For meat lovers everywhere, there are few meals that can beat a nice steak dinner. Buying sirloins, tenderloins, and rib-eyes all the time however can become expensive, and keeps many people from enjoying the beefy steak they love so much. Luckily, there's a cheaper cut of steak that is readily available and can easily step in for those more expensive cuts.
That cut is flank steak. While it's reasonably priced for the large portions you'll get out of it, cooking flank steak isn't like cooking those other cuts. Flank steak has long muscle fibers that run the length of it. Those fibers can make flank steak tough and difficult to eat if it's not cooked properly. That doesn't mean though there aren't still a ton of ideas you can use flank steak for. Check out the six ideas below, and then try them for yourself!
1. Flank steak fajitas
Flank steak works beautifully when it's used for fajitas. Traditionally, skirt steak is used to make this Tex-Mex dish, which is also a tougher cut. Since flank steak won't be braised for a long period of time and the heat won't have enough time on the stove to break down the muscle tissue, flank steak for fajitas really needs to be marinated first.
To marinate flank steak for fajitas, combine the following ingredients in a large bowl: 1/2 cup olive oil, 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, juice from one lime, 3 cloves of minced garlic, 1 tablespoon each of cumin and chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. Whisk well to combine all ingredients. Place flank steak in a large resealable bag or in a shallow dish and pour the marinade over. Turn the flank steak several times to ensure the marinade fully covers the steak. Then place the steak in the fridge for at least two hours.
After that time, your flank steak will be ready for grilling in just five minutes per side. When the steak is done, slice it very thinly across the grain and grill up some sweet bell peppers and onion slices to go with it. Then just pile it all into tortillas, top with salsa, cheese, and sour cream, and you've got some delicious fajitas.
2. Flank steak kebabs
Flank steak can easily step in for other cuts of beef when it coms to kebabs, too. Due to the quick cooking time, the flank steak will need to be marinated first for up to eight hours. To make the marinade, combine the following ingredients: 3/4 cups vegetable oil, 2 tablespoons white vinegar, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 2 tablespoons honey, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1/2 cup of soy sauce.
Cut the flank steak into 1/2" strips, across the grain, and then pour the marinade over top, turning to coat once again. Leave in the fridge for up to 8 hours. When ready to cook, thread your favorite veggies onto the skewers with pieces of the flank steak in between them. To ensure pieces of the steak don't fall down between the grates or become overcooked, thread them onto the skewer in an "S" pattern. Then place them on the hot grill for a few minutes, and you'll be ready for a deliciously healthy dinner!
3. Flank steak sandwiches
Who doesn't love a delicious and hearty steak sandwich? With flank steak, it doesn't get any easier, as there's no marinating or forward-thinking involved. Simply season the flank steak on both sides generously with salt and pepper (and any other seasonings you like with your steak) and then grill it on a hot grill or cast iron pan. Cook the steak for about five minutes per side for medium-rare and then remove to a cutting board and allow it to rest for at least five minutes before slicing.
When ready to serve, slice the flank into super thin slices across the grain. This will break down those tough fibers without the need for marinating or fussing with the steak too much. Then just pile the steak high onto toasted garlic bread or other bread of your choice, add cheese or caramelized onions if you wish, and enjoy!
4. Flank steak stir-fry
Flank steak makes for great stir-fries because of its bold, beefy flavor. And, it's a meal that you can get on the table in a hurry, too. Remember to slice the flank steak very thinly again so that it becomes more tender, and that can be done even before it's cooked.
For the stir-fry sauce, combine 2 teaspoons of cornstarch, 1/3 cup beef broth, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper and whisk until smooth.
Stir-fry your favorite vegetables and the flank steak all together and then add in the sauce. Let it come up to a boil, while stirring, and then serve over top of rice or noodles. Delicious!
5. Flank steak with chimichurri sauce
Chimichurri is the most popular condiment in Argentina, and it is easy to see why. The oil in chimichurri coats whatever you put it on top of, and the big bunch of parsley gives it an earthy taste that's incredibly delicious, while the vinegar lends it just enough punch to balance things out.
To make chimichurri sauce, place 1/3 cup olive oil, 1/2 bunch of parsley, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, 1 garlic clove, and 1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper into a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth (or mostly, a few big pieces are welcome) and then use it to top a freshly grilled flank steak.
6. Flank steak pinwheels
Also known as a roulade, flank steak pinwheels are just what they sound like. After pounding flank steak quite thinly, lay it flat and fill it with all of your favorite toppings. Sauteed bell peppers and onions can make for nice fajita pinwheels, while laying out spinach, feta, and roasted red peppers can make the pinwheels take on a Mediterranean spin. Use whatever flavors you most enjoy!
Once your fillings are on, roll the flank steak tightly up and slice into individual pinwheels. Lay each pinwheel on a baking sheet (seam-side down when you can) and drizzle them with olive oil. Place them in a 400 degree oven and let them bake for about 10 minutes. It's a fancy way to serve flank steak that doesn't require a ton of effort.
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