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What is Flanken Roast? How to Cook it and More

Mehgan Zheng
close-up view of cooked flanken meat to show what is flanken roast

Flanken roast is perhaps one of the easiest comfort foods to cook perfectly every time. As a beginner to the world of beef cuts and everything in between, it’s easy to get a little intimidated by the wide selection of beef cuts available at your local butchery.

It definitely does not help that the same cuts may be referred to differently across states which makes finding the perfect match for your recipe even harder. In this article, we try to give some insight into the flanken roast with the hope of making comfort dinner nights a little less chaotic at the grocery store.

Flanken roast is basically short ribs, but is cut differently. It is either cut across the bone in thinner sections - this is known as flanken cut, also known as Korean cut. Or, the short ribs is cut parralel to the bone in smaller sections (English cut). 

Where in the cow is Flanken Roast?

The flanken is part of the short ribs cut that is usually located at the clutch and plate sections of a cow. To the untrained eye, these short ribs may appear as regular ribs cut shorter. However, they are separate and cut away from the regular ribs which are found on the back of the cow.

grid showing what cuts of meat come from which part of the cow

The flanken roast also contains more marbling. Furthermore, the short ribs are tougher than regular ribs as they are filled with overworked muscles. They are perfect for slow cooking which allows them to soften while retaining their moisture and flavor.

Short ribs became a kitchen staple as they were an affordable cut of meat that would often be left out of the steak cuts due to their tough nature. In recent years, the flanken cut has become more popular, especially in establishments serving up Asian dishes.

The English cut vs. the Flanken cut vs Korean Cut

When a butcher (or you) cut short ribs, they have two options:

flanken cut vs english cut for short ribs which is same as flanken roast

The English Cut

This is the more traditional rib-cutting technique that involves cutting the meat parallel to the bone. This cutting method leaves a single bone attached to each piece of meat. If you are good with your knife you can opt for a rack of ribs and cut it from the comfort of your home.

The Flanken Cut

The flanken roast cut is less popular and involves cutting your meat across the bone in thin, 1/4" sections. This is a great cut if you're looking to put this on the grill, instead of slow cooking it. It is a very popular cut in Korean BBQ restaurants.

Note: If you're not sure what kind of tools to use, read more about the best kind of cutting board for raw meat.

raw flanken cut beef on top of a grill with onions on top

How to Cook a Flanken Roast

Because the flanken roast is full of flavor, there’s no shortage of ways for you to cook it. Here are some of our favorite ways to cook it:

    Grilling

    korean cut flanken roast (thiny sliced across the bone) on bed of lettuce raw

    This is only appropriate with the flanken cut (thin cut across the bone). Marinate it in your favorite teriyaki sauce and grill both sides. This cooking technique not only yields a moist and tender bite, but you can achieve a delicious crispy char if you grill it properly.

    • Marinate your flanken ribs with your favorite marinade for 30 minutes to an hour.
    • Place pieces on a preheated grill.
    • Leave on the grill for 4-5 minutes per side.
    • Melt butter over the pieces for extra buttery flavor.

    Slow cooking

    If you’re in no rush to serve up your ribs and are willing to go the extra mile to enjoy the fall –off-the bone tenderness of your ribs, slow cooking may just be the method for you.

    • Heat a skillet and sear your seasoned meat. (Check our article on using stainless steel vs. cast iron for searing)
    • Allow the meat to brown on both sides.
    • Add beef broth into a slow cooker and flavor it with herbs and spices.
    • Add seared meat into the slow cooker and leave for 6-8 hours on low or 4-6 hours on high.

    Although these pieces of meat have the right amount of marbling to yield tender and juicy results, your meat could end up dry and chewy when overcooked. If a long slow cooking process is your go-to option, leave the meat on heat until it is tender enough to slide off the bone effortlessly.

    When grilling, removing the meat from the heat once it gets to medium rare will yield the juiciest flavor.

    How to Choose a Flanken Roast

    There are a few things you should consider when picking a flanken roast cut. Here is what to look for:

    Marbling

    The amount of marbling on your ribs directly affects how much flavor and tenderness you can achieve. When choosing a short rib for your cookout, try to find one that is properly marbled with fat for better results.

    Trimmed or Untrimmed

    When a butcher cuts the ribs, they usually leave a layer of fat left on the surface of the meat. You can either have this trimmed off at the butchery or left on the rib. Although your guests will appreciate fat and celebrate the tenderness that comes with good marbling, too much fat may have a counterproductive effect and leave you with an unpleasant mess. 

     

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