Flank steak is one of the most sought after, flavorful, and highest quality cuts of meat in existence.
Anybody who is anybody knows how valuable and versatile flank steak is. Not only can it be used in its own dishes, it can also be used in all kinds of recipes that use steak as its protein.
It is truly a gourmet meat and if it isn’t very costly, it can be very difficult to come across. Nearly any fine dining eating establishment knows that they need plenty of flank steak in stock for any dish that requires it.
But if you do not have the budget or the connections to acquire flank steak whenever you please, you’ll want to seek out some cheaper substitutes that are also easier to come across.
If your budget is limited and you do not have the time or other resources to seek out flank steak, it would behoove you to seek out some sensible substitutes for flank steak.
Here’s 6 Substitute for Flank Steak
It is quite confusing to tell apart the distinction between top round and flank steaks since they are usually called London broil steaks. Being in the same group, it is safe to presume that top round steak can be used as an alternative to flank steaks. Similar to other types of steaks, top round steaks require marinating prior broiling and grilling to make the meat tender.
However, some people don’t like marinating which often leads them to concerns on how to tenderize the meat in other ways. Fortunately, Bon Appetit came up with the solution to such a problem. He suggests rubbing the meat with cloves of garlic, pepper, and salt. After this process, let it rest for about an hour at room temperature. Afterward, each side of the steak should be grilled under medium-high heat for about seven to eight minutes. Continue grilling the steak for four minutes at each side once.
Non-beef Flank Steak Alternative Options
Typically, you will achieve optimum flavor using a skirt, hanger, or another flank steak alternative if you desire a classic flat steak entree. If not, you may use a variety of alternatives for recipes like mock steak, fajitas, or stir fry. The following non-beef flank steak can be used as an alternative.
Similar to the conventional method of tenderizing steaks marinate the chicken breast prior to cooking. You may stir fry or saute the chicken and add vegetables to your desire. It may be used for a variety of recipes.
Mushrooms that have meaty-like features can be used as alternatives. Examples of which include portobello or shiitake mushrooms especially if you want to have a meatless Monday.
In order to meet the steak-like experience for vegetables, slice thickly cauliflower or butternut squash. Once grilled or cooked in a skillet, it will have a brown steak-like feature.
Tofu had been widely used for cooking over the years. Tofu is coagulated soy products that are quite dense and have a firm shape which makes them viable in grilling. Prior to cooking, marinate tofu slices to achieve the best favor. If not, you may use olive oil and seasoning for brushing before grilling.
Basic Flank Steak Recipe
The following ingredients are to be used for the basic flank steak recipe. You will need one flank steak, 2-3 teaspoons of garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
First, you need to get the stored meat from the refrigerator. After the steak is defrosted, rub the meat with garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a shallow dish. If you are satisfied with the amount of rubbed seasoning, cover it with a plastic wrap, and let it rest for an hour. After allowing it to rest, heat the grill to a medium-high setting prior to putting the steak. you may also use a grill pan on a stove at your convenience. Let the steak grill and rotate it for every 4 minutes at 45 degrees instead of turning it over. Repeat the procedure for another 4 minutes.
After the 4 minutes have passed, you may turn it over on the grill. Use a meat thermometer to check if the meat had reached 125F. Once the temperature is reached, remove and place the steak on a warmed plate and let it rest for at least 10 minutes. After letting it rest, you may slice the flank steak using bias cut and serve.
Why is Flank Steak so Difficult to Come by And What is it Used for?
The first thing you should know about flank steak is that it is cut from the fourth smallest area of the cow, with the shank, the tenderloin and the top sirloin being smaller.
Other than the bigger areas such as the rib, chuck, or round areas, the cuts from the flank are very scarce. This is one thing that makes flank steak difficult to come by. It is also much more difficult to cut from the flank as well, since it is so close to the short loin and the bottom sirloin.
What makes flank steak cost a lot is the way that it is cut. Flank steak is cut very thinly, which is a trait that is only shared by brisket. Most other cuts of steak does not need to be cut so thin. Because of this, meat markets will charge a little more money for it.
A lot of cuts of meat are used in a lot of dishes. Listing all of them is not necessary for the purposes of this discussion, but it is necessary to list what kinds of dishes involve flank steak.
Any form of Asian cuisine will use flank steak in any of their dishes that use beef in the recipe. If you have ever ordered any given asian dish that includes beef, what they call “beef” is actually flank steak.
Have you ever ordered anything that includes “skirt steak?” Skirt steak is also very much the same as flank steak, it is just a different name.
Flank steak is used in a lot of tex-mex dishes such as fajitas, quesadillas, and other dishes that originate from the southwest. As mentioned earlier, the area of the cow combined with how the flank is cut makes flank steak very costly and difficult to come by.
Fortunately, there do exist substitutes for flank steak that are easier to find and are less costly.
Other Alternative to Flank Steak
Is Skirt Steak Actually the Same as Flank Steak?
Earlier, it was mentioned that there is no difference between skirt steak and flank steak.
While they may look similar, skirt steak is a little bit different.
Right next to the flank is the brisket. Different than flank, brisket is boneless and can still be just as flavorful as flank steak. Brisket is where skirt steak comes from, and the only thing that makes it different from flank steak is that it is cut a little thinner and longer than flank steak.
What makes people believe that flank steak is the same as skirt steak is that they both have similar tastes because the flank is located right next to the brisket.
Although skirt steak is not the same as flank steak, it does qualify as a substitute for flank steak for the simple fact that they have similar flavors and textures.
If Flank Steak is Not Available, Try Hanger Steak
Another area of a cow that is located next to the flank is the lower rib. Hanger steak is cut at the last rib that connects to the diaphragm and the kidney.
Hanger steak is similar in flavor to flank steak and for that reason it is also a good substitute. The flavors are similar because the location where hanger steak is cut from is still near the flank.
The only issue with hanger steak is that it is similar to flank steak in that it can be costly and difficult to find. You will not be able to find hanger steak at any supermarket. Like with flank steak, you’ll need to look for hanger steak in a meat market or a butcher.
That said, if you do go to a meat market for your meat and they do not happen to have flank steak, you will be just as well off picking up hanger steak.
Tri-Tip Roast, Newport, and Santa Maria Steaks are All Good Substitutes
Fat content is a major issue when it comes to selecting proper substitutes for flank steak.
Because of how thin flank steak is, it will not contain a lot of fat. This is a very useful thing to understand when it comes to detecting what a substitute for flank steak is.
Tri-tip roast is a good substitute for flank steak because the cut is just as lean as flank steak is, meaning it does not contain a lot of fat.
If you happen to come across Newport or Santa Maria steak, they have the same properties as flank steak. So if you happen to come across those two and are looking for a substitute for flank steak, feel free to purchase those.
One thing that you need to keep in mind when cooking flank steak or any of its substitutes is that you need to know what you are doing. Because these cuts are thin in nature, they can get very tough if overcooked. But they cannot be undercooked like some of the bigger cuts of steak can.
If you are not used to cooking steak medium or medium well, you’ll need to learn how to do this before cooking with flank steak or any of the substitutes that have been mentioned here.
Do not be discouraged if you cannot find flank steak in your local grocery store or meat market. There are plenty of substitutes for it.