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Old 04-28-2005, 06:34 PM   #1
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Question Tough flank steak

I tried the flank steak recipe in the latest issue of "Cook's Illustrated" and it was really tough. The recipe calls for a salt and spice rub with no vinegar. I followed the directions exactly as written except I kept the rubbed steak in the refrigerator longer than called for. I would think this would result in a tenderer steak than otherwise. Has anyone tried this recipe? If so, what was your experience?

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Old 04-28-2005, 06:51 PM   #2
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The key to making your flank steak tender is in how you slice it. You want to slice it against the grain on a bias and as thin as you can get it. If you look at the meat you will see the grain. basically you will notice the "lines" in the meat are all going in one direction. You want to cut across those lines, not with them. When you slice it you do not want your knife at a 90 degree angle to the cutting board. You want to turn the knife so it is maybe 35 or 25 degrees (I have never measured it, this is just an approximation). This is what it means by cutting on the bias. When that will do is get you bigger pieces of meat than if you cut at a 90 degree angle, but it will still be tender. I hope that helps. By the way...welcome to the boards
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Old 04-28-2005, 06:57 PM   #3
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You also dont want to over cook it medium rare or maybe medium at the most.Also a wet marinade will help the salt in the dry rub could have sucked out some of the moisture in the meat.
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Old 04-28-2005, 09:38 PM   #4
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I would agree with GB, definately cut against the grain, on the bias. I have had great successful with marinating my flank steak in Italian dressing, and it's best to let it get to room temperature before grilling or broiling. Also, let your steak rest before you slice it, and thin slices are better IMO.
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Old 04-29-2005, 07:56 AM   #5
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You also want to make sure you start out with a good grade of meat, not select.
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Old 04-29-2005, 09:43 PM   #6
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Smile

I did cut the steak across the grain and on the bias, though not all the slices were as thin as I would have liked, even the thinnest were tough.

The steak was medium rare.

I do not know the grade of steak, and I will check it out next time I visit the butcher.

Thanks all for the advice.
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Old 04-29-2005, 11:23 PM   #7
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A word. Think of the steak fibers as a bunch of bamboo skewers, looslely glued together into a solid unit. When you cut a thin slice perpendicular to the skewer lengths, you end up with very little glue holding them together, and they are easily seperated. If you cut them at an angle (bias slicing), the amount of glue holding the bunch together is greater, and the moment of force becomes less, making it harder to seperate the bamboo skewers.

This is analogus to the meat fiber. Cutting against the grain, vertically will give you the most tender meat, and the smallest slices. So, you must ballance the meat quality and the bias slicing to achieve satisfactory results. I made a brisket last week on the grill, following tried and true methods of slow, moist-heat, and cooking until medium rare. The meat was still tough. I tried cutting against the grain, on the bias. It was Ok for me, but not good for my wife. She requires more tender meat than do I. I had to cut it vertacally to make it tender enough for her.

So, cook it, cut it at different angles until you get the result you desire.

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