We spend a lot of time extolling the joys of coaxing deliciousness out of lesser-loved cuts of meat. Today, we're going to put our money where our mouth is with one of our favorite beef cuts, the flank steak. This long, flat steak comes from the belly-side of the steer, and is lean and muscular. This means lots of flavor without a ton of fat. But it also means you have to know a few tricks to make it tender and tasty.
Most flank steak recipes will call for a marinade (since marinating the beef helps to break down some of the connective tissue and tenderize it), but even without a soak in other delicious stuff, a flank steak is a great steak. Since it is usually a pretty thin cut of beef, it doesn't take long to cook (unless you want to braise it, which is another great option since it shreds so nicely) and tastes perfect at medium-rare or medium. The most important thing to know about flank steak is how to cut it: you want to slice this steak across the grain. What does that even mean?
This is a raw flank steak. See the striations that run horizontally through the whole cut?
That is the grain, and what you want to do is lay your knife perpendicular to that grain, and slice thinly. The result: tender, inexpensive, flavorful flank steak. Cutting across the grain creates shorter "strings" of meat, rather than long, chewy ones. A great trick up your sleeve. We pulled together a few of our favorite flank steak recipes (including a few stuffed ones, which is really great for a dinner party). If we missed your favorite method, let us know in the comments!