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How to Cook

Cooking Flank Steak

How to Cook Flank Steak

Flank steak is famous for its intense flavor – and for how tough it can be if improperly cooked. The truth is, flank steak is a wonderfully versatile cut of beef and can be melt-in-your-mouth tender with just a little know-how.

 

So what's the secret to cooking flank steak? Grilling is perhaps the best way to cook flank steak, but you can also pan-sear it in a skillet or broil it in your oven. The real trick is to keep your flank steak grill time to a minimum; this lean cut is best cooked rare, medium-rare, or medium.

 

Next, you'll need to know how to carve a flank steak. Why? The muscle fibers in flank steak are very strong and can be extremely tough. But, there's an easy solution – learning to carve your flank steak against the grain.

 

Everything you need to know is in the instructions below. Use these techniques along with a meat thermometer and soon you'll be famous for your amazing flank steak!

How to Cook Flank Steak on the Grill

  • Be sure your flank steak is completely thawed.
  • Flank steak is a terrific cut for marinating. If you have a marinade recipe you would like to use, it's best to wait until your flank steak is thawed. Marinating while defrosting can make the surface texture of the meat mushy.
  • If you choose to use a marinade, place your steak in a bowl or resealable plastic bag and add the marinade. Use enough marinade to cover the meat completely or and be sure to turn the steak a few times while marinating. Your marinade recipe should tell you how long to marinate your flank steak. For the sake of food safety, always refrigerate the meat while marinating. Before cooking, remove your flank steak from the marinade and allow excess marinade to drain away.
  • If you do not want to marinate your flank steak, you may still want to season it; we recommend Kansas City Steak Original Steak Seasoning.
  • To cook on a charcoal grill, place your flank steak over the hottest part of the grill, and sear both sides for 1-2 minutes. Then move to medium, ash-covered coals and continue to grill. Use the chart below to determine how long to grill flank steak. Turn about 1 minute prior to the halfway point.
  • To cook on a gas grill, preheat on high. Sear both sides for 1-2 minutes, then reduce to medium heat and continue to grill. Use the chart below to determine how long to grill flank steak. Turn about 1 minute prior to the halfway point.
  • For the perfect medium-rare flank steak, grill for 9-12 minutes , turning about 1 minute before the halfway point. A meat thermometer should read 130°F.
  • Rest your flank steak for 5 minutes before serving, covering lightly with foil. The temperature of the meat will continue to rise about 5°F during this time (this is called "carryover cooking"). The final temperature will read 135°F.
  • Resting flank steak is also important because the heat of cooking pulls the juices in the meat toward the surface; if you slice into it immediately after cooking, those flavorful juices will end up on your plate, not in your flank steak. Allowing the steak to rest will give the juices time to sink back in and throughout the meat, keeping it moist and flavorful.
  • Make sure your carving knife is sharp (See our Expert Tips for How to Sharpen a Knife and Expert tips for How to Carve a Steak).
  • Take a good look at your flank steak and note which direction the fibers are running. Slide your knife back and forth across those fibers - across the grain - cutting your flank steak into slices. Keep each slice no more than 1/4" thick.
  • To make each bite extra tender, hold your knife blade at a 45° angle; this is called "cutting on the bias." Cutting against the grain this way exposes more surface area in each fiber and keeps the fibers from being stacked directly on top of each other in each slice of meat, further weakening the bonds that hold them together.

How to Cook Flank Steak in the Oven

Learning how to broil flank steak in your oven is considered by many the best way to cook flank steak indoors and delivers results similar to grilling.
  • Be sure your flank steak is completely thawed.
  • Flank steak is a terrific cut for marinating. If you have a marinade recipe you would like to use, it's best to wait until your flank steak is thawed. Marinating while defrosting can make the surface texture of the meat mushy.
  • If you choose to use a marinade, place your steak in a bowl or resealable plastic bag and add the marinade. Use enough marinade to cover the meat completely or and be sure to turn the steak a few times while marinating. Your marinade recipe should tell you how long to marinate your flank steak. For the sake of food safety, always refrigerate the meat while marinating. Before cooking, remove your flank steak from the marinade and allow excess marinade to drain away.
  • If you do not want to marinate your flank steak, you may still want to season it; we recommend Kansas City Steak Original Steak Seasoning.
  • Set oven for broil and preheat 10 minutes. During broiling, the door of an electric oven should be left ajar; the door of a gas oven should remain closed.
  • Place flank steak on the rack of a broiler pan. Position broiler pan in oven so that the surface of the beef is 3 to 4 inches from the heat. Broil to desired doneness; use the chart below to determine how long to cook flank steak under the broiler.
  • For the perfect medium-rare flank steak, broil in the oven for 11-14 minutes, turning about 1 minute before the halfway point. A meat thermometer should read 130°F.
  • Rest your flank steak for 5 minutes before serving, covering lightly with foil. The temperature of the meat will continue to rise about 5°F during this time (this is called "carryover cooking"). The final temperature will read 135°F.
  • Resting flank steak is also important because the heat of cooking pulls the juices in the meat toward the surface; if you slice into it immediately after cooking, those flavorful juices will end up on your plate, not in your flank steak. Allowing the steak to rest will give the juices time to sink back in and throughout the meat, keeping it moist and flavorful.
  • Make sure your carving knife is sharp (See our Expert Tips for How to Sharpen a Knife and Expert tips for How to Carve a Steak).
  • Take a good look at your flank steak and note which direction the fibers are running. Slide your knife back and forth across those fibers - across the grain - cutting your flank steak into slices. Keep each slice no more than 1/4" thick.
  • To make each bite extra tender, hold your knife blade at a 45° angle; this is called "cutting on the bias." Cutting against the grain this way exposes more surface area in each fiber and keeps the fibers from being stacked directly on top of each other in each slice of meat, further weakening the bonds that hold them together.

Pan-Seared Whole Flank Steak on the Stove

  • Be sure your flank steak is completely thawed.
  • Flank steak is a terrific cut for marinating. If you have a marinade recipe you would like to use, it's best to wait until your flank steak is thawed. Marinating while defrosting can make the surface texture of the meat mushy.
  • If you choose to use a marinade, place your steak in a bowl or resealable plastic bag and add the marinade. Use enough marinade to cover the meat completely or and be sure to turn the steak a few times while marinating. Your marinade recipe should tell you how long to marinate your flank steak. For the sake of food safety, always refrigerate the meat while marinating. Before cooking, remove your flank steak from the marinade and allow excess marinade to drain away.
  • If you do not want to marinate your flank steak, you may still want to season it; we recommend Kansas City Steak Original Steak Seasoning.
  • Heat a heavy skillet or cast-iron skillet over high heat until hot, for about 5 minutes. A very hot pan delivers the best sear.
  • Add a 1-2 tablespoons of vegetable oil or butter to skillet (enough to coat the bottom) and immediately place flank steak in the hot skillet.
  • For the perfect medium-rare flank steak, sear in a skillet for 12-13 minutes, turning about 1 minute before the halfway point. A meat thermometer should read 130°F.
  • Rest your flank steak for 5 minutes before serving, covering lightly with foil. The temperature of the meat will continue to rise about 5°F during this time (this is called "carryover cooking"). The final temperature will read 135°F.
  • Resting flank steak is also important because the heat of cooking pulls the juices in the meat toward the surface; if you slice into it immediately after cooking, those flavorful juices will end up on your plate, not in your flank steak. Allowing the steak to rest will give the juices time to sink back in and throughout the meat, keeping it moist and flavorful.
  • Make sure your carving knife is sharp (See our Expert Tips for How to Sharpen a Knife and Expert tips for How to Carve a Steak).
  • Take a good look at your flank steak and note which direction the fibers are running. Slide your knife back and forth across those fibers - across the grain - cutting your flank steak into slices. Keep each slice no more than 1/4" thick.
  • To make each bite extra tender, hold your knife blade at a 45° angle; this is called "cutting on the bias." Cutting against the grain this way exposes more surface area in each fiber and keeps the fibers from being stacked directly on top of each other in each slice of meat, further weakening the bonds that hold them together.

Pan-Seared Pre-Sliced Flank Steak on the Stove

Flank steak is a versatile cut of beef; pre-sliced and pan-seared it is perfect atop pasta, a salad or in a stir fry.
  • Be sure your flank steak is completely thawed.
  • Flank steak is a terrific cut for marinating. If you have a marinade recipe you would like to use, it's best to wait until your flank steak is thawed. Marinating while defrosting can make the surface texture of the meat mushy.
  • If you choose to use a marinade, place your steak in a bowl or resealable plastic bag and add the marinade. Use enough marinade to cover the meat completely or and be sure to turn the steak a few times while marinating. Your marinade recipe should tell you how long to marinate your flank steak. For the sake of food safety, always refrigerate the meat while marinating. Before cooking, remove your flank steak from the marinade and allow excess marinade to drain away.
  • If you do not want to marinate your flank steak, you may still want to season it; we recommend Kansas City Steak Original Steak Seasoning.
  • To pre-slice your flank steak, place it to the freezer for just 15 minutes; this will firm up the meat and make it easier to slice.
  • Make sure your carving knife is sharp (See our Expert Tips for How to Sharpen a Knife and Expert tips for How to Carve a Steak).
  • Take a good look at your flank steak and note which direction the fibers are running. Slide your knife back and forth across those fibers - across the grain - cutting your flank steak into slices. Keep each slice no more than 1/4" thick.
  • To make each bite extra tender, hold your knife blade at a 45° angle; this is called "cutting on the bias." Cutting against the grain this way exposes more surface area in each fiber and keeps the fibers from being stacked directly on top of each other in each slice of meat, further weakening the bonds that hold them together.
  • Heat a heavy skillet, a cast-iron skillet, or wok over high heat until hot, for about 5 minutes. A very hot pan delivers the best sear.
  • If you are stir-frying flank steak, simply follow your recipe directions from this point forward.
  • For the perfect pan-fried flank steak slices to top pasta, rice, potatoes or a salad, add a 1-2 tablespoons of vegetable oil or butter to skillet (enough to coat the bottom) and immediately place flank steak slices in the hot skillet.
  • Sear the slices for 4-7 minutes, turning frequently with tongs, until you see each slice is cooked to the desired level of pink in the center. Remove and serve immediately.

Cooking Times

for Flank Steak

Remember to fully thaw your steaks. Sear on high heat for 1 - 2 minutes each side, then move to indirect heat. Turn them 1 minute before the halfway point of the cooking time. For perfect doneness, we recommend you use a meat thermometer and use the Measuring Doneness chart below.

The Grill
Gas Grill Charcoal Grill
Rare1 inch
8-11 mins

8-11 mins
Medium-Rare1 inch
9-12 mins

9-12 mins
Medium1 inch
10-13 mins

10-13 mins
Medium-Well1 inch
12-15 mins

12-14 mins
The Stove Or Oven
Skillet Broil
Rare1 inch
11-12 mins

10-13 mins
Medium-Rare1 inch
12-13 mins

11-14 mins
Medium1 inch
13-14 mins

12-15 mins
Medium-Well1 inch
14-15 mins

13-16 mins

Measuring Doneness

    Remove when your steaks are 5 degrees less than the temperatures listed. The centers will continue to warm as they rest.

  • 1 Rare

    125°F - Center is bright red; pinkish towards the outside

  • 2 Medium-Rare

    135°F - Center is very pink; slightly brown towards the outside

  • 3 Medium

    145°F - Center is light pink; outer portion is brown

  • 4 Medium-Well

    155°F - Center is slightly pink; outer portion is brown

  • 5 Well

    165°F - Uniformly brown throughout

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Select The
Perfect Steak
How to
Carve a Steak
How to
Sharpen a Knife