Here we will cover the flank section of the cow, its cuts, and the best ways to prepare and cook these cuts. You will be able to identify these cuts more easily in a grocery, and be able to tell your meat dealer what you want to order from this section, so that you can better use it for your culinary endeavors. Information will be given on where these cuts are located on the cow, and the texture of each individual cut from the flank section.
Also, this same information given in general about the flank is the same for the wagyu cow, except that the cuts are going to contain a little more tenderness, because of the cow’s additional intramuscular fat.
The flank section of the cow is located under the short loin and the sirloin section of the cow. It is in between the plate section and the round section. This cut is the smallest primal cut of the cow, taking up only 4% of the entire cow carcass. The flank is considered to be the cow’s belly area, just like the plate section. Though the skirt steak is a part of the plate section, it extends into the flank area too; so a part of the skirt steak can be found in the flank if it wasn’t removed as a whole before the flank section was cut from the cow. The flank section is also boneless.
The flank section is used to make fajitas, steaks, ground beef, stew, and as thin strips of meat in other dishes. Any additional meat left in the flank can be trimmed up and used for ground beef.
The flank is considered to be lean, but very tough. It is also very flavorful.
Best cooking methods:
The flank should not be cooked as a whole straight from the cow, as it contains a lot of membrane, fats, and connective tissues surrounding the sections of beef in the flank section. It is best to cut out and remove these meats and then prepare and cook them accordingly.
Ensure that the membrane on the meat cuts in the flank area removed during preparation for cooking. This can be done by lightly slicing a spot to grab the membrane, and then simply pulling it off, cutting as needed when there is resistance to the pull. Excessive fats should also be trimmed and removed.
The flank steak is next to the skirt steak (if the skirt steak hasn’t been already removed as a whole). It is a thin flap of beef that is about the size of a large steak. Though some individuals call the flank steak the bavette, they are not the same thing. The flank steak is much smaller. The bavette comes from the sirloin section, and it has more marbling and tenderness.
Flank steak uses:
The flank steak can be used to make a variety of dishes, as it is very versatile. It can be used as ground beef, but it is also cooked as a whole to make steak. The cut can also be butterfly cut to make a beef roll filled with stuffing, which can be placed inside of the flank steak beef, rolled up, and then tied with butcher twine.
The flank steak is very tough in texture, but also very flavorful.
Best cooking methods:
The flank steak can be roasted as London broil, marinated and then grilled, sautéed, cooked stir-fry, cooked in a skillet, smoked at 250 degrees Fahrenheit, or braised. However, the best cooking method for flank steak is braising. Any cut taken from the meat after it is finished cooking should be thin and sliced against the grain to ease the chewing. Also, for best results, the beef should not be cooked past medium. If the flank steak is going to be cooked past medium, it is advised to have it tenderized first using a tenderizer.
Ensure that the membrane covering the flank steak is removed. Also, it should be trimmed of excessive fat.
Matambre is a cut taken from the flank section that is found on the outside (the cowhide side) of the cut after the cow has been skinned. It is a very thin flap of beef that makes up the outer stomach muscles of the cow.
Matambre is used to make beef rolls, ground beef, and stew meat. When it is used for beef rolls, it is cut butterfly to make the roll thinner and more suitable to roll stuffing into it. After the desired stuffing has been included, it is rolled in the beef roll and tied with butcher twine before cooking.
The matambre cut is a very tough cut.
Best cooking methods:
The matambre is best cooked at low temperatures for slow cooking the meat, even when it is used as a beef roll to fill/roll with choice stuffings.