The best tender and delicious flank steak recipes start with a great marinade and this on has the perfect one. If you have failed to be successful at cooking this piece of meat, I encourage you to read some of the Reader Questions and Tips to discover what might be going wrong.
Flank steak comes from the abdominal muscle of the cow near the bottom. The cut of meat is very lean, and considered a thin cut of beef which is less than an inch thick. Not only will your marinade add incredible taste, but you’ll want to marinate it in ingredients that have acid and can help to break down the muscle fiber and collagen and turn this tough cut into something that can melt in your mouth.
In addition, flank steak meat is inexpensive at the grocery store. It’s also the perfect cut of beef to have at big gatherings. Since this meat cooks hot and fast, be sure to prepare all other side dishes ahead of time and just finish the meal prep off with cooking the succulent steak.
How to Make Flank Steak
- Mix marinade ingredients.
- Add to meat.
- Place in refrigerator and marinate for 30 minutes to several hours or overnight.
- Let meat come to room temperature and sit on the counter for 20 minutes.
- Grill over a hot flame outside or cook in a skillet on the stovetop.
- Blend together chimichurri sauce ingredients.
- Slowly stir in oil.
- Let flank steak rest for 5 minutes.
- Cut meat and pair with drizzle, dip, or spread chimichurri sauce on top.
Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sauce Ingredients
Steak: Flank steak is a great lean cut of meat for this recipe. Marinate it in a simple liquid mixture that will allow the meat to break down then grill it on high heat. Be sure to cut the beef against the grain as this allows for a more tender bite and more juiciness.
Soy Sauce: This is my secret ingredient to creating a wonderfully delicious marinate. It also serve an important purpose in the process of loosening the muscle fibers and dissolving some of the proteins so don’t skip this step. I like to use Kikkoman soy sauce. Low-sodium may be used but a good quality soy sauce with a lot of salt is important to use in the marinate.
Oil: Aids in helping all the flavors unite and makes for a more rich, flavorful taste. It also helps in the process of the marinate. Use vegetable, canola, peanut, or olive oil.
Chimichurri sauce: I make mine homemade from scratch all the time. Classic ingredients like parsley, cilantro, garlic, vinegar, and oil are used to make the saucy glaze. Blend it in a food processor or food chopper for the best results. If you don’t have one, make sure to finely mince all the ingredients and whisk them together really well.
Is marinating steak important? Do I need to do it? While marinating steak is not a must, taking the extra step to properly prepare beef will make all the difference. Making a marinade is quick and simple. A high salt concentration will allow the protein of the meat to be flavorful. Not only does salt season the meat, but it also works to dissolve some of the proteins and loosens the muscle fibers. The result? A more tender and flavorful cut of beef. I have been using soy sauce in my marinades for years and it makes all the difference when it comes to the final texture of the meat.
I can’t say it enough. If you desire and soft and tender bite of steak, marinate the meat for a few hours in soy sauce and oil. Of course, any herbs or spices will generally flavor the surface of the meat with oil to release their flavor. But garlic is water soluble which means it goes much deeper than the surface. The glutamates in soy products like soy sauce will also do the same. This results is a bite that is less chewy and tough and more buttery soft.
Beef that is thin like skirt steak, flank steak, or sirloin tip has a lot of surface area to allow the marinade to adhere properly and penetrate it.
- loosens muscle fibers
- dissolves some of the proteins
- tender, buttery soft texture
- boosts juiciness
- flavors the surface
- less tough and less chewy
Reader Tips and Questions
Q: If I don’t have red wine vinegar can I use something else?
A: Red wine vinegar gives an extra robust, fruity flavor due to the wine in it. If you have red wine and vinegar, you can add equal parts of each to make the total called for in the recipe. You can also use low sugar/unsweetened grape juice. White wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar (use a little less), or sherry vinegar may be used as substitutions.
Q: I never have luck cooking with flank steak. What could I be doing wrong?
A: Some people grab a flank steak and cook it like any other cut of whole beef when in fact, these cuts are notorious for being tougher as they are a leaner cut. The key to cooking this piece of meat is to marinate or braise it. You also don’t want to cook it too long, usually about 5-8 minutes per side for medium-rare meat. Keep reading to find out important cutting instructions to ensure the meat doesn’t end up with a dry, tough bite.
Q: What will marinating this piece of meat do, and how long should I do it for?
A: You only need to marinate for 4-6 hours to get the full benefits listed above but a lot of people do it overnight. Marinating overnight can make the acid toughen the meat instead of tenderizing it. The acid in citrus or vinegar marinades help to bread down the tough fibers of the meat to make it more tender. Marinades also infuse the meat with lots of flavor. Be sure to let your meat sit out for 20-30 minutes so when it hits the pan or the grill it isn’t cold which could make it cook uneven.
Q: How do I know which way the grain is going when I go to cut it?
A: Look at y our piece of meat and identify the muscle fivers and which way they run. You want to turn your meat so your knife is cutting across these fivers. By following this cutting method, your teeth won’t have to do all the work with each bite.
Q: What is the reason I should let a piece of meat “rest?”
A: Once you are done cooking your piece of meat, let it rest for about 5-7 minutes under foil or approximately 5-8 minutes for every pound of thickness. If you cut into it too soon, all the juice that is trying to redistribute and absorb evenly will flow out and you will end up with a piece of dry, tough meat. Once this happens, there is nothing you can do to “put it back.” Also, be aware that the meat will continue to cook while it’s resting. If you’re aiming for medium redness, take it off the pan or grill a minute or two earlier.
Flank Steak Pairings
- roasted savory carrots
- roasted cauliflower
- roasted broccoli
- green beans
- baked potato salad
- roasted brussels sprouts
- Baked Beans
Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sauce
- 3 pounds flank steak
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 4 oz soy sauce
- ½ cup oil
- ¼ cup hot water
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp salt
- 1⅓ cup parsley leaves
- ⅔ cup cilantro
- 6 garlic cloves
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar or vinegar
- ½ cup olive oil
- Whisk salt, pepper, soy sauce, and oil.
- Place meat in rimmed dish or ziplock bag.
- Pour in marinade. Place in refrigerator and marinate for 30 minutes to overnight. TIP: The longer the better the flavor and more tender (softer) the meat.
- Allow steak to come to room temperature; about 20 minutes.
- Grill for 6 minutes a side (medium-doneness) or in a skillet set over medium-high heat with 1 tbsp oil, sear for 6 minutes a side.Sear for less time – more rare the meatSear for more time – the more done the meatTIP: Keep in mind that the meat will continue to cook while it sits for 5 minutes.
- Combine hot water and dried oregano to soften.
- In a food processor or food chopper, pulse salt, parsley leaves, cilantro, garlic cloves, red pepper flakes, and red wine vinegar until coarsley chopped.
- Whisk in oil or slow pulse it into mixture.
- Allow flank steak to rest for 5 minutes.
- Cut against the grain of the meat.
- Serve with chimichurri sauce.
Nutritional information is only an estimate and it’s accuracy is not guaranteed to be exact.
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