Flank steak is a lean and flavorful cut of meat that can be quite tough if not prepared properly. Fortunately, there are several techniques that can be used to make tough flank steak tender and delicious. In this tutorial, we will explore some of these techniques and provide you with tips on how to apply them in your cooking.
1. Marinate the Flank Steak
Marinating the flank steak is one of the most effective ways to tenderize it.
A marinade is a seasoned liquid that helps to break down the muscle fibers in the meat, making it more tender and flavorful. To make a marinade for flank steak, you will need:
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
Simply mix all these ingredients together in a bowl and pour over the flank steak. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight.
2. Slice Against the Grain
Slicing against the grain is another important technique for making tough flank steak tender.
The grain refers to the direction of the muscle fibers in the meat. When slicing against the grain, you are cutting through these fibers, which makes them shorter and easier to chew.
The process of slicing against the grain:
- Place your cooked flank steak on a cutting board.
- Look for lines running across the surface of your meat.
- Cut perpendicular to those lines – this means cutting across them instead of parallel.
3. Use a Meat Tenderizer
A meat tenderizer is a tool that is used to break down the muscle fibers in the meat, making it more tender. There are two types of meat tenderizers: mallets and needles.
A mallet is a heavy tool with a flat surface on one side and ridges on the other. To use it, simply pound the flank steak with the ridged side until it becomes more tender.
A needle meat tenderizer has several small blades that puncture the surface of the meat, creating tiny channels for marinades or other seasoning to penetrate.
4. Cook Slow and Low
Cooking flank steak slow and low can help to break down the tough muscle fibers and make it more tender. This can be done by using methods like braising, slow-cooking in a crockpot or oven, or smoking.
- Preheat your oven to 325°F.
- In an oven-safe pot or Dutch oven, heat some oil over medium-high heat.
- Add your seasoned flank steak and sear it for about 3 minutes on each side.
- Add vegetables like onions, carrots, and celery along with some beef broth or water.
- Cover with a lid and transfer to your preheated oven.
- Cook for about 2-3 hours until fork-tender.
By using these techniques – marinating, slicing against the grain, using a meat tenderizer and cooking slow and low – you can transform tough flank steak into a deliciously tender meal that will be sure to impress your family and friends!