In this easy recipe, a very flavorful flank steak is rubbed in olive oil and spices, then broiled to medium-rare.
This 30-minute recipe is ideal for a weeknight dinner, and the leftovers are perfect in a salad!
Flank steak is interesting. It's incredibly flavorful - I love its beefy taste - but it's a tough cut of meat with thick, prominent muscle fibers. So you'll want to either cook it quickly over high heat as we're going to do here, or slowly in a low oven as I do when making homemade beef jerky.
However you cook it, you will most certainly want to cut it across the grain, using your knife to sever the tough muscle fibers. Luckily, those fibers are very easy to spot, and they're also easy to cut across since they tend to run in the same direction.
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this flank steak recipe. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
Flank steak: Most are around 2 lb. They come folded, and before cooking them, you unfold them. I usually get my meat either at Costco or at Whole Foods.
Olive oil rub: This tasty rub contains olive oil, minced fresh garlic, kosher salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. As you can see, I like to use kosher salt when I cook. If you opt for sea salt, you'll need to reduce the amount you use.
It's very easy to broil a flank steak! The detailed instructions are included in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of the steps:
Your very first step is to line a rimmed baking sheet with foil (for easy cleanup), turn on the broiler, and place the baking sheet in the oven. You want it to be hot so that the steak cooks evenly without you needing to turn it.
For this recipe, you'll want to use an oven rack positioned 6 inches below the broiler unit. So not directly below - that would be too hot.
Now that the pan is heating up under the broiler, let's mix the rub! You'll grab a small bowl and use a small rubber spatula or a fork to stir together olive oil, minced fresh garlic, kosher salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes.
Place the steak on a clean work surface. Locate the muscle fibers running through it (as shown in the video below). When it's cooked you'll want to sever them when slicing the meat, and it's easier to spot them when the meat is raw.
Now rub the olive oil mixture all over the meat (but focus more on the top when coating it). It's easiest to do this with your hands.
Next, very carefully take the hot pan out of the oven and place the steak in its center. Return the pan to the oven (again, 6 inches under the broiler unit), and broil until browned and medium-rare, about 8 minutes.
Pull the pan out of the oven and use two large spatulas to transfer the meat to a cutting board. Cover it loosely with foil and let it rest for 10 minutes, then slice it thinly across the grain, as shown in the video below.
Like all steaks and roasts, it's really important to let the meat rest before you slice it. If you cut into it right away, lots of juices will immediately escape into the cutting board and the meat will not be as juicy.
Even when resting it properly, you'll see that some of the juices have escaped into the cutting board. That's inevitable, but we want to do everything we can to minimize that, and this means resting the meat prior to slicing it.
Frequently asked questions
This cut of beef comes from the abdominal muscles of the cow. If you've ever eaten at a French bistro and were served "bavette", that's the French name for this cut.
Since this is a very flavorful but also very tough and fibrous cut (and I'm referring to muscle fiber here), it's best to cook it quickly and minimally over high heat.
It simply means cutting a piece of meat in a way that severs its muscle fibers, making it easier to chew and digest.
It's best to examine the piece of meat when it's still raw - that's when it's easiest to identify the direction of the grain. You'll basically be looking for parallel lines of muscle fiber running down meat.
In some cuts, such as tri-tip, the grain runs in different directions. But in a flank steak, the muscle fibers are prominent and easy to spot, and they also tend to all run in the same direction, as I demonstrate in the video below.
Both are thin cuts with great beefy flavor and both should be cooked medium-rare to prevent them from being tough and chewy.
They come from different parts of the animal, though. Flank steak comes from the cow's abdomen and is quite lean, while flat iron steak comes from the shoulder (chuck), has more marbling, and is also more tender.
Variations and substiutions
A good way to vary the basic recipe is to use different seasonings. So when you mix the olive oil rub, you can add spices such as smoked paprika, chili powder, and ground cumin. I don't recommend adding dried herbs, as those tend to burn under the broiler.
Recommended side dishes
As you can imagine, this is a very versatile main dish that pairs well with lots of sides.
I do like to serve it with a salad, though, since it cooks so fast under the broiler and I can't use the oven to make anything at the same time, nor do I have the time (or patience!) to cook something on the stove. So I most often serve this steak with any of the following:
Like most cooked leftovers, you can keep them in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to 4 days. You can gently reheat them, covered, in the microwave on 50% power, or chop them cold and add to a salad. I sometimes use them in this cobb salad instead of chicken.
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Broiled Flank Steak Recipe
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
- 2 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Position an oven rack 6 inches below the broiler unit (so not directly below). Preheat the broiler on high (550°F).
- Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place it in the oven and allow it to heat up for about 5 minutes while you prepare the meat for broiling.
- In a small bowl, stir together the olive oil, kosher salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Set aside.
- Unfold the flank steak and place it on a cutting board or another work surface. Examine it and locate the meat fibers - later, when it's cooked, you'll want to cut across them.
- Rub the meat all over with the olive oil rub.
- Carefully, using oven mitts, remove the hot pan from the oven. Place the steak in the pan. Place the pan in the oven and broil until the steak is browned, about 8 minutes for medium-rare.*
- Remove the steak to a cutting board. Loosely cover it with foil and let it rest for 10 minutes.
- Slice the meat thinly against the grain, as shown in the video below. Serve immediately.