Grilled Marinated Flank Steak
Flank steak is a lean, somewhat tough but flavorful cut of beef that benefits from the tenderizing effects of a marinade. It is best cooked medium rare and thinly sliced at an angle across the grain of the meat.
Prepared this way, marinated, cooked quickly at high heat, thinly sliced, flank steak practically melts in your mouth. This recipe calls for grilling the steak, but if you don’t have a grill, you can prepare the steak on a large cast iron frying pan as well.
For more Southwestern flavors, see our carne asada recipe. Do you have a favorite flank steak marinade? or grilling trick for flank steak? If so, please let us know in the comments.
Updated from the recipe archive. First posted in 2007.
My mother likes to score the flank steak with 1/4-inch cuts about an inch apart across the grain of the steak before cooking. It helps the marinade penetrate more deeply and the steak cook more quickly.
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 pounds flank steak
1 Combine the marinade ingredients in a large non-reactive bowl. Place steak in the bowl and turn so that it is completely coated with the marinade. (You can also place the steak and marinade in a freezer bag and place it in a bowl.) Chill and marinate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.
2 Prepare your grill for high, direct heat with one part of the grill for lower, indirect heat. The grill is hot enough when you hold your hand about an inch over the hot side and you can only hold it there for about a second.
3 Remove the steak from the marinade and gently shake off the excess marinade from the steak (but make sure there is still a coating of it, you'll want the oil on it to help keep the steak from sticking to the grill). Place steak on the hot side of the grill. Grill for a minute or two on each side to get a good sear, then move the steak to the cooler side of the grill, cover and cook a few minutes more until done to your liking.
How do you know when the steak is done? One way to tell is to poke it with your fingertips. While the steak is still raw, test it with your fingers; it will be quite squishy. That's what a very rare steak feels like. Touch the tip of your nose and that's what a very well done steak feels like. Here's a visual guide, the finger test to check the doneness of steak.
Otherwise use a good meat thermometer (I recommend a thermapen.) Pull the steak off the grill at 125 to 130°F for rare, 140°F for medium rare, and 150°F for medium.
4 When the steak has cooked to your preferred level of doneness, remove from the grill and place on a cutting board. Cover with aluminum foil to hold in the heat while the steak rests for 10 to 15 minutes.
5 Notice the direction of the muscle fibers of the steak; this is called the grain of the meat. Flank steak is a very lean cut that will be tough and chewy unless you cut it in a way that breaks up the muscle fibers.
So, cut the steak across the grain of the meat, at a steep diagonal, so that the slices are wide. I find it easiest to use a long serrated bread knife for this, but any long sharp knife will do.