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Jun 18, 2010 09:35 PM

Is "flank steak" not a steak?

I had someone tell me tonight in no uncertain terms that flank steak isn't steak. Is that true? (They said it's "just beef"....) And what's the definition of "steak" then?



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  1. It most certainly IS a steak. Considering the definition in most dictionaries just calls for essentially "a piece of meat" it most certainly qualifies.

    Let said person be unaware of the bliss that can be had with a flank or skirt steak for more than half the price of their "Filet Mignon Fajitas"

    Every cut of meat has its purpose and culinary strength. Your friend's just an idiot... He'll probably just put 57 on it anyways. Relax.

    That's like people that come to your house for a cookout and throw a fit when the steak you give them isn't cooked to their exact temp. I'm a restaurant worker-slave and have spent my fair share of time on the grill (and I like to think that I know what I'm doing), so one person's eccentric behavior usually gets them a pre-printed google map with directions to the nearest steakhouse (where they've most likely sent a few steaks back that they were actually PAYING for, probably just as unwarranted) Usually it's taken well, a little joke between friends, but once it caused a rift which I really don't regret because who really ends a friendship because his wife's steak was undercooked? (I really can't make this up, the kicker was it was at my house and I bought ALL the groceries.)

    For the record, I always order med-rare, but I have had an exceptional steak that was just about medium-well maybe even above it, and a wretched one that was cooked to the exact temp.

    2 Replies
    1. re: abuller103

      Wow. Ending a friendship 'cause bud's wife's steak is undercooked? Sounds like your bud is either an entitled, selfish, narcissist (or his wife is and impels him to do her dirty work). I've been served all sorts of horrible meals in peoples' homes and would never think to say anything about my meal; especially if it's steak. I have enough trouble sending something back in a restaurant.

      I think your pre-printed google map of local steakhouses is a brilliant idea! I'm only sorry for you that you were impelled to make them because of the frequency of whiners at your grill-parties.

      1. re: abuller103

        Wow! Luckily my butthead was a guest, not a friend, so I could just ignore them!

      2. flank in almost every sense of the word is steak except in the 'easy' sense - the only way i end up eating flank is when somebody buys it by mistake. if it was bought at the village butcher, i go back and have them run it thru the circular slicer for wafer thin slices - super hot peanut oil and thirty seconds, shredded ginger, sesame seeds, honey, oyster sauce, serve over asian angelhair or steaming rice: faux-yukiyaki, DONE!

        ofcourse i prefer bottom round for this method.

        1 Reply
        1. re: epabella

          wow that sounds amazing. i didn't even know i could get my butcher to do that

        2. They must be employing a technical definition of steak that is a thickish slice of a longer integral cut of meat.

          It's a nerdy point, not worth making unless one is teaching butchery.

          1. We use flank steak in the Chinese restaurant for stir-fries all the time. But sometimes when they're trimming and slicing up the nice flanks, I'll take a hunk about 2-3 lbs and marinate in olive oil with onion and bay leaf for about two days. Then that sucker goes on a hot griddle and cooks on one side; when it's time to do the other, I add onions and mushrooms to the griddle (sometimes peppers, too) and cover the mess with black pepper. At the last minute I make thick slices... right on the griddle... and insinuate all the meaty/oniony/mushroomy goodness that's been going on right into the meat. Finish with a little butter, lift-off and serve!

            10 Replies
            1. re: shaogo

              Flank Steak,,,a favorite
              Cut in 2 inc wide strips the length of the steak (with NOT across the grain.
              Roll in a pinwheel around a large pineapple chunk
              Marinate in teriyaki
              Grill til medium rare

              Great steak rollups!

              1. re: bagelman01

                Back in the '50s and '60s, flank steak was my dad's go-to, serve-to-company, make-it-on-the-Weber meal. He'd marinate those babies in a mysterious combo of beer, soy sauce, ginger, garlic and who knows what else, sear them mightily, then serve them rare, sliced diagonally across the grain. It was his "signature dish", and was a relatively inexpensive way to serve "steak" to a crowd. Left-overs went into a cold salad with thinly sliced onions and capers the next day. I can still see him, in his plaid shorts and socks pulled up high, dousing those puppies on the grill with extra beer from the bottle in his hand -- take a sip, douse the steak, take a sip, douse the steak.. He used to refer to it as "London Broil", and that's what I called it for years until I saw a very different cut of meat called LB. And now flank steak ain't so cheap!

                  1. re: PattiCakes

                    Your dad knew whereof he spoke; flank was the traditional piece used for London Broil. He cut it that way because it's tough and chewy if you don't. If you ever find an old copy of "Joy of Cooking" at a garage sale, the recipe for LB will indicate flank.

                    Totally agree on your last point. Ribs used to a cheap cut. My dad told me of his navy days, when pulling into port (early '50s), he could get a "bucket" of shrimp for a quarter. Chicken wings used to be cheap until that night at the Anchor Bar.

                    I live in an area where there's been a huge influx of Chinese over the last few years. The places that had fish tanks used to sell off fish heads at $0.29/lb. Not any more - $2.50 baby!

                    1. re: FrankD

                      My mom used to coat a flank steak with garlic butter and grill it medium rare, that was London Broil. It pisses me off to see other cuts of beef masquerading as London Broil.

                    2. re: PattiCakes

                      jfood's parental units would soak both a flank and an LB in wishbone italian dressing all day in a tupperware bin. then one of them usually father would kill the sucker on the grill, causing flames to shoot everywhere, burning the crap out of the outside, either serving the inside beet red or dull gray depending on his mood. Neither was very tasty.

                      needless to say that wishbone italian dressing has never crossed into casa jfood and he cringes every time he sees a poster tell how wonderful this "family secret" method is.

                      1. re: jfood

                        ROTFLMA at the image of the flames shooting up! My dad's beer marinade concoction did the same thing. If he hadn't been bald already, it woulda singed his hair off.

                        1. re: jfood

                          I completely had forgotten about MY moms Wishbone Italian dressing marinated London Broil!!

                          I used to actually love it as a kid!
                          I thought it was tasty and fancy!

                      2. re: bagelman01

                        My mom used to butterfly a flank steak, fill it with Pepperidge farms stuffing, roll it up, grill it (dad did that part), and slice it and call it Mock Duck- not sure why, but it was pretty damn good.

                        1. re: EWSflash

                          Flank steak, Pepperidge farms stuffing for herbs and to catch the juices, grilling...Brilliant. I can taste it now and I just finished my supper!

                    3. I'm thinking maybe your friend doesn't consider it steak because it's usually served sliced, rather than a whole piece of meat to each diner?

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: johnlockedema

                        ...and cooking a very large steak and serving it sliced is precisely the traditional method! Individual steaks were generally restaurant food. In a family setting, one did not have *A* steak of one's own, but was served a portion of a dish called beefsteak. There are still quite a few steak houses wherein some steaks are cooked for two or more to share. Around this house, we'll split a big porterhouse or Spencer steak when we can get one; our more typical steak dinner is a flatiron cooked on the grill and sliced, from which I'll save a bit to slice thinner and sauté quickly for steak-and-eggs on Sunday.

                        1. re: Will Owen

                          I agree; I'm not one to tell Peter Luger's or an Italian enjoying his bistecca alla Fiorentina that it's not a steak because it's served sliced. I was just trying to get into the mind of Susan's friend.

                          1. re: johnlockedema

                            I think you may have done that. I was just pointing out that he is wrong ;-)