MARINATED FLAP STEAK
Treetop flyer: For years this cut has flown under the radar. Much like short ribs before they became popular, the flap steak was either discarded or sent home with the butcher. Similar to the hangar, skirt or flank, this is a cut from the bottom of the beast and less glamorous than the Filet, New York or Rib cuts. With that unpopularity, the price was modest. As the wonderful flavor was discovered, and the popularity increased, the prices followed. The Latin cultures have used flap steak, and similar cuts for centuries. If you like grilled Fajitas, it’s probably from this family of cuts. The French have a version often called the “Bistro” steak and the Italians as well. The bottom line is: If this steak is cooked properly, it tastes great.
Mary meets Nate: This family of steaks does best when marinated. They take to all spectrums of flavors and infusions. I used a garlic lime combination with heat from Jalapenos and green onion. It shines wonderfully with Asian flavors highlighted with Ginger and soy. The sweet tang of Balsamic vinegar is a good choice. Whatever flavors you choose, the flavor of this cut can hold up.
One tough customer: Cook this cut past medium rare and you can patch the elbow of your old sport coat with it. Cook it slowly with moist heat and you can patch those old shoes. One thing about this family of cuts, they start out tough. They are the lumberjacks of steak and need your respect. Set your grill on high. When it’s as hot as it can get, go grab another beer and then come back. The flames, smoke, and hairless forearms are all worth the effort. Cook these steaks on high for a nice exterior crust. The thickest part of this steak rarely reaches one inch so to get that crust and leave the inside just north of rare, turn up the heat. It’s got to be hot.
The grain, the grain: A very bad mock quote from Fantasy Island. Sadly I’ve dated myself. Picture this cut of meat like a piece of wood. Cut the wood against the grain and it gives little resistance. Cut the wood with the grain and the wood pinches and makes sawing almost impossible. The same is true with this cut. ALWAYS cut across the grain. Even though the shape of the cut may tempt you to cut the other way, ALWAYS cut across the grain. Otherwise you will be eating flavored rubber bands. If you don’t believe me, cut a piece with the grain and start to chew it. Start a load of laundry. The laundry could be done before you are done chewing. I learned the hard way.
Lime and garlic marinated flap steak
- 2 flap steaks 1-2lbs each
- Juice from 2 limes
- 4 cloves of garlic crushed
- ½ cup of EVOO
- 1 bunch of green onions chopped
- 2 Jalapeño peppers, 1 chopped, 1 roasted and sliced.
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
- 3 Tablespoons chopped Cilantro divided
Clean the flap steak of membrane. There shouldn’t be much. Mix the EVOO, lime juice, garlic, green onions, salt, pepper and ½ the chopped cilantro in a bowl. Mix and pour ½ the mixture over the flap steak in a shallow baking dish. Coat the meat evenly and then flip. Pour the other ½ of the mixture over the meat. Cover and marinate for 1-2 hours at room temperature. Heat the grill on high. Place the meat on the grill and cook for approximately 3 minutes until crusty, flip and grill another 3 minutes until the meat reaches desired doneness. I like this cut on the rare side of medium rare with a nice crunchy exterior. Let the meat rest for 10 minutes before slicing ACROSS the grain. Serve with the roasted Jalapeno and the remaining Cilantro. This meat pairs well with roasted summer vegetables such as yellow squash, tomatoes, peppers and corn.
Tips: This is wonderful meat for a steak salad. Try it with avocado, tomato, and roasted corn. Make a dressing out of tomato salsa adding wine vinegar and some spices. Try this cut Asian style with a Miso or Teriyaki marinate. Serve on a salad with mandarin slices and the combo will knock your socks off. When marinating with Ginger be careful not to let the meat set too long. The enzymes in Ginger will break down the meat so it has a “soft” texture that can border on mushy. If you’re not fond of heat, leave out the Jalapeño, both in the marinade and as garnish. The best tip of all. Cut the meat ACROSS the grain. Okay, I’m done.