Can You Use Flat Iron Steak Instead of Flank Steak?

The flank steak, as well as the flat iron steak, are often overlooked by all of the choices we have available to put on the grill. But can you use flat iron steak instead of flank steak? Will it be done at the same time as the flank steak, or do you need another type of steak to use as a substitute? 

It is possible to use flat iron steak as a substitute for flank steak. The two cuts of meat are very similar as both of these cuts are prepared in a way that they will grill in the same amount of time. These steaks are packed with beefy flavor, but the flat iron steak is much more tender.

can you use flat iron steak instead of flank steak

Neither the flank steak nor the flat iron steak is actually steak in the traditional sense that you would think of a steak. 

The flank steak and flat iron steak are both cuts of meat that are specifically prepared as steak by the butcher. However, when they are grilled and cooked correctly, these steaks will have you craving for more of the beefy flavor that these cuts of meat are full of.

Understanding The Two Cuts Of Meat

Neither the flat iron steak nor the flank steak is particularly seen as popular steaks to use on a grill, but unlike the flank steak, the flat iron steak is a very misunderstood cut of meat. 

It is perfect for a grill because of the precise cuts made to the steaks. In addition to the precision-made cuts of steak, flat iron steak is also one of the more affordable cuts of steak.

Let us dive deeper into our understanding of steaks and the best way to enjoy this misunderstood cut of beef.

“Meat” The Flank Steak

Flank steak is a cut of belly meat from below the loin and sirloin of the cow. It is cut from the abdominal area near the bottom of the animal. This particular muscle works a lot, which is why the steak can be tough and is a leaner steak cut with less fatty content. The flank steak also offers long, thick muscle fibers. These fibers run from side to side through the steak. 

Unlike other steaks that have short fibers running up and down through the steak, the flank steak has long threads running from side to side through the meat. 

This unique positioning of the fibers makes this kind of steak perfect for marinades without compromising the fantastic beefy flavor that this particular cut of beef offers.

The flank steak is a flat cut of meat, but it is a longer cut with a significant amount of muscle fiber. These muscle fibers also make for a tougher cut of steak. 

Properly cooking flank steak is vitally important since it is not as tender as some of the other cuts of steak on the market.

Flank steak has so much to offer and can bring flavor to any meal, but it is still unappreciated and misunderstood in many ways. Despite not being a “true” steak, the flank steak is rich in beefy flavor, and it will appreciate every rub or marinade that you can think of. 

You can definitely consider getting a good cut of flank steak the next time you have a BBQ.

“Meat” The Flat Iron Steak

The flat iron steak is a cut of meat that comes from the shoulder of the cow. This cut of meat is often seen as the king of both worlds that a beef animal can provide: tenderness and beefiness. 

The flat iron steak offers both flavor and tenderness.

The butcher prepares the flat iron steak in such a way that the tough connective tissue from the chuck is removed, giving you two flatter pieces of steak. 

This takes a lot of preparation time from the butcher, but it is absolutely worth the effort. A few decades ago, the flat iron steak didn’t even exist.

Like the flank steak, this is also a hard-working muscle of the cow; but unlike the flank steak, the flat iron steak has fat marbling inside the meat and short muscle fibers. 

These factors work together to give you an uncommonly tender cut of steak.

Apart from the fact that flat iron steak is one of the most flavor-packed cuts of steak, it is also one of the cheaper cuts. 

How To Prepare Your Steak For The Grill

Preparing The Flank Steak

Preparation is almost all of the battle when it comes to flank steak. The right rub or marinade makes all the difference. Also, remember that you should cut against the grain when you’re preparing your flank steak for the grill. 

The muscle fibers in flank steak make it tougher meat to cut, but if you grill it for just the right amount of time, you will end up with a juicy and tender piece of steak.

The best way by far to cook a flank steak is by grilling. However, the trick to the perfect flank steak is to keep it on the grill for the minimum amount of time. 

Do not grill the meat for more than 12 minutes, and turn the steak at the halfway mark. 

Allowing the steak time to rest is also a good idea, as this will give the meat time to relax and soak up the juices, keeping the steak moist and flavorful.

If you love your steak, either rare or medium, then flank steak is remarkable in the intense beefy flavor it will bring to any meat lover’s plate. In addition, the flank steak is a perfect meat filler to go with fajitas or corn tortillas, or even just as steak or skewers. 

Preparing The Flat Iron Steak

This steak is cheap, beefy, and tender, but it is also very forgiving. You will have a hard time messing this one up on the grill. Even if you overcook your flat iron steak, it can still be juicy, tender, and full of flavor. 

Having said that, it is still best to cook this steak as you would any other medium-rare steak since this is any steak at its best.

Learning to grill the flat iron steak the correct way is everyone’s dream. It is said that flat iron steak is second only to filet mignon in tenderness, and it has a more beefy flavor to add to any BBQ.

The secret to flat iron steak is not to overcook, even though it is forgiving if you do. If you love your steak medium or rare, the general rule is to grill it for 12 to 14 minutes, turning it at the halfway point. And again, just as with the flank steak, resting your steak is essential. 

Final Word

Flank steak and flat iron steak are similar in many aspects, including their recommended cooking time and full, beefy flavor. That makes it possible to substitute either with the other. 

It’s crucial to remember that there could be some differences in how you prepare the cuts of meat since there is a difference in tenderness and fat content. Apart from that, both cuts are enjoyable BBQ steaks!

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