All the prep in the world won’t help if you cut that steak too thick or along the fibers. Remember, always slice the flank steak thinly against the grain. It’s the golden rule if you want to unlock the tenderness potential of that flank steak.

What Does Flank Steak Taste Like?

Flank steak boasts a robust beefy flavor and achieves a medium-tender texture if cooked properly and then sliced thinly against the grain.

Flank steak cooked to medium-rare and sliced thin on a wooden board
Flank steak cooked to medium-rare and sliced thin on a wooden board

What is The Average Length, Width, and Weight of a Flank Steak?

On average, a flank steak measures about 12 inches in length and 5-6 inches in width. Regarding weight, most flank steaks fall between 2 and 4 pounds. What’s impressive is that despite being one of the larger and heavier steaks, the fat makes up just a small part of its composition.

What Is Flank Steak Used For?

Usually, flank steak is marinated, grilled, thinly sliced, and served with different sides. You’ll find it used in everything from Mexican dishes like tacos and fajitas to Asian stir-fries and sandwiches. Flank steak is suitable for grilling, skillet cooking, oven-roasting, and braising. It greatly benefits from marinades, unlike other steak cuts like ribeye or new york strip, which often need only salt and pepper. In my opinion, grilling is the best way to get the most flavor out of this cut.

Is Flank Steak Expensive?

Flank steak sits somewhere in the middle when it comes to price. It’s not as fancy as filet mignon, ribeye, or a porterhouse, but it’s been getting more popular recently, so it’s not among the cheapest cuts anymore. Just remember, the price can change a lot depending on where you’re at, what grade the beef is, and which store you’re in.

Is Flank Steak The Same as Skirt Steak?

People often confuse flank steak with skirt steak. However, they’re not the same thing. While you might find some recipes that suggest using them as if they were identical, they’re two different cuts of beef.

Flank steak on top, skirt steak on the bottom.
Flank steak on top, skirt steak on the bottom

Is Flank Steak The Same as Flat Iron Steak?

Flank steak isn’t the same as flat iron steak; they’re two different cuts of beef. If you’re curious about the differences, look at my article comparing Flank vs. Flat Iron Steak.

Flank steak on top, flat iron steak on the bottom
Flank steak on top, flat iron steak on the bottom

What is Similar to Flank Steak?

Hanger steak, skirt steak, and flap steak (also known as bavette steak) are similar to flank steak in cooking techniques, slicing, and beef flavor. They differ mainly in tenderness, fat content, and location on the cow. But all these cuts share enough in common to use them interchangeably in recipes like tacos or fajitas.

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Written by: Adam Wojtow

Adam Wojtow is a Polish entrepreneur and writer who founded Steak Revolution in 2020 because of his passion for steaks. Adam has been cooking steaks for over 5 years, so he understands well all aspects of steak, from the types of steaks and their cooking times to choosing the best cooking technique for any steak.