Flank Steak is one of the most underrated cuts of beef. It’s rarely, if ever, served at Steak Houses and most people never cook with it at home. It’s a shame because not only is flank steak delicious, it is relatively inexpensive compared to the prime cuts like New York, Ribeye and Filet Mignon (tenderloin). Flank steak is particularly well suited for grilling and a variety of marinades, which can help tenderize the meat and add flavour. One of my all-time favourite marinades is this delicious Chimichurri-style one (see here for full recipe). Flank steak is also traditionally used to make Ropa Vieja – the national dish of Cuba – which is an insanely delicious, slow-cooked shredded beef dish that literally translates to ‘old clothes’. Don’t knock it ’till you try it!
This recipe for Grilled Flank Steak with Salsa Rustica is extremely simple and flavourful! Believe it or not, the steak is seasoned with nothing more than salt and pepper and grilled for exactly 2 minutes per side. The salsa is equally simple and quick to prepare with things you undoubtedly already have on hand. HOWEVER, consider yourself forewarned when I say that this very easy recipe can go wrong very, very quickly. UNLESS, you follow the following Golden Rules For Grilling Flank Steak.
How to Grill and Buy Flank Steak:
If you have had a bad experience with flank steak, don’t blame it on the cut of meat. Instead, look to the cook or butcher because somewhere along the way they didn’t follow these proper steps.
Buying the Right Piece
-Always buy your meat from a butcher you trust and preferably one that carries grass-fed beef.
-Flank steaks regularly go on sale so keep an eye out for a deal.
-Look for a flank steak that is as uniform in thickness as possible. This will ensure an evenly cooked steak.
-Ask your butcher to trim any excess pieces of fat and silver skin (membrane). Or, you can easily do this yourself at home with a sharp knife.
Grill to Medium Rare on High Heat
-Grill on highest heat possible until medium-rare to medium. This will ensure a nice, juicy centre and some caramelized crust. Flank steak can be quite tough and leathery if cooked beyond medium. The last thing you want is a hard-to-chew finished product.
-Cook directly out of the fridge. Letting the steak come to room temperature will result in a more cooked centre, which is not what we want here.
-For example, I grilled the 2lb flank steak used in this recipe (approximately 3/4″ thick) for exactly 2:30 minutes per side in a cast-iron grill pan.
-For added flavour and texture, try grilling over charcoal!
-For thicker cuts, cook a little bit longer and keep an eye on the temperature to avoid burning. If you notice the grill marks beginning to burn, simply turn the steak perpendicularly and continue grilling (this will also give you nice hash marks).
-Do not touch the meat while it is cooking and flip only once (unless you have to perform the maneuver above). This will ensure nice caramelization and grill marks.
-You will know the steak is ready to flip when small droplets of juice/blood form on the top surface of the meat.
Let the Steak Rest
-You must always allow a steak to rest after it has been cooked. This will help redistribute the juices throughout the meat. It will also ensure in a more tender finished product since the muscle will
Slice Thinly and Against the Grain on a Bias
-Look for the natural striations (or grain) that course through meat and cut perpendicular to them as thinly as possible on a bias. This will ensure less chewy slices of meat. Tip: Unlike skirt steak, the grain tends to run lengthwise in a flank steak.
Following the above steps will ensure a delicious grilled Flank Steak. Now go forth and grill, preferably with an open window and dull fire alarm because things are gonna get smokey in your kitchen. Or just go outside and grill over charcoal as mother nature intended!
I hope you like this recipe and be sure to let me know what you think in the comments below!
Grilled Flank Steak with Salsa Rustica
INGREDIENTS: (serves 4)
1 2lb flank steak (approx. 3/4 to 1″ thick) – preferably grass-fed
3 tomatoes – cut into eighths
1 small red onion – finely sliced
2 cloves garlic – finely sliced
12-14 sprigs fresh mint – roughly chopped
1 cup fresh parsley – loosely packed – roughly chopped
1 tsp smoked Spanish paprika
1 tsp dried chili flakes (more or less depending on preference)
1 tsp kosher salt (plus more for steak)
1/2 tsp freshly-cracked black pepper (plus more for steak)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- To a large mixing bowl, add tomatoes, onion, garlic, mint, parsley, paprika, chili flakes, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, vinegar, and olive oil. Toss gently to combine, trying not to break the tomatoes, and set aside at room temperature while you grill the steak.
- Preheat a well-seasoned, cast-iron grill pan or charcoal grill over high heat.
- Pat-dry flank steak with paper towel and liberally season with kosher salt and cracked pepper.
- Grill steak on high heat for 2:30 minutes per side.
- Transfer grilled steak to carving board and let rest at least 5 minutes before slicing on a bias, against the grain.
- Serve sliced Flank Steak with Salsa Rustica and your favourite sides (like these Sweet Potato Fries).