Cheap & Tasty Crowd-Pleaser: Flank Steak

Ingredient Spotlight

Have a crowd of hungry omnivores to feed? Inexpensive flank steak, marinated and pan-seared, is your answer.

Flank steak is a long, flat cut of meat from abdominal region of the steer. These are hard-working muscles and the resulting meat is fairly fibrous and tough. But what you give up in tenderness, you gain in flavor. For my money, I'll take the deep, intensely beefy flavor of flank steak over many of the fattier loin cuts any day.

Because this is a tougher cut of meat, flank steak needs some extra TLC in the kitchen. I like to marinade the meat for anywhere from an hour to twenty-four hours to help soften the muscle tissue before either grilling or pan-searing it. The other trick is to cut flank steak against the grain into very thin slices before serving. Not only does this make the steak easier to serve a crowd, but it makes the tough muscle fibers running the length of the steak easier to chew.

Flank steak tacos are always a favorite and a good choice for a buffet or family-style dinner party. To fancy things up, you can also serve slices of the flank steak topped with a quick pan sauce. Salads topped with flank steak make an exceptional brunch entrée or light dinner. If you ever have trouble finding flank steak for a recipe, substitute skirt steak in its place.

Check out these recipes:

Chili-Lime Steak FajitasFlank Steak with Garlic-Parsley Sauce from Martha StewartGrilled Marinated Flank Steak from Simply RecipesOrange-Ginger Flank Steak from Steamy KitchenFlank Steak Salad with Roasted Shallots and Goat Cheese from Epicurious

What's your favorite way to prepare and serve flank steak?

Related: Dinner Party Planning: How Much Meat Per Person?

(Image: Martha Stewart)

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