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Cooking with Fire

Cooking With Fire: Flank Steak

Justin Cary

There used to be a time when I would stand at the butcher counter at my local shop, overwhelmed by the sheer amount of options in the case in front of me -- and that was just in the beef section.

But over the years I have studied up on the different cuts of beef which has lead me to applaud lesser known cuts such as the teres major and flat iron. But I want to talk about my absolute favorite cut of beef: the flank steak.

The flank steak is an often abused cut due to the fact that the muscle sits just above the belly of the cow and is used daily. This leads it to be fairly lean and fibrous, two things that make getting a tender piece of meat difficult.

But I’m here to tell you the secret to preparing this amazing cut. Well, three of them.

One: Always marinate a flank steak before you cook it. This will help break down the muscle, making it more tender.

Two: Don’t cook it above medium rare. If you overcook the steak it will be too tough and chewy.

Three: Cut thinly across the grain at a 90-degree angle. This angle is easy to determine on a flank steak as the muscle fibers are quite large. Simply looking at the meat you can tell where to cut.

Here's a fantastic recipe featuring this amazing cut. And in this latest episode of Cooking with Fire,  I interview my co-host Chef Tom Jackson about his time cooking the South Beach Wine and Food Festival where he prepared this exact recipe.

Grilled Chipotle Flank Steak


  • 2 (1.25 lb) flank steaks

 For the South Beach Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup sweet fruity barbecue sauce
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • salt & pepper, to taste

 For the apple chipotle marinade:

  • 8 cups apple juice
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1 (7.5 oz) can of chipotles in adobo, peppers minced

 For the coffee steak rub:

  • 1/2 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1/4 cup coffee, medium grind
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp chipotle powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder


  1. To make the South Beach Sauce, combine all ingredients and whisk to mix well. Taste and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Store in the refrigerator.
  2. Trim any silver skin from the surface of the flank steaks. 
  3. Mix the marinade ingredients. Whisk until the salt is dissolved. Place the flank steaks and marinade in a large zip top bag. Let sit one hour for every pound of meat.
  4. Preheat your grill to 450ºF set up for direct grilling.
  5. Combine all coffee steak rub ingredients in a small shaker and mix well. 
  6. Remove the steaks from the marinade. Wipe off excess moisture. Season with the coffee steak rub. Let set up for five minutes.
  7. Grill the steaks about 8 minutes each side, over direct heat, until the internal temperature reaches 125ºF. Let rest ten minutes. Slice thin, across the grain of the meat. Serve with the South Beach Sauce.