If you want to enjoy a juicy and flavorful steak without straining your wallet, the flat iron steak is your go-to choice. In this article, I will guide you through the characteristics of this steak, including its appearance and taste, nutritional value, cost, and location on the cow.
What is a Flat Iron Steak?
The flat iron steak is a hidden gem among beef cuts. It originates from the cow’s chuck area, typically known for tougher cuts. However, the flat iron steak is an exception, as it ranks as the second most tender cut on a cow after the Tenderloin.
What sets the flat iron steak apart is not only its exceptional tenderness but also its robust, beefy flavor. I love this cut because it combines the best aspects of steaks – flavor and tenderness. Additionally, a notable advantage of the flat iron steak is its affordability, especially when compared to premium cuts like ribeye or filet mignon.
The steak gets its name from its appearance, which resembles a traditional metal flat iron. As you can see in the example photos below, the flat iron steak is rectangular and maintains a consistent thickness throughout the cut.
Other Names for Flat Iron Steak
Flat iron steak is the most popular name for this cut in the United States. However, in some regions, it is also known as Book Steak, Butler Steak, or Boneless Top Chuck Steak.
Where Does the Flat Iron Steak Come From on a Cow?
The flat iron steak comes from the shoulder of the cow, more specifically, the chuck primal cut. The steak is part of the top blade roast, which sits just above the shoulder blade.
To better understand where the flat iron steak comes from, I suggest watching this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ocz8GpfI5nk.
Buying Flat Iron Steak
Your local butcher is typically the best source for finding a flat iron steak. However, if this cut is unavailable in your area, consider checking out online butcher shops. Many retailers offer flat iron steaks in different grades. Here are some of the most popular steak delivery services you can consider:
- Snake River Farms
- Porter Road
- Omaha Steaks
- Kansas City Steak Company
- Crowd Cow
Pay special attention to the thickness of the steak. If a steak is too thin, it becomes extremely challenging to achieve medium-rare doneness, especially when cooking in a skillet. Although flat iron steak is naturally thin, some vendors might offer it in an even slimmer form.
Flat Iron Steak Nutrition
|Nutrition||Portion size: 4 oz = 113 g|
|Total Fat||7.02 g|
|Vitamin B-6||0.441 mg|
|Vitamin B-12||4.96 µg|
Data source: USDA.
Flat Iron Steak Cooking Techniques
The flat iron steak is relatively thin, so it’s best to cook it quickly at high temperatures. Based on my experience, preparing flat iron steak on a hot grill or in a skillet on the stove is ideal.
I recommend cooking it to medium rare to ensure optimal tenderness and a juicy bite. Interestingly, the flat iron steak stands out as a cut that stays reasonably tender and juicy even when cooked to well-done. This is why I highly recommend it for those who prefer a well-done steak.
I have a simple yet highly effective tip for you: to achieve maximum tenderness, always cut the flat iron steak against the grain. Look at the photo below, which features two strips of steak. On the left, you can see the steak sliced against the grain, while on the right, it’s sliced with the grain.
When you prepare your next flat iron steak, try this method and experience the difference for yourself. You’ll immediately notice that the piece on the left is more tender than the one on the right.
Is flat iron steak tender or tough?
The flat iron steak ranks as the second most tender steak, right after the tenderloin steak (also known as filet mignon) and ahead of the ribeye. With a generous amount of marbling, this cut offers both tenderness and flavor. What makes it even more impressive is that it remains reasonably tender and juicy, even when cooked to medium-well or even well-done doneness.
What does flat iron steak taste like?
The flat iron steak offers a delightful combination of tenderness and flavor in every bite. While it may not match the flavor intensity of a ribeye, it still delivers a satisfying beef taste. In terms of tenderness, it falls behind the tenderloin.
Is flat iron steak expensive?
In the past, the flat iron steak was one of the more affordable cuts of beef. However, with its surge in popularity, its price has also risen. Despite this, it’s crucial to point out that, even now, the flat iron steak still stands as a relatively more cost-effective choice when compared with cuts such as ribeye or filet mignon.
Discover Other Beef Cuts
Feel free to explore cuts of beef that offer a similar flavor profile or tenderness as a flat iron steak. Here are some of my suggestions: