Flank Steak
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Flank Steak is a “Flat Steak” that goes by many names including the well used name London Broilwhich is hung on many different cuts. Some other synonyms for Flank Steak are: Jiffy Steak, Flank Steak FilletBiftek de Flanc or Bavette de Flanchet (if in French), Costine di PanciaPancia or Bavette (if in Italian), Redondon or Filete de Falda (if in Spanish), Bife do Vazio (if in Brazil), Bife de Vacio (if in Argentina), Palanca (in Chile) and the Dunne (in Germany).

All are Flank Steak, NAMP 193, all are from the Flank Primal Cut of the steer, and all are a boneless, 1-2 pound (450-910 g) cut about 14 inches (35 cm) long and less than 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick at the thin pointy end, though it can be up to 2 inches (5 cm) thick at the thicker flat end.

The flat, rectangular, boneless Flank Steak is distinguished by the coarse longitudinal Meat Grain that runs across it. Flank Steak has big, beefy flavor, a moderate amount of fat and little Connective Tissue and is fairly porous making it well suited to Marinades which can penetrate without weakening the steak’s firm texture.

Availability

Flank Steak is available all year long.

Production

The production of beef is carried about by three primary types of operations: Cow & Calf Operations, Weaner Calf & Yearling Operations, and Dry-Lot Feeding Operations (also known as “Backrounders”) which are the most expensive operations in the Beef Industry. To learn more about Beef Producers just follow the link to Smart Kitchen’s Page on Beef Producers. The Beef Producers are represented by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

American cattle production has remained almost stagnant between 1985 and 2009, growing just 6.4%, while the amount of beef imported has nearly tripled in that time, according to an analysis of USDA figures conducted by R-CALF USA, another the trade group that represents cattle producers.

Once raised, Beef is typically sold to Meat Packers who slaughter, inspect, and butcher the animals to provide Primal Cuts to butchers and portion cuts to consumers.

The Meat Packing Industry is in a period of consolidation. In 1999, the 10 largest beef-packing firms accounted for more than 90 percent of all Steer and Heifer slaughter in the U.S. In 2011, according to the Western Organization of Resources Councils three major companies controlled Beef market. Visit Smart Kitchen’s Meat Packers Resource Page to learn more.

Culinary Uses

Flank Steak is a tender Portion Cut of Beef. On Smart Kitchen’s Home Plate it should be Cooked, it is Tender, it can be Thin or Thick depending on how it is cut, it is Moist, and Lean. Using the Home Plate we would call it Cooked, Tender, Thin or Thick, Moist, and Lean or noted in the home plate shorthand Flank Steak would be (C, T2T3-T4, M, L).

Flank Steak is best cooked using the following techniques: GrillingBroilingBaking, Spit RoastingRoasting,SautéingPan FryingDeep Fat FryingSous-vide and Smoking.

When serving Flank Steak remember to slice it thinly across the grain. Alternatively, you can butterfly the Flank Steak, if it is over 1 inch (2.54 cm) thick, by carefully holding the steak with the flat of your hand and applying slight pressure to hold it in place while cutting the steak in half like a deck of cards by running your sharp knife through the steak parallel to the cutting board and with the Meat Grain.  The result will be 2 steaks half as thick as the original. Some butcher’s pre-score (cut thinly into) the Flank Steak in two directions on each side to form a grid to Tenderize this tougher steak. The concept is similar to that used with an electric tenderizer for Cube Steak or Swiss Steak. If your Flank Steak is un-scored you may want to try scoring it before cooking to see if you achieve a better Mouth Feel

Portion Size

Allow 6 to 9 ounces (170 g to 255 g) per person of Flank Steak as a Serving Size.

Gluten Free

Yes

Low Fat

No

Low Calorie

No

Purchasing

Flank Steak is not as easy to find in the regular grocery store these days, but if you do come across it, it should be one of the more economical steaks.

An average Flank Steak is about 1.75 Lbs. (790 g) and should feed, if you allow 4-8 oz. (115-225 g) per person, four or five adults. A larger Flank Steak, 2.75 Lbs. (1.2 kg) will feed more people but may have a tendency towards a heavier beef-like flavor.

When shopping for Flank Steak, look for Flank Steak that has a clear, red exterior color known as the “Bloom,” that come from exposure to oxygen and not the more normal purplish-red color of vacuum packed beef. Your purchase should be cold, firm to the touch and, if packaged, free of any punctures or rips. Notice the “sell-by” date on the label and make sure you are buying product that is well within its dates of safe use as specified by the sticker.

Storage

Raw Flank Steak should last for up to 4 days in the refrigerator. Add an extra day of cold storage time if the Flank Steak is Marinated or oiled. Raw Flank Steak will keep for 2-3 months in the freezer without any appreciable deterioration in quality.

Cooked Flank Steak should be refrigerated for up to 1-3 days.