Ask the Test Kitchen: Why flat iron is one of my favorite cuts of beef

August 13, 2015 | Detroit Free Press

Flat iron steak with hon-shimeji mushrooms, pomme puree and lobster emulsion was one of the courses served at the Free Press’ Top 10 Takeover dinner Monday at Bistro 82 in Royal Oak. All the components of this dish were a perfect match. But the flat iron, of course, was the highlight.

For this dish with multiple layers of flavor, the flat iron was sliced very thin, served on top of a smooth and silky potato puree and topped with sautéed hon-shimeji Japanese-style mushrooms. Shimeji is the name for a species of mushrooms and hon-shimeji have a short, thin stem with caps no larger than a pencil eraser.

The flat iron was so perfectly prepared medium-rare you could cut it with a fork.

For years, flat iron steak has been one of my favorite cuts of beef. It is known for having a hearty flavor and tender texture — as well as being so very versatile.

It is for the same reasons Bistro 82 owner Aaron F. Belen likes it — it’s a great cut of meat.

Belen told me the restaurant sources its flat iron from Angus Reserve beef raised in Nebraska.

The nice thing about flat iron is that you don’t have to trim any fat and it takes to all cooking methods. Flat iron is especially good on the grill — and I prefer to grill it whole.

You can grill flat iron as you would any favorite steak and marinate it if you like. On the grill, flat iron is best cooked medium-rare. You can also cube it and use it for kebabs. It works in stews and braises. Or, slice it thin, marinate it and skewer it for beef satay.

Whenever I mention flat iron steak to people, they often ask if it is similar to flank steak.

It’s not.

Flat iron is cut from a chuck roast — the neck and shoulder of the animal. Flank steak is from the lower back or hindquarter of the animal. Sometimes you will find flat iron labeled chuck steak or top blade steak. Many stores sell flat iron steaks packaged in 11/4- to 13/4-pound steaks. One steak will easily feed four.

Although we did not get executive chef Derik Watson’s recipe for all the components of Bistro 82’s dish, today I am sharing a favorite flat iron steak recipe. The steak is simply marinated and an easy introduction to this flavorful cut of meat.

Contact Susan Selasky: 313-222-6872 or Follow her on Twitter @SusanMariecooks.

Free Press Test Kitchen recipe: Flat Iron Steak Sandwiches with Go Big Blue Cheese

Grilled and Marinated Flat Iron Steak

Serves: 4 / Preparation time: 10 minutes / Total time: 30 minutes, plus marinading time

1 1/4 pounds flat iron

1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce or tamari

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 cloves garlic, peeled, crushed

2 teaspoons unseasoned rice vinegar

1 tablespoon light or dark brown sugar

Salt and black pepper, optional

Place the flat iron steak in a plastic sealable bag. In a glass measuring cup, whisk together the soy sauce, canola oil, garlic, rice vinegar and brown sugar until the sugar dissolves.

Pour the marinade over the steak and seal the bag. Press the outside of the bag with your fingers, rubbing the marinade into the meat. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Remove the steak from the marinade about an hour before grilling and place it on a plate. When ready to grill, preheat or prepare the grill for medium-high heat.

Pat excess marinade off the meat. Season both sides of meat with salt and black pepper if desired or favorite seasoning.

Grill the steak about 4-5 minutes on high heat to get a good sear and nice grill marks. Turn the steak over and move to cooler heat (about medium) or indirect heat to finish the cooking, about another 8 minutes depending on the thickness and desired degree of doneness.

Remove from heat and let the steak rest a good 5 minutes before slicing on the diagonal into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Serve with grilled vegetables.

Cook’s note: For grilled vegetables, slice some red or sweet onion into half-inch-thick slices. Slice small zucchini in half lengthwise. Brush both with a little olive oil and season with kosher salt and black pepper. Do the same with some mini peppers. Grill vegetables beside steak until crisp-tender and they have good grill marks.

From and tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen. Nutrition information not available.

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