by Max Bellamy
The underside of the belly is called the flank. It is the part directly below the sirloin and the short loin. Steaks cut from this area are grainy any chewy. Hence, special cooking methods are employed for flank steaks to reduce their graininess and chewy nature. But these cuts are quite favored for their beefy flavor.
Flank steaks are cut differently from other steaks. The cutting is done in thin slices diagonally along the grain. This makes the steak softer to cut. Flank steaks are tough. They are marinated before the actual cooking, usually overnight. The marinating makes cooking flank steaks a faster process. Flank steaks should not be cooked at anything more than medium rare or they would become tough even to put a bite in them.
The marinade used for tenderizing flank steak is a mixture of various liquids, most of them acidic like curds, lemon juice, vinegar, wine, tomato juice or even fruits such as papaya or pineapple. The best method is to stuff the raw flank steaks into a polythene bag along with marinade and keep it overnight. Marinated steaks cannot be stored for long; hence they should be cooked as soon as the tenderizing is done.
Marinated flank steaks can be cooked by dry heating methods such as grilling, broiling or pan-frying. They need high heat for their striated muscle fibers to be properly done. They need almost double the time it takes for other steaks to be cooked. Flank steaks are also very delectable when they are stuffed and baked or braised. Before serving, flank steaks are cut into thin slices and suitably garnished.
Flank steaks are more difficult to cook than other steaks. They are also priced lower than other steaks. Despite the special care that must be taken to cook flank steaks, they are extremely popular due to their excellent flavor. Steaks marketed under the name ‘London broil steaks' are usually flank steaks. However, this name has nothing to do with flank steaks, as they have nothing to do specially with London.
Flank steaks are less fattening than loin steaks. A 3 ounce piece of flank steak will have about 192.1 calories. It contains approximately 26% proteins and 12.5% fat.
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