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Flank steak is one of the easiest steaks to prepare and it is so versatile. It benefits from a marinade to help tenderize the meat so you can get really creative with the marinade flavours to change it up a bit. Having said that – this one is so good I may never move on to the other possibilities again…
Although it is easy to prepare flank steak you do have to prepare it very precisely. Be careful not over cook it or it will become tough. And ALWAYS slice it against the grain or you will be chewing on it forever!
The good news is flank steak is usually sold in about the same size, shape and thickness so you can prepare it the same way each time.
To marinate you will need a low flat dish that just holds the steak in one layer, or a re-sealable plastic bag. The marinade should liberally coat both sides of the steak and have a visible presence in the bottom of the dish or bag. The longer you marinate the meat the better. The minimum would be for two hours or up to 24 hours in the fridge. If you can only marinate for a short time, marinate for up to 2 hours at room temperature (or maximum 1 hour if temperature is over 90 degrees F). Preferable to marinate as long as possible in the fridge. Turn the steak once in a while to ensure full exposure on both sides to the marinade.
To cook – you want to cook it quickly at high heat to rare or medium rare. For me on the BBQ this was 3 minutes on high on each side and then tented for 5 minutes. When you lift the steak out of the marinade let the excess drip off before placing the meat on the grill. Watch for flare ups if any marinade drips off into the BBQ. Reserve the remaining marinade to heat on high in your microwave while the meat is tented. Since the marinade has been in contact with the raw meat it is imperative that you heat it to a full boiling roll if you want to serve it as a sauce.
Tenting means loosely covering the meat fresh off the grill with foil or a platter so it covers the meat but doesn’t seal it in. The meat will continue to cook a little during the tenting process but most importantly it allows the juices to redistribute evenly throughout the meat so each bite will be succulent and flavourful.
I have a little trick that I find makes all the difference. I hate when my lovely BBQ’d steak is cold after the tenting process. So I use a cast iron serving platter that sits on a wooden serving base. I stick the (oiled) cast iron platter on the BBQ grate while the steak is grilling. When I take the steak off the grill I put it on the now heated platter to tent it. And… voila… it is still lovely and warm when it is time to serve. ( Heating your dinner plates also helps here if that is feasible ie. china or ceramic plates, sides are hot dishes-not cold salads.)
(Disclaimer: If my enthusiasm induces you to order one through my site I may receive a small commission).
To slice it against the grain- it usually means cutting across the short side. If you look closely you can see little stripes running the length or long side of the meat. This is the grain…you DO NOT want to slice it the way the lines run – you want to slice ‘across’ that grain. Slice relatively thinly to keep each bite tender.
While the meat is tented go ahead and boil the left over marinade in the microwave in a heat proof cup and serve along side the meat. The marinade-now-sauce gives a full flavour peppery, salty boost to the steak.
Serve with Creamy Warm Potato Salad and the combination is TO DIE FOR!