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Feb 13, 2008 08:22 AM

why can i never find flank steak? [Moved from Home Cooking board]

so many recipes call for this cut of beef but I can never find it at the grocery store. Is there another name it goes by that I'm missing? Is it an American term that has another name in Canada?

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  1. Well, from what I understand, flank steak is what was originally used for "London Broil," though top round is usually used for London Broil in my neck of the woods.

    Perhaps it's labeled as London Broil? It's got a very distinctive look when you buy it in the supermarket. The edges are rolled over so it fits on the styrofoam, and you can clearly see the grains running through it.

    1. It's quite common here in New York. Looks like this:

      usually comes kind of folded up on itself. I don't know of other names, though. But meat cuts are notorious for being called different things in different geographies.

      6 Replies
      1. re: DGresh

        ah, ok I did end up buying a steak that looked very similar, it was just labeled "fast fry" possibly with "top round". I wasn't sure if it was supposed to be that thin, so I take it that is how flank steak is supposed to be?

        1. re: pantone

          Yes - it's supposed to be thin like that - though thicker than the skirt steak - and I believe the grain of the meat goes the other way on skirt steak.

          1. re: pantone

            It is very thin but also very tough. Usually requires a strong marinade

            1. re: willygreen

              Very tough? No. It's my favorite cut for Chinese stir fry.

            2. re: pantone

              yes it's usually quite thin (an inch or less I'd say).

              1. re: pantone

                At a Mexican market its called Para Deshebrar and usually about 2 inches thick... at Whole Foods its about 1 inch thick... it shouldn't be too tough to grill... you just have to know to cut it across the grain.

            3. P

              I don't know if you're a Costco member but they sell a two pack there.
              I don't think fast fry is the same as flank. I may be wrong though.


              1. In New England,I only know this cut by the name flank steak.For many years,Chinese restaurants would only use this cut for their beef teriyaki,but to keep cost down,they use all cuts of cheaper beef now.At one point,the American version of London broil was mostly flank steak but now we too use anything from shoulder steak to top round and anything in between.It can usually be found in any grocery store on sale for about $5.99 per pound and not on sale can run upwards to $9.99 per pound.The major key in dealing with this cut,as in any cut but more important here,is to cut it on an angle against the grain.It takes a tough cut and makes it edible. As other posters have stated,its one layer folded over another layer in the package and is never over an inch thick.

                1. If you have a sympathetic butcher, ask for the cut in the midsection of the beef, right below the short loin, at the belly, and behind the plate cut.. The possible top round you bought is definitely not flank - round is from the hip region of the beef, and not as flavorful as flank.

                  Flank has become more expensive and harder to find as eaters have realized how delicious this cut is. If you find it, use a nicely flavored acidic marinade marinade and treat it gently - you'll be rewarded with a big, beefy taste and a burly texture.