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What cut is "flap meat"? Having a hard time finding it. Is it sometimes called something else?

Whenever I watch America's Test Kitchen, they keep suggesting "Flap Meat" and I just can't find it. I checked the butcher on Fresh Direct which usually has every cut of meat and no luck. I know where it is located (which is near the sirloin, I believe) but they said it is not sirloin steak or top sirloin, but a flap of meat near the sirloin. Could it be called something else?

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  1. Flap meat comes from the bottom sirloin, and although it's from a similar region as flank steak or skirt steak, it's a different cut. Not very tender, but well-marbled and flavorful. It's sometimes called flap steak or bavette, but bavette can also refer to flank steak. Your best bet is to talk to a butcher.

    1. Ethnic markets like Hispanic markets will have it. Used for marinating and grilling like carne asada.

      6 Replies
      1. re: monku

        I checked the market in "little Mexico" on E118th street and he had no idea what I wanted. Would you happen to know what the Hispanic markets call it? (He kept trying to give me regular sirloin steak.)

        1. re: hungryinmanhattan

          Mexican carnicerias in the San Francisco area call it arrachera.

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            Yup, and it's perfect for carne asada.

            Sometimes it's also called entraƱa, and if you talk to the french, they'll call it bavette.

          2. re: hungryinmanhattan

            There is an Hispanic market around here (Metro DC) that sells tons of that stuff, very reasonably priced. They call it 'fajita flap'. I've seen other stores call it just 'flap meat'.

            1. re: hungryinmanhattan

              Here in Phoenix, the Mexican market (Ranch Market) I buy it at lists it as "carne ranchera" in the butcher case, and "fresca y marinada" ("fresh"/without or with marinade). I love it not just for carne asada, but for stir-fries and stock up when it goes on sale for $2.98/lb.

              1. re: hungryinmanhattan

                Try a Cuban,Argentin,Uruguayian market they call it "vacio".Flat meat is diferent than flap meat, I tried both.

            2. They could also be referring to the cap of a prime rib. This fatty, well marbled piece of meat hangs below the eye of the rib eye, and is connected by a great deal of fat. My grandfather is a butcher and this is always the most prized cut of the rib roast.

              I have also seen this referred to as "deckle"

              4 Replies
              1. re: doubledoc

                Your grandfather is absolutly right !

                1. re: mrbigshotno.1

                  If I could only reliably find that cut I'd consider it nirvana. It would be nirvqana.

                2. re: doubledoc

                  The rib eye cap is indeed the best meat of meat ever! Whenever I buy a rib eye steak I always go for the steak with the biggest spinalis muscle.

                3. Tell your butcher it is NAMP 185A. This is the product code for flap steak from the North American Meat Processors Association.

                  1. I live in the San Francisco Metropolitian area, the area butchers know what I want and cannot provide "flap meat", I made ATK's Sirlion Tips recipe with skirt steak, based on a butcher's recommendation, a bit chewy but I would make it again. The butcher knew what flap meat was and told me he could not get it.

                    I saw Flap Meat at Costco, ~2 weeks ago, 3 "flaps", ~$30. Looked similar to the skirt steak. I did not purchase them.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Alan408

                      These are very helpful and I appreciate the replies.

                    2. I have never seen flap meat at any of my local supermarkets, but both the local costco and Bj's carry it. It's probably my favorite cheap cut for grilling. It sort of looks like short rib, but tastes like skirt.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: joonjoon

                        just saw it at our local Publix for the first time. It did look like flank/skirt with single long fiber muscle.

                      2. Here in SoCal, we see a lot of skirt steak instead of flap meat. My understanding is that they are interchangeable. The only problem is that since it's become so trendy, it's not cheap anymore. It makes great fajitas but I only buy it when it's on sale.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: vencogirl

                          Try buying it at Vallarta Markets - they sell it seasoned and unseasoned. It's for carne asada, and when it's on sale, it's pretty cheap. Even when regular priced, it's reasonable.

                        2. Others suggested that it is well marbled but it is not. This cut is fairly lean.
                          In quebec and france it would be called bavette

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: kpaxonite

                            Whenever I've seen flap meat, it's been the most marbled meat in the entire shop.

                            1. re: joonjoon

                              What I recently saw looked pretty lean.

                              1. re: scubadoo97

                                Depends on your perspective I suppose.

                                Fatty compared, maybe to, top round. But lean compared to skirt steak or ribeye.

                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  The flaps I've seen have marbling that's superior to skirt or ribeye, and usually resembles a well-marbled shortrib.

                                  1. re: joonjoon

                                    Whenever I've seen flap meat it looks like the picture below. Again, I think it depends on your perspective in determining whether flap meat is "well-marbled" or not.

                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                        That's what I "know" flap meat to look like...well marbled.

                                        I've had some American Kobe flap meat that's some of the tastiest meats I've ever had. If you ever see it, buy it.:) Much better priced than luxury cuts like ribeye or NY strips.


                            2. Also the best way to cook this steak is not to grill it as others have suggested.

                              It is far better to sear each side for a few minutes in an extremely hot cast iron pan then put in the oven at 450 degrees until ready

                              I always season it before cooking with salt pepper onion powder worchestershire sauce and a bit of soy and olive oil. Before I put it in the oven a throw a cup of red wine in.

                              1. In new england, it's commonly sold in strips about 1" sq and called "steak tips" or "sirloin tips." Most markets carry it. I like tt ask the butcher to give me a precut piece about 4 lbs and I can freeze it in 1 lb packages.

                                French call it bavette. Latinos arrachero.

                                It tastes a lot like skirt.

                                I've only seen it sold as "flap steak" in ethnic markets and I've heard Costco sells it.

                                I don't know if steak/sirloin tips are a regional thing, but look for them and then talk to your butcher.

                                I really like the cut. a little chewy and very tasty.. takes well to marinades and I can cut it into thicker strips and grill rare or cook a bigger piece as a roast.

                                8 Replies
                                1. re: 9lives

                                  Latinos that don't speak Spanish but do speak Portuguese may call it maminha or ponto de alcatra, and I think you mean arrachera.

                                  BTW, its something you have to be careful with in English too. For instance if you see an add for "Sirloin Tip Roast" its not going to be flap meat, but more likely it will be "peeled knuckle" which makes a nice roast beef. In most cases the cut strips are from flap, but its not guaranteed. Some places which deal with no roll beef have a large selection of whole pieces, which lets you find one which is both marbled and tendered, asking the butcher for a whole piece can be a bit of a pot shoot unfortunately.

                                  1. re: itaunas

                                    I appreciate the replies. I live in Manhattan, not Calif. I have looked at butchers-large ones- in East Harlem near E117 because of reasons stated above. If anyone knows a butcher who carries it here in Manhattan, it is most appreciated. I will try skirt steak until I find it.

                                    1. re: hungryinmanhattan

                                      Although its cryptic, one of the better responses is


                                      And here is something more descriptive:


                                      Your butcher or supermarket can use that to order flap meat, but the big question is whether or not they will be able to sell a whole box of it.

                                      Also Brandt Beef productizes it as Bavette which you can buy through some higher end retailers (probably not what you are looking for) definitely in NYC.

                                      1. re: itaunas

                                        An even easier to understand (with pictures) listing of beef cuts can be found at http://www.canadabeef.ca/ca/en/beef_e...

                                      2. re: hungryinmanhattan

                                        If ur willing to venture off on the 7 into Qns there's a decent restaurant/ butcher shop that will sell you a whole piece of flap or even half if you want- they are HUGE! This is a very popular Argentinean place called El Gauchito on Corona Ave. Order it as 'vacio', not entrana. Entrana is skirt steak. While ur there, pick up some beef empanadas for the ride home, they alone are worth the trip for me :)

                                        1. re: hungryinmanhattan

                                          They carry it at Costco all the time. Isn't there a Costco uptown near the FDR?

                                          1. re: roxlet

                                            Yes, indeed. There is one uptown fro me.
                                            One question:Do they call it flap meat, or does it go by another name?
                                            Follow-up: Just saw relpy that Costco dropped it. Too bad. America's Test Kitchen always suggests using it. I wish I could buy it.

                                      3. re: 9lives

                                        Indeed, well-marbled "sirloin tips" are among my favorite cuts of beef, right up there with a perfect rib-eye.

                                        I've seen reports that it's also called "bavarian steak" in parts of New York.

                                        1. While it used to be the case that Costco carried flap meat, I was advised today by their butcher at the Springfield store that they have dropped this item due to lack of demand. Fortunately Shoppers Food Warehouse still sells flap meat at their Woodbridge location: http://www.shoppersfood.com/stores/vi...

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: VaOtter

                                            If anyone's lucky enough to live on the West Coast near a Costco Business Center, they still have it. About $3.50 a pound.

                                          2. Is this an alternative name for the elusive Curtain of Beef ?

                                            Have had no joy finding this in any of the local butchers.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Jimmy_Ike

                                              Here on the Central Coast of Calfornia I saw a banner on a Mexican carniceria promoting "carne ranchera", the term Rubee mentioned up thead, available on Sabado and Domingo. That's the first time I've noticed it called that rather than arrachera around here.

                                            2. Costco flap meat used to be my default steak when I lived in Hawaii, until two years ago. Loved it. It came in odd shapes, which may explain why it was not a big seller. But it's quite wonderful cooked medium rare.

                                              I'm moving back to America next week and eagerly anticipating regular access to Costco again. But from what I read on Chowhound, the flap meat has disappeared from the meat section ... and the few times I've checked a Costco meat section while visiting in the last couple years, I never saw it.

                                              So: What's the best (relatively) cheap beefsteak option at Costco these days? I guess I can start shopping the carnecerias of the Kansas City area, where I'm moving, and I know enough Spanish to do it, but I'd rather be able to find something good and not too expensive at Costco, my main American grocery store. Thanks.

                                              7 Replies
                                              1. re: emu48

                                                Our local Costco still carries flap meat, but I've stopped buying it. It's no longer the amazing bargain it used to be.

                                                About 10 years ago, flap meat used to run around 2.50/lb while strip/ribeye was around 5$.

                                                Now strip/ribeye are around 7$ while flap meat is over 5$/lb.

                                                As a matter of fact there are really no "bargain" cuts left with beef any more.

                                                1. re: joonjoon

                                                  I got it at Costco last fall, but noticed that instead of flap meat they labeled it loin tip steak. Of course, now that U.S. cuts of meat are being renamed, this will probably not continue.

                                                  1. re: greygarious

                                                    If anyone sees it at Costco again, I would appreciate knowing what they are calling it. Much thanks.

                                                    1. re: hungryinmanhattan

                                                      It's (flap meat) a regular item at my Costco.

                                                      1. re: treb

                                                        I picked up a pack today. Same price as strip steaks.

                                                        On another thread there was rumor that Costco would not continue to carry it. Could be true or a rumor to spur more sells. Worked for me

                                                    2. re: joonjoon

                                                      Teres Major aka shoulder tender is still a bargain.

                                                  2. Could this be called flat iron steak?

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. Carne Asada is a recipe that is frequently made from flap meat; so often that at many California butchers shops flap meat will always be marinated in preparation for use in carne asada.

                                                      1. My local Whole Foods was mislabeling flap meat as skirt steak and I fell in love with it. I bought a prepackaged skirt steak once and it was very different and so I asked the butcher what was going on and he informed me that usually what they label as "skirt steak" at the butcher counter is actually flap meat. It's one of my favorite steaks now, other than ribeye.

                                                        1. Our Costco has been carrying it for a while, and it's our "go to" cut. We used to buy Costco's flank, but flap is even tastier.
                                                          It's incredibly beefy and we sear it to med. rare.

                                                          I just make one this week, with a bourbon, gorgonzola, mushroom cream sauce.
                                                          Holy moly!!

                                                          2 Replies
                                                            1. re: scubadoo97

                                                              So decadent, but worth the splurge!