FLANK STEAK, FRIENDS & TGIF, WOO!
This is my last post for the week and part 3 of FIESTA WEEK on the blog! Today I will be sharing the MOTHERLOAD, the recipe you have been waiting for all week to complete our taco series. GRILLED AND MARINATED FLANK STEAK.
Cue the Fonz, “AAAAAYYYY!”
On Monday I shared my Radish Salsa Recipe, bringing the crunch to our taco dish. On Wednesday you got some insight into my famous Mexican Bacon Beans, the best taco side dish ever. No big deal. Slight exaggeration, but they are really good! Today I am going to get right on in to the star of the tacos…STEAK.
I first started by purchasing my juicy piece of meat. I decided on flank steak over skirt steak, although these meats are often interchangeable. Flank steak is from the bottom abdomen of the cow and contains a lot muscles and tough fibers running through out it. It has a lot of beefy, real meaty flavor and can be slightly tough. It is usually served in thin slices which is perfect for tacos. I have found that flank is much cheaper than skirt steak, which is a huge bonus!
Skirt steak on the other hand comes from the diaphragm of the cow. It is lean and has a bunch of tough fibers. Its flavor is much more intense than the flank and has more tough muscles than the flank. The pieces are cut a little thicker which makes this cut of meat more ideal for fajitas.
Flank steak holds marinades really well so I decided to marinade it for a few hours before putting it on the grill.
One of my favorite cooking sites, Serious Eats, published this awesome article about marinating meat. J. Kenzi is a culinary genius in my opinion. It is interesting how he brings science into everything. Because, I mean, why not? Science is always all around.
“Contrary to what you may think, marinade actually does not penetrate particularly far into meat—even over the course of a few days, the bulk of the aromatic compounds in a marinade will travel mere millimeters into the meat (the exception being salt, small sugar molecules, and some acids). In reality, a marinade is mostly a surface treatment, and not much benefit lies in marinating for more than half a day or so. If you’d like the flavor of the marinade to completely coat your meat, your best bet is to reserve some marinade and simply toss your meat with it after it has been cooked and sliced.
Here are a few ingredients you should consider when constructing a marinade:
- Salt is absolutely essential. It is one of the few ingredients that penetrates and seasons meat deeper than the outer surface. I like to add my salt in the form of soy sauce or fish sauce, which are also very high in glutamates, adding extra savoriness to my meat.
- Sugar when used in moderation will help the meat brown better on the grill, creating strong smoky, charred flavors. A touch of sugar also balances salt nicely.
- Aromatics are mainly a surface treatment, but they can still be quite powerful. Garlic, shallots, dried spices, herbs, or chilies are all good things to experiment with.
- Oil is often a primary ingredient in marinades. Many aromatic compounds, such as those found in garlic, are soluble in oil but not in water. The oil will help spread these flavors evenly across the surface of the meat, as well as lubricating and protecting the meat when it first hits the grill.
- Acid can balance flavors, but should be used sparingly. It can denature proteins in the meat, causing it to turn mushy over time. With very acidic marinades, it’s particularly important to not over marinade—certainly no more than half a day.”
I tried to follow his basic guidelines for marinating steak by covering the steak in flavorful Himalayan Sea Salt (Salt), brown sugar (Sugar), garlic, red and green chilies, cilantro (Aromatics), olive oil (Oil) and finally lime juice (acid). In addition to his core requirements I added cumin and oregano to the mix.
I threw everything besides the oil into a blender and then slowly added the oil a little at a time until a beautiful, light, marinade was formed. It smelled so good! I tried to not keep dipping my fingers into the marinade…I was successful, but I did lick the spoon.
Once the marinade was made I placed the steak into a Ziploc bag and added the marinade right in. I gave the bag a quick shake letting the marinade rub it’s self all over the flank steak, then plopped the bag into the fridge until I was ready to use it.
Craving this steak right now.
The steak sat in the fridge for a few hours but you could certainly leave it in there longer.
TIME TO COOK THE STEAK!
I took the steak out of the fridge about 20 minutes before I was ready to let it hit the grill. It is important to bring your meat to room temp prior to cooking so that the meat will cook more evenly. Additionally, if you have marinated the steak make sure you wipe off the excess marinade from the steak prior to cooking. The marinade can drip into your flame causing flare-ups on the grill.
After I removed the marinade I let the grill get super-hot over a medium flame then added the steak on, getting a great sear before flipping. I cooked it 5 minutes per side over the medium flame, and then moved the meat over to the side that was not lit, letting the residual heat from grill finish cooking the steak about a minute and a half per side.
STEAK IS READY!!
That baby came off the grill and rested for 15 minutes. In the meantime I added fresh flour tortillas to the grill letting them get slightly crispy. I love the look of grill marks.
Dinner is served!
Fiesta Week has now concluded. Sad, I know. Don’t worry though; we will have more themed weeks to come!
You now have in your arsenal major bullets for this weekend’s cookout.
Labor Day weekend starts NOW so grab some friends, print this recipe and get to cooking!
- 1 lb. Flank steak
- ½ cup cilantro
- ½ green jalapeño
- ½ red jalapeño
- 2 gloves of garlic
- 2 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. oregano
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1 ½ tsp. Himalayan sea salt
- ¼ cup oil
- Add last 8 ingredients to blender. Slowly add in oil until a light marinade has formed.
- Place steak in Ziploc bag.
- Add marinade into bag.
- Shake bag to cover meat with marinade.
- Refrigerate for 2 + hours.
- Heat one grill burner over medium-high until piping hot.
- Using the heated burner side, place the meat on the grill. Do not move, giving it a hard sear. Cover and let cook for 5 minutes before flipping. Cook for another 5 minutes.
- Move meat onto burner that is not heated. Cover. Let cook for 1 ½ minutes. Flip and repeat. This will give you a medium-rare.
- Check meat consistency. If it is to your liking remove from heat.
- Let rest for 10-15 minutes.
- Slice against the grain.
- Serve over warm tortillas.
- This recipe is for medium-rare. Cook for 6-7 minutes per side for medium.
- Keep the grill on when moving meat to non-heated side of the burner.
- Save some of the marinade to drizzle over the meat after it is cooked.