When you want to sink your teeth into a cut of beef, what is your go-to cut? For us, it's often the beef drop flank. The beef flank is one of the best meats for braising. If you have never heard of this cut of meat, or simply haven’t made it before, keep reading. We will be sharing everything you need to know about this mouthwatering cut!
What is Beef Drop Flank?
Beef drop flank comes from the hindquarter of a cow. It's a type of meat that you can normally find only in Asian supermarkets. You should recognize it instantly in the meat case. It is the meat that looks like rolled sushi. It is commonly sold rolled up in pink parchment paper.
Beef flank is basically flank meat, tendon, and silver skin combined.
Photo Credit: CuratedCook.com
It is important to note that beef drop flank is not technically a steak. It simply looks like steak when it is unrolled. This type of beef comes from the muscles that surround a cow’s stomach.
Is Beef Drop Flank Tender?
This meat is very flavorful. However, it is lean. There is hardly any fat in it. Therefore, it can be quite tough if you do not cook it properly. You will typically find this cut in soups and stews.
How is Beef Flank Sold?
As we mentioned above, you can usually always purchase this cut from an Asian market. You may even find it at your local butcher.
You can buy this type of meat only by the pound. Beef flank can range between one and four pounds.
We recommend choosing a beef flank that has a consistent thickness. This ensures your meat will cook evenly and you won’t have burnt ends.
Preparing Beef Drop Flank
You will need to consider quite a few things if you are preparing to cook beef flank:
- Do you need to trim beef flank?
- How to tenderize beef drop flank
- How to cut beef drop flank
- Marinating beef drop flank
Learn more about each of these things below.
There is very little fat on the beef drop flank, so there is never a reason to trim this cut of meat before preparing it.
You might know beef drop flank for being one of the toughest cuts to cook. This is why you must prepare it a certain way if you want it to be nice and tender. It's also why it is most commonly found in stews.
We recommend cooking this meat low and slow for the best results. Slow cooking it will allow the tough tendons to break down and turns into gelatin. However, you can also pound this meat with a mallet or use an acidic marinade for tenderization and speed things up. Both those things will break down all the connective tissues for a softer bite.
Start with the right kind of cutting board. We recommend a non-slip wooden board, or a board with feet like the 20x16 end-grain board pictured below. Cut it against the grain at a 45 degree angle.
To find the grain, look at the flank to find the lines running parallel across it. Then simply cut it at an offset angle.
Cutting beef flank properly will ensure it gets as tender as possible during the cooking process, but only if you cut it before cooking.
If you cut it after cooking, you will still find that meat cooked low and slow turns out super tender, despite the tendon and skin being included.
You can easily use your favorite marinade that you purchase from the store to marinate your beef flank. Also, you can make your own.
No matter which marinade you use, make sure you marinate this cut of meat for eight hours. This will ensure the meat is tender when it is finished cooking.
How to Cook Beef Drop Flank
The best way to cook beef drop flank is by cooking it slowly for twelve hours. The tendon in the meat will break down during this time. When the meat is finished cooking, the tendon will look like gelatin.
Most people think the gelatin is fat, but it is not.
You can also cook beef drop flank in a pressure cooker, like the Instant Pot. The twelve hour braising time turns into two hours or less. This is perfect if you are busy and need dinner ready sooner rather than later!
The most popular recipe for beef flank is stew. You can also use it in fajitas or grill it. If you choose to grill your beef drop flank, you should marinate it first. This will help break down the tendon in the meat.
How Long to Grill Beef Flank
Remember, beef flank is a thin piece of meat. So, it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to grill on either side.
Setting the grill at 500 degrees Fahrenheit is recommended for grilling this meat.
Furthermore, the internal temperature for your beef flank should be as follows:
- Rare: 120-130 degrees
- Medium-Rare: 130-135 degrees
- Medium: 135-145 degrees
- Medium-Well: 145-155 degrees
- Well-Done: 155-165 degrees
Remember to let your beef flank rest before cutting it. This will allow the juices to set and the meat to finish cooking.
Don’t shy away from beef drop flank simply because it is known to be a tough piece of meat. When you prepare it properly, it will be the tenderest piece of meat you have ever eaten. Go to your local market today and see if they have beef flank because you just might want to grab some and make it for dinner later this week. You won’t regret it!
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