Organic, grass-fed flank steak in the kitchen, the burner turned "HIGH"
May 28, 2023 9:17 PM   Subscribe

That burner will be red hot in about seven minutes. Thick bottom, big honkin' pan. I know to sear it, both sides, and then cook it in ???? for an hour, give or take. I'm thinking a can of tomatoes. 30 minutes in, chop up an onion. I've got this really great great salsa (medium -- why won't they stock hot? And I don't have even one jalapeño. Dang...) Broccoli and some almonds at the end of the show. What else? An egg? Do tell.
posted by dancestoblue to Food & Drink (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Why would you cook it an hour? Usually when I cook flank steak it's rare, and Kenji agrees. I can imagine marinading it an hour but absolutely not cooking it for an hour unless it's about 30#.
posted by fiercekitten at 9:47 PM on May 28, 2023 [21 favorites]


I would never cook beef for an hour, unless it was some kind of hotpot, slow-cooking dish. Unless I was just asking to serve a brick of concrete super-coagulated protein.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 9:49 PM on May 28, 2023 [9 favorites]


What are you trying to make?
posted by Iteki at 10:24 PM on May 28, 2023 [3 favorites]


Best answer: I see one of your tags is cooktoughmeat. With a cut like flank steak, I have found that the biggest tender-vs-tough difference comes from how you slice the meat: cut ACROSS the grain, not along.

Found this out the hard way with my first flank attempt years ago...there was a noticeable, almost amazing, difference in toughness between the first few slices (along the grain) and the later slices (across the grain).

I agree that there's no need to cook for an hour. A quick sear is usually plenty for flank.
posted by Sockin'inthefreeworld at 10:26 PM on May 28, 2023 [4 favorites]


Response by poster: I was lucky -- I'd turned it *down* way low after sear -- its a new stove top so I lucked out on the whole "burn the thing to bits" part.

What are you trying to make?
posted by Iteki at 12:24 AM on May 29
A late, late dinner -- I noticed about 10:37 PM that I literally had not eaten one thing. I also noticed that I was hungry as hell. Not quite 20 minutes to get down to the supermarket, tonight totally different from last night, hardly anyone out, made it plenty of time to spare.

With a cut like flank steak, I have found that the biggest tender-vs-tough difference comes from how you slice the meat: cut ACROSS the grain, not along.

Found this out the hard way with my first flank attempt years o...

posted by Sockin'inthefreeworld at 12:26 AM on May 29

This is my third run at flank steak. Absolutely what you just wrote, cutting across, the meat was beautiful but tough as an old boot. I'm looking fwd to trying this thing out tonight.

~~~~~

I have almost never purchased any meat for my home. Knowing how the animals were treated, I just could *not* do it. My local decent Texas chain has now started also selling grass-fed meats. It hurts less knowing that these animals have not been treated as we treat animals.

I was not vegetarian but I veered that direction. I feel good eating brown rice and black beans -- I feel like a good animal and I feel good physically also, pinto beans also. Broccoli is like some magic feel-good stuff, the only problem with it is that murdering CIA leader papa HW Bush liked it...
posted by dancestoblue at 10:46 PM on May 28, 2023 [1 favorite]


Best answer: I have almost never purchased any meat for my home. Knowing how the animals were treated, I just could *not* do it.

dancestoblue, I know what you mean. I also have a longstanding aversion to buying and cooking meat, yet it is great to have that kind of protein from time to time. It's a real trial and error process, but this old Smitten Kitchen steak salad recipe taught me how to handle steak and it remains my main template for cooking it. Simple/intuitive/nutritious/delicious. And I bet a summer salsa would be wonderful with it.
posted by knotty knots at 10:59 PM on May 28, 2023 [1 favorite]


Best answer: I don't know if this is still relevant?

A flank steak is easiest to cook in a cast iron pan in a bit of oil or butter, 4-6 minutes on each side, depending on how you like it. If you have a meat thermometer, 140 F is medium. Then it needs to rest for 15 minutes. This is the important thing. I don't eat a lot of meat and it took me ages to learn this.

While it rests, you can make your pan gravy. Finely chop the onion and fry it in oil till soft, not darkened in any way, in a separate pan. add crushed garlic and stir til fragrant, then add the half the tomatoes (save the rest for another day), season with salt, pepper and oregano. Let simmer for five minutes. Pour the whole mix over into the cast-iron pan, and deglaze it by scraping the pan while you crush the tomatoes with your spoon. This is good. But it can be improved. You can add in your salsa. Or you can add two tablespoons of capers and a teaspoonful of the vinegar from the capers. Or you can add in a couple of anchovies or a bit of fishsauce. It will be good.

Bon appetit!
posted by mumimor at 11:02 PM on May 28, 2023 [3 favorites]


Best answer: A handful of the meat-averse cooks I know who are learning with recently available options that are more ethically acceptable to them really take to the reverse sear method. Instead of doing what you describe, where you sear a raw piece of meat and then apply slow surround heat to finish it through, you flip it around. Start a cut of meat raw in the oven on about medium heat and once it’s reached just below the internal temperature you like, pull it out and sear the outside in a screaming hot pan. The heat in the meat from the oven will continue to penetrate to the center and finish cooking it to doneness while you get good browning. It’s more beginner friendly, I think, and more adjust as you go.

I suggest for flank steak that you place it in a roasting pan on some sliced onions and peppers. Roast it for maybe half an hour at like, 375F?? Until the middle of the thickest part is about 130-140F. If you don’t have a meat thermometer definitely get one, it will bring you a lot more confidence when cooking meat. Then, take the flank steak out and put the peppers and onions back into the oven to continue roasting. Heat up a pan while you cut the flank steak into chunks that fit nicely into your pan, and season them with salt and pepper. Maybe other dry seasonings, sounds like you would enjoy a chili rub. One at a time, get a nice sear on both sides. Set them aside to rest for about ten minutes, then slice against the grain as noted above. While you are waiting for the meat to rest you can take out the onions and peppers and adjust their seasoning. Maybe mix a good amount of salsa in them, garnish with lime, add some sweet corn, etc. You can have made your other veggie sides or carbs while waiting for the meat to roast before.
posted by Mizu at 11:32 PM on May 28, 2023 [2 favorites]


Response by poster: I wrote up this huge honkin' response, trying to be polite, acknowlege each response thoughtfully yet a clear wit shining through. But then great responses have kept coming in.

I've saved off what I wrote but if there is a true compassion in our universe you'll not see it; anyone who's been here long at all knows it takes me 2500 words just to say hello. I'd like to spare you that.

I'd also like to put up what I've written, all of these witty gems. But: No. No, no, no.

I will tell you that my meal was great, about 1/3 left for late tomorrow afternoon. And plenty more broccoli, because life is good, and lots of lime to zest and squeeze onto the broccoli, and into my sport drink.

I am in bed, using the laptop. (On my lap -- duh.) I took the time to put a fresh pillowcase on the pillow, a small luxury, fresh from the "Whites" section of the clean laundry; it's a new enough case that the fabric still has plenty of tooth. (I read somewhere that Jackie Kennedy slept on brand new bedding every day of her life. I hope so; such grace under so much pressure, a great model.)

Thank you all for responding thoughtfully to an urgent post from a hungry man at 11:17 PM.
posted by dancestoblue at 12:39 AM on May 29, 2023 [6 favorites]


For future reference, flank steak, tomatoes, and onions cooking on low heat for a long time is just some white wine away from being Cuban ropa vieja. Serve it over yellow rice and black beans.
posted by kevinbelt at 4:16 AM on May 29, 2023 [3 favorites]


For a marinade, Serious Eats Steakhouse Style Flank Steak is an amazing starting point. Be sure to reserve some of the marinade as a sauce. It is unctuous and rich and full of umami.
posted by mmascolino at 6:43 AM on May 29, 2023 [2 favorites]


For future reference, flank steak, tomatoes, and onions cooking on low heat for a long time is just some white wine away from being Cuban ropa vieja. Serve it over yellow rice and black beans.

This is what I was going to say. You have great advice about about how to cook flank steak simply -- personally I usually cook it that way, slice thinly across the grain, and use it for tacos -- but the ingredients and timing that you listed are spot on for ropa vieja. Here's a Serious Eats recipe for it, but if you google a bit you'll find a wide range of recipes since it is a dish made in multiple countries and with lots of variation.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:45 AM on May 29, 2023 [1 favorite]


Carne Asada is my go-to for flank steak. Once you have it cooked, you can do all kinds of Mexican style things with it - tacos, burritos, quesadillas, etc. It's best if you can grill it but still good in cast iron etc.
posted by Candleman at 11:36 PM on May 29, 2023


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