Flank steak is a popular cut of beef that is known for its rich flavor, tenderness, and versatility. It’s commonly used in dishes like fajitas, stir-fries, and sandwiches.
However, there is often confusion about whether or not flank steak needs to be pounded before cooking. In this article, we will explore the reasons for pounding flank steak and whether it’s necessary.
What is Flank Steak?
Flank steak comes from the abdominal muscles of the cow and is a lean cut of meat. It’s long and flat with a distinct grain pattern that runs diagonally across the meat. Because of its leanness, flank steak can be tough if it’s not cooked properly.
Why Pound Flank Steak?
Pounding flank steak can help to tenderize the meat and break down its tough fibers. This can make it easier to chew and more enjoyable to eat. Pounding also helps to even out the thickness of the steak so that it cooks more evenly.
How to Pound Flank Steak
To pound flank steak, place it between two sheets of plastic wrap or parchment paper on a cutting board. Use a meat mallet or rolling pin to gently pound the meat until it’s about 1/4 inch thick. Be careful not to over-pound the meat as this can cause it to become too thin and fall apart.
When Not to Pound Flank Steak
While pounding flank steak can be beneficial in some cases, it’s not always necessary. If you’re cooking flank steak for fajitas or stir-fries where the meat will be sliced thinly against the grain after cooking, then there’s no need to pound it beforehand.
Other Ways to Tenderize Flank Steak
If you don’t want to pound your flank steak, there are other ways to tenderize it. One method is to marinate the meat in an acidic marinade like citrus juice or vinegar. The acid helps to break down the tough fibers and make the meat more tender.
Another method is to score the flank steak before cooking. Use a sharp knife to make shallow cuts against the grain of the meat, being careful not to cut all the way through. This can help to break down the tough fibers and make the meat more tender.
In conclusion, whether or not you need to pound flank steak depends on how you plan on cooking it. If you want a more tender and evenly cooked steak, then pounding can be beneficial.
However, if you’re going to slice it thinly against the grain, then pounding may not be necessary. Ultimately, there are other ways to tenderize flank steak if you don’t want to pound it.