If you're familiar with cuts of a cow; then, you know you are only alloted two flanks in one beef cow. There are so many recipes, which call for a flank. Prior to ever buying our own cow I had never given it much thought. Like most Americans, you simply go to the store and choose the cut of meat you need for the desired recipe.
Now, I don't think this is bad. What I do value is knowing where our food comes from and being a bit educated about the various cuts, in order to be an ethical, mindful eater. I want to be more than a consumer. So, when we buy our half a cow, I am rather picky about what I do with these rare cuts (brisket, tenderloin are some others).
So you can imagine how I felt when I walked into the kitchen one day to see my selfless husband making dinner for us; but, to my dismay the flank steak had been used in the process. See, I pine over what exactly I'm going to make with that cut. I stow it away using the plethora of hamburger until my salivating can no longer be subdued.
It's very possible I cried inside and worked through loving in spite of it; because, truly he's so good. And, truth be told, I would most likely never use the flank for any of those fancy recipes. We know I would use it for the days of my Arizona youth...carne asada.
Carne asada means "grilled meat." This is one of the most popular dishes served up on weekends in Arizona. Add a couple Corona beers with lime, and it's a complete fiesta. It's best to keep it simple.
A word on flank steak and carne asada:
Flank is a tough, slender piece from the abdominal section of a beef cow. This means, in order for it to become tender, a good marinade is necessary to tenderize it. Marinating flank or a London Broil doesn't have to be fancy. For the carne asada, I use minimal ingredients and salt is NOT one of them. You don't need to add salt to your marinade. In fact, using salt in a marinade for grass-fed beef specifically can dry it out.
All you need is a tupperware container, or in my instance, two plastic bags (one being an old bread bag) to put the meat inside to sit in the marinade. I used red onions, because it was already on my counter. If you only have yellow, go for it. You could use lemon in place of lime; but, really--why? Olive oil for the fat, lime juice for the acid, garlic and onions for added flavor. Couple turns of the black pepper grinder should work nicely. Let it marinade in the fridge for 6-8 hours. Remove excess oil, add some coarse salt before grilling on both sides and grill it up.
You'll want to serve it up with extra lime wedges & sliced radishes. If you're avoiding grains, and the idea of making grain-free tortillas sounds exhausting (can I get an amen?); then, bake some sweet potatoes at 400 degrees for an hour (depending on size).
Carne Asada Paleo Style (printable recipe)
Be sure to make my Mango-Avocado salsa salad with this, as it's perfect pairing.
one flank steak
half red onion or yellow onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 to 1/3 cup olive oil
In a sealable bag, or tupperware container, place your flank steak inside. Add the garlic, onions, lime juice, olive oil and ground pepper. Be sure to completely cover the flank with the marinade and allowing it to sit in the juices. Place in your fridge to marinate for 6-8 hours.
Heat up your grill to high. Take your flank out of the marinade, and ensure that it's not completely coated with the marinade. You're looking for it to not be sopping with oil as to avoid grease fires and burning of the meat. Sprinkle coarse salt liberally on each side of the flank. Place on the hot grill, close the lid, and cook for 4-6 minutes on each side. I cooked mine for 6 minutes on each side and it was done. If you like a more medium rare flank, then cook for 4 minutes on each side.
One thing to keep in mind is there can be a thicker part and a thinner part to the flank, which would affect cooking times. Once done, remove to a platter and place foil over it to rest for 10 minutes, so the juices don't run out and result in a dry steak.
Once it is has rested, you will want to cut it against the grain in thin slices. Serves 6-8.