Flank steak is one of the cheaper cuts of steak, but it is also a very versatile piece of meat. A flank steak that’s done right can be one of the juiciest and beefiest steaks you can get your hands on. So let’s cut deeper into the cow and find out precisely what a flank steak is, why it is so unique, and why it is so cheap despite this.
Flank steak is cheaper than other steaks because it is a leaner, fibrous muscle, which can sometimes be tough. For this reason, the flank steak is not among the more popular steaks to put on the grill. Though flank steak is used in some cuisines, it isn’t the most popular.
For a very long time, the flank steak was only known as the butcher’s cut because it was only used in ground meat for many centuries. However, as time progressed and it became easier to butcher and break the meat up into more individual cuts, it also became evident that a cow had far more to offer than just expensive cuts of meat, and that’s when the flank steak started to get noticed.
What Is Flank Steak, And Why Is It So Cheap?
To understand why flank steak is cheap, we must first understand what a flank steak is.
What Is Flank Steak?
Flank steak is a flat cut of steak cut from the underbelly, right behind the chest of the cow. The flank steak is sold as one large, flat cut of meat.
You will find that a flank steak has many strong muscle fibers that run cross-grain throughout the meat, making it tough and difficult to work with. The flank steak is also often called “bavette” or “London broil.”
The flank steak is a thin, flat cut of steak that grills particularly fast.
Though it can be forgiving if not cooked correctly, you will find that this steak offers the most of its beefy flavor if enjoyed medium-rare. A flank steak will be ready to enjoy in under 15 minutes if you cook it correctly.
Why Is Flank Steak Cheap?
A flank steak isn’t considered an ordinary steak, and some people refuse to count it as a steak. It doesn’t look like any of the more popular steaks with their distinctive steak markings, like Ribeye, T-bone, Sirloin, and Porterhouse steaks.
Still, this cut can be used for a good BBQ that will be ready in a few minutes, and for even more elegant cuisines, because of its versatility.
There are a few reasons why this particular cut of steak is cheap and one of the more affordable cuts you can find, even though it is versatile in so many ways.
- It has copious amounts of long muscular tissue that runs across and through the meat.
- It is an exceptionally lean cut of meat with very little fat.
- It isn’t as popular as other, more tender cuts of steak, some of which are also reasonably inexpensive.
- Time efficiency. Some people want food that they can cook quickly. Even though flank steak cooks quickly, it takes a bit of preparation time.
- People are confused by flank steak since it doesn’t have any distinctive markings or signs indicating it is a steak.
- Some supermarkets and butchers can label flank steak as London broil, also causing some confusion (while London broil refers to a cooking method and not the flank steak in itself).
- As consumer demand rises, so does the price. Consumer demand isn’t as high for flank steak because people often regard it as sub-standard.
- The flank steak is butchered from the inner part of the underbelly. It doesn’t require as much hard labor as some of the other “classier” meats.
- For a very long time, the flank steak would either be discarded or processed as ground meat.
However, some would disagree with the statement that flank steak is much cheaper than other high-grade steaks.
This is because there is already much demand from some consumers for flank steak. In addition, many consumers and BBQ enthusiasts would agree that the flank steak has a surprising amount of beefy flavor, making it superior to some of the other more popular cuts of meat.
Is The Flank Steak A Good Steak?
If you want to buy the highest quality steak, then no, the flank steak will most likely disappoint you. However, this steak offers far more rich beefy flavors than others.
Though it’s not the most tender piece of meat, it can be pretty tender after some extra generosity and love on your part.
Flank steak is definitely not one of the steaks that you just quickly decide to throw on the grill. Though it can be done in a few minutes, a flank steak will appreciate spending the night in the fridge while soaking up a good marinade. With this precaution in mind, flank steak can be just about as good as most other steaks on a grill.
How To Choose The Best Flank Steak
Such a “cheap” piece of steak can often be concerning since you can easily think you are buying something sub-standard. So choosing the best meat for your buck can sometimes be a challenge, and we all want the best quality we can afford.
Despite its lower price, how do you know that you are genuinely buying a good quality flank steak?
- The meat should be vibrantly pink.
- If it has brown spots or looks a bit brown, it is not the freshest meat in the cooler.
- Flank steak should be about 1 inch to 2 inches thick.
- The meat should be moist.
- There should be no trace of liquid in the bottom of the tray.
- The meat should be firm and cold when you touch it through the packaging.
- Do not buy the meat if the packaging has tears in it.
The Best Way To Cook Flank Steak
Flank steak may be cheap, but cooking it to perfection doesn’t have to be. To get the most excellent results out of this unappreciated lean cut of steak on the grill, you need to be more appreciative of a steak that is not well done.
A tougher, leaner piece of meat, like a flank steak, must be left with as much juiciness as possible to make it truly perfect.
The flank steak will have your tastebuds wanting more if you grill it fast on high heat. Do not cook it for longer than 12 minutes.
Instead, sear it first, then turn it over at halftime. And as we already mentioned, preparing a flank steak is more about that extra time, and love that you give it first by leaving it in the fridge in a good marinade bath for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight.
You can enjoy your “cheap” flank steak by cutting it into thin strips and eating it with fajitas or with any other flatbread, for that matter. For a long time, the butchers enjoyed flank steak mainly because they were the only ones who realized its value.
Now we know, and we can all appreciate, the value of a good flank steak.
- Is Flank Steak Lean or Fatty?
- Why Is Flank Steak So Tough and Chewy?
- Why Does Steak Turn Gray?
- What Is Flank Steak?