Grilled flank steak is a truly delicious cut, but only if it is prepared correctly. This is because the meat is not particularly tender and its texture is hard. However, its flavour is very intense and, if you know how to prepare it properly, the results will be incredible.
How to prepare flank steak
Flank steak can be grilled in two different ways. One is by cutting the meat into steaks and the other is by grilling the whole piece and then making the cuts. No matter which of these techniques you choose, you must always respect the marinating time, cooking time and, of course, ensure the right temperature.
Tips for making flank steak
The first thing to do is to clean the meat thoroughly and prepare it before grilling. This cut, which is obtained from the diaphragm of the animal, is characterised by a membrane covering and portions of fat. The membrane must be removed before roasting, otherwise the consistency and texture will be somewhat pasty.
On the other hand, many people choose to remove the fat, as this lightens the roasting time - it all depends on how much time you have to roast the meat!
You have two options when grilling meat. You can either cut it into steaks before the marinade or you can cut it into the same steaks once the meat is cooked. If you choose to cut the meat prior to grilling, then keep an eye on the size of the steaks. Use a good filleting knife or ask the butcher to make this cut for you.
The raw fillets should be more or less the same thickness, as this will ensure a largely even grilling time - you don't want one fillet to be more done than another!
Some people skip this step, but it is very important. Because flank steak can be prepared in multiple recipes, the marinating time varies considerably. If you simply want to grill it, without a lot of garnish, it is advisable to marinate it at least from the night before cooking or very early in the morning.
The most basic marinade consists of mixing oil, lime or lemon, soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce, and then adding the flank steak. You can also add some aromatic herbs such as oregano, basil, parsley and so on. Do not add salt and pepper at this point.
Any cut of meat, whether beef or pork, should be taken out of the fridge two hours before cooking to allow it to come to room temperature. This step is very important, otherwise the meat will be hot on the outside, but cold on the inside and perhaps undercooked.
Once you have removed the meat and preheated the grill, it is time to put the meat on the fire. The time all depends on the style of cut. If it's a whole piece, it may take an hour on one side and half an hour on the other side; if it's steaks, the time may be halved or less. At this point, and if they are fillets, you will need to keep an eye on them. It will not take less than 20 minutes to grill the meat. This is due to the cooking temperature of the flank steak.
Temperature: the most important point
The temperature for preparing flank steak is crucial if you want to achieve a high-quality recipe. Flank steak must be seared before grilling. The searing - which is done in a pan with a drizzle of oil - time all depends on the thickness of the cut. For a whole piece, you will need three to four minutes on each side; for a fillet, one to two minutes. The heat should be high for searing.
Preheating the grill also takes some time. A grill is hot when you put your hand 10 centimetres away from the grill and it feels like it's burning. It's then time to put the meat on the grill!
For this you should have greased the grill with special oil or cooking spray. Flank steak is cooked with indirect heat, i.e. you should not place it over the heat source, but to one side of it. It is also possible to place a tray under the grill so that it prevents the heat from passing directly through. Whether or not to place the tray entirely depends on the type of grill you have.
Although it takes longer, up to an hour and a half, low heat allows the meat to cook slowly and you can thus fully enjoy the distinctive flavours and textures of the flank steak. The cut will be much juicier than if you cook it on high heat for a short period of time.