Flank steak is one of my very favorite cuts of beef, especially for grilling. It’s leaner than some others but has amazing flavor and a pleasing coarse texture that is hard to find in other steaks. Sometimes called London broil, it’s a flat-ish piece of meat that can be stuffed and rolled, although most of the time I grill it flat out (the best way, if you ask me).
If you can’t find flank steak or want to try something a little different, try skirt or hanger steak. These two cuts are close to flank in terms of flavor and texture. Skirt steak is a long, flat cut with more flavor than tenderness. The same goes for hanger steak, which has gotten a lot attention in recent years. The ungainly steak is also called butcher’s steak because, the story goes, the double-lobed cut connected by a particularly tough sinew was prized by butchers for its flavor even though its homely appearance made it tough to sell. While hangers are delicious when cooked right, I prefer skirt steak as a stand-in for flank steak.
All recipes for flank steak instruct you to “slice the meat across the grain.” If that directive baffles you, consider that the meat is made up of long, relatively tough fibers that must be intersected with a knife to shorten them and make the meat tender enough to chew easily. You can see these fibers in the meat. To cut a flank steak correctly all you must to do is slice it on the bias, the diagonal, across those long fibers.
Here’s one of my fave recipes. Happy grilling!
Yogurt and Spice Grilled Flank Steak
Vermillion, a restaurant near Grand Central Station in New York City, serves flank steak with a yogurt–sour cream marinade that is really delicious. I came up with my own version and am pleased as punch with the outcome. The spices mixed with the tartness of the sour cream and yogurt blend perfectly with rich flank or skirt steak. Whenever you grill steak, it’s important to watch it carefully so that it does not overcook. You can always put it back on the grill if it’s too rare but you can’t retrieve its juiciness if it’s overdone.
Serves 4 to 6
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup plain yogurt
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground curry powder
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 small jalapeño pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
2 pounds flank or skirt steak
Mix together the sour cream, yogurt, cumin, curry powder, garlic, and jalapeño.
Lay the steak in a glass, ceramic, or other nonreactive dish. Pour the marinade over the steak and turn the steak a few times to coat well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours or overnight. Turn the steak once or twice during marinating.
Spray the grilling grate of a gas or charcoal grill with vegetable oil spray. Preheat the grill to medium hot.
Lift the steak from the marinade and wipe the excess from the meat. Grill the meat for 4 to 5 minutes on each side for medium-rare, or until done to your liking.
Let the meat rest for about 10 minutes before slicing across the grain and serving.