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Feb 28, 2012 08:45 PM

Slicing Flap Meat / Flank Steak

Hi all,

I'd like to slice a large amount of flap meat (or flank steak) in a commercial meat slicer for the purpose of marinading them and THEN chargrilling them on a grill. Yes, I know this results in moisture loss, but that is part of the effect.

Unfortunately, cutting against the grain at a 90 degree angle results in thin strips that fall through the grill cracks and are otherwise a pain to deal with. As a result, I believe I would need to slice this meat at a 45 degree angle (or less) in order to get "wider" strips.

Do any of you have a creative way of doing this? Perhaps freeze a half dozen steaks that are stacked in a tiered form such that they enter the meat slicer at an angle? Any other creative methods?

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  1. First, is your goal simply to have tasty marinated strips or slices of beef?

    Second, is your goal to have larger surface area slices of beef, just so they do not fall through the grate while grilling?

    Third, Are you using the slicer because you are cutting a large amount of meat, or because you think it is faster or easier...and, How many pounds of beef are you planning to prepare?

    Last, how thick are the slices of beef you are trying to achieve?

    Your assumption to achieve a larger slice of surface area for grilling would require a cut on the bias, or 45*, in relation to the cutting board surface...however, this would not really be easily achieved on a commercial slicer, even if you partial froze the beef and stacked them due to the fact they could not be easily handled on the slicer and held to create the angle. It would be slightly easier to do so with flap meat, rather than flank, as it is a little thicker....but in my opinion, both cuts are ultimately problematic on the slicer and easier with a knife.

    If your desire is really to get the smokey flavor, taste and aroma of charcoal grilled beef, then you should slice the beef any way you wish....and simply purchase and use an accessory for the grill for the specific task of grilling without the food falling through the grates....a device designed for vegetables or fish like the following:

    5 Replies
    1. re: fourunder

      Thank you for your reply! This is for a catering operation so there would be approximately 20 lbs. of beef cut at any given time.

      The goal is to have charred slices of beef that will then be cut up into even smaller strips post cooking. The meat will be served with vegetables and noodles so an intense flavor is desired, thus marinading post-slicing. Also, a drier texture is desired which means drenching it in sauce would not be the most wanted solution.

      Yes, the larger surface area is so that it will not fall through the grate while grilling. I have experimented with grilling grates, etc., but they do not last very long and do not achieve the desired effect.

      I am using a slicer due to the volume of meat, and because it is faster and easier.

      A griddle helps alleviate the problem of falling through the cracks, but does not provide the right "char" texture as putting the meat directly on a grill.

      I hope this feedback is helpful, and thank you everyone for your help.

      1. re: mahi03

        The thought behind stacking was the following:

        What if I stacked the meat on a tiering schedule, like creating a 45 degree staircase with the meat. Once frozen, this becomes a somewhat solid block of "tiered" pieces of steak. This way, if I place the meat on the slicer and cut the meat "flat", I'm actually cutting the meat at a 45 degree angle, due to the way the meat was stacked. something like this:


        1. re: mahi03

          It's not my business or intention to convince you how to approach this, but rather just to give you alternatives and possible solutions. I've had my fair share of experience as a guest of catered affairs and and as a manager of a country club serving Flank or Flap Meats.

          My first question .....have you considered seaming out Top Butt Sirloin as an alternative? It's probably cheaper and also more tender naturally.

          Second, are you mixing the vegetables and noodle together along with the beef, or will they be separate components? If you are going to mix all three together, have you considered making them A a Wok Station instead? You would sear the beef in one and use another for the vegetables and noodle.

          Personally, I find your method to be too labor intensive and a lot of effort for a the small slices may even stick and would lose their integrity as envisioned. Although you cite 20 pounds as a large amount of meat to prepare, i cannot see how mixing the ingredients together will keep the much desired char effect you are seeking. Instead, i would take the approach of placing the meat atop of the vegetables and noodle, e.g., like a salad type presentation. There's no reason why you could not marinate the whole pieces of meat, grill off and then slice. Slicing individual pieces of meat would keep the quality of the beef in check and present it much more pleasant to the eye. If you add some sweetener to your marinade, you most certainly can achieve a very nice char over the grill before slicing.

          I would disagree it's faster and easier to preslice the meat on a slicer ....once you consider all the steps you need to do to use the slicer....and then clean that as well.

          1. re: fourunder

            Fourunder - Thank you for your input. It is educational and valuable and is a great discussion platform.

            The meat will be a separate component from the noodles and raw vegetables. Otherwise a stir-fry would be the more traditional approach. Slicing the meat, marinading it, and then cooking it on a grill IS indeed very labor intensive. It just happens to be the method, at least to date, that has produced the desired texture/flavor.

            I have not yet tried a Top Butt Sirloin but I will. Thank you for the suggestion, and I welcome any other meats cuts as well.

            The marinade is sweet. But even after marinading for 48 hours, I am unable to get the desired texture by cooking the steak whole, and then slicing thereafter. I completely agree this is the least labor-intensive approach, and I actually prefer this form of cooking (and eating) for my own personal steak, but it does not fit the dish well.

            Of course, a top butt sirloin may solve this issue.

            1. re: mahi03

              You should also consider using Top Blade/Flat Iron or Tri-Tip. Easy to separate, virtually no trimming and very tender, especially if marinating.

      2. Maybe sourcing a section of fine meshed steel for a "use-once" top over your regular grill bars would be an answer?

        1. Alternative proposal:

          Buy two pieces of stainless steel hexagonal chicken wire mesh, or just one large piece that you fold over in half. This stuff is pretty cheap and easy to find. Wash mesh thoroughly, then place the meat in between said mesh pieces. Tie shut with wire. Use your mesh 'cage' to turn the slices on the grill. Now they don't fall through. ..... Profit.