If you are a fan of Tex-Mex cuisine, I am sure you must have eaten flank steak at least once in your life. Some of you may even have had experiments with it in the kitchen. So, let me tell you about the best flank steak substitutes in this article.
Flank steak is definitely a tricky piece of meat to cook with. Cook it a little extra and or cut it wrong, and you will end up with a tough piece of meat. So, if you are looking to use alternative meat to cook with, look no further! This article has the best substitutes for flank steak.
Now you must be wondering, what can be used in place of such a wonderful cut of meat? The best flank steak substitutes that you can use are skirt steak, top round steak, hanger steak, flat iron steak, flap steak, top sirloin, chicken breast, and portobello mushrooms. (yes, you read that right! )
But, I think that before we discuss the substitutes for flank steak, I should tell you a little more about this beautiful yet underrated steak. Knowing how the steak tastes and its texture will make it much easier to pick a substitute for the same.
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Quick Peek: Flank Steak
This section will help you with all the vital information about flank steak. You will get to understand the basic cut, its flavor and texture profile uses, and nutritional information too. So, gear up, and let us discuss flank steak!
What Is Flank Steak?
Flank steak is a cut of beef that comes from the flank area of a cow. The flank is located in the rear quarter of a cow. In simple terms, it is a part of the abdominal muscle of the cow. It is about a foot long and has a thickness of 1 inch.
Usually, flank steak is cooked whole rather than divided into smaller portions of steak. This cut is inexpensive and extremely flavorful. Initially, this cut of meat was considered extremely low quality and was either discarded by butchers or ground into hamburgers.
However, now this cut of meat has gained popularity in many parts of the world. It is also considered to be one of the most versatile cuts of beef. It is also known by various other names such as jiffy steak and London broil.
Describing Flank Steak: Flavor And Texture
As we talk about the texture of flank steak, it is a relatively long cut and is not too thick. It is very grainy and relatively chewy as compared to various other types of steak. It is chewy as it has a very tightly woven grain structure.
With regards to flavor, it has a very rich beefy flavor to it. It does not have the mouthfeel that various other marbled cuts of meat have. This is because it is a leaner cut of beef. Flank steak usually tastes well when marinated before cooking, as that helps tenderize the meat.
Uses Of Flank Steak
Flank steak is a very versatile cut of meat with various uses. Though originally used more in traditional Tex-Mex recipes, flank steak is now very popular in Asian cuisine too. Flank steak is very popularly used to make fajitas and tacos.
Flank steak can be grilled, broiled, and braised to tenderize the meat even more. It is popularly used to make a dish called ‘London Broil.’ It is often sold as stir-fried beef in Asian markets. Moreover, it is served as a medium-rare steak in French cuisine.
Flank Steak On The Health Radar | Looking Through The Wellness Telescope
Flank steak is a leaner cut of beef as compared to many others. It does have a lower fat content as compared to various other types of steak cuts. However, it is not completely fat-free.
A piece of flank steak which is about 85 grams or 3 oz in weight, has around 163 calories. Out of these, 63 calories are from fat. It is important to note that flank steak does contain cholesterol and saturated fats, so it should be eaten in moderation.
Flank steak, however, just like most varieties of meat, is a great source of protein. It also has vitamins such as B6 and B12, along with minerals such as calcium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium.
Why Use A Substitute For Flank Steak?
As I have told you all about how versatile flank steak is, some of you may be wondering why there is even a need to use a substitute for the same. Well, I won’t deny the fact that flank steak is an excellent cut of meat with some good nutrients in it too.
However, there still are some reasons why you can consider using a substitute for flank steak. Out of these reasons, the first and foremost reason is that flank steak has to be cooked in a proper way.
If by any chance, you are new to cooking flank steak, there are reasons to be extra careful as this is a tricky piece of steak. If it is overcooked even slightly, flank steak can easily become very chewy and rubbery.
So, if you want to avoid the whole rigmarole of cooking flank steak, you can use a substitute that is much easier to cook than flank steak. Moreover, flank steak does not offer the smooth mouthfeel that various other steaks do, as it is lean meat.
So, again in this situation, if you want a steak with a less intense beefy flavor, you can look into using a substitute. Lastly, in case you are just not able to find flank steak anywhere or are out of it, you can again use a more easily available substitute for the same.
Now that you know so much about flank steak, I think it’s time for me to introduce the substitutes. So, without taking any more of your time, the best flank steak substitutes are all given in the next section.
10 Best Flank Steak Substitutes
This section has the best substitutes you can use in place of flank steak. You will get to understand the flavor and texture of each substitute, what recipe they would work best in, and also the ratio of substitution.
1. Skirt Steak
Skirt steak comes from the plate of the cow, which is located just below the ribeye. Though it has a higher fat content, it has a beefy flavor which is quite similar to that of flank steak. So, it can be used as a substitute for the same in various recipes.
Skirt steak is not as lean as flank steak. However, it still is one of the best and most commonly used substitutes for the same due to the similarity in flavor. However, regardless of the higher fat content, skirt steak can get tough if not cooked correctly.
So, the best way to cook skirt steak is to marinate it before cooking it, as that will help tenderize the meat and give better results. You should also be careful not to overcook it and always slice it against the grain.
Skirt steak is an excellent choice as a substitute for flank steak in fajitas and stir-fried dishes. It also cooks really well under high heat, so you can basically use it for any recipe where you need only a short amount of cooking time.
2. Hanger Steak
Hanger steak comes from the underside of the cow, near the loin. It has a higher fat content and is more tender; however, it is cut into thin slices, similar to flank steak. It can be used as a substitute for the same in various recipes.
Hanger steak is usually tender and is a more expensive cut of beef. The higher fat content gives it a slightly less intense flavor as compared to flank steak, however, the beef flavor is still intense and out there.
Again while cooking hanger steak, you will have to be careful about how long you cook it. It is recommended to grill it only for two minutes per side, as grilling it too much will make the meat very tough and chewy.
You can use hanger steak in place of flank steak if you want something with a smoother mouthful. It works well in all recipes where flank steak is traditionally used, such as fajitas, tacos, and stir-fries.
3. Flat Iron Steak
Flat iron steak is a cut of specific types of steak, known as top blade steaks. These steaks usually come from the shoulder of a cow and are tender and flavorful. It can be used as a substitute for flank steak in various recipes.
Flat iron steak is a more expensive cut of steak as compared to flank steak. It is not really as lean as flank steak, as it contains a membrane that makes it tougher. This steak also works really well when it is marinated and used.
Marination will make the meat tender and easier to cook with and eat. You can use it for recipes such as fajitas, tacos, and stir-fries. Although, make sure not to cook it beyond medium-rare as that will make the steak very tough.
4. Top Round Steak
The top round steak comes from the muscles of the cow’s legs. It is very lean as that part of the cow is well exercised. So, it will have barely any or almost no amount of fat with a beefy flavor. This works well as a substitute for flank steak.
This meat, being tougher than flank steak, is usually either slow-cooked or cut into thin slices and then incorporated into various recipes. Cooking it too quickly or too much can make the meat extremely chewy.
Top round steak can be used in recipes such as stews and casseroles. It can also be used in fajitas and tacos, just like flank steak. Moreover, it will also work well in grilled recipes if marinated well to tenderize the meat.
5. Tri-Tip Steak
Tri-tip steak is a triangular cut of boneless pieces of meat. It comes from the tip of the sirloin. It is lean and tender and works well as a substitute for flank steak in a lot of different recipes.
Tri-tip steak is another budget-friendly steak option for flank steak. Despite being tender and lean, it carries a lot of flavor of beef. It is a great option to use in recipes like fajitas, tacos, stews, and casseroles.
Tri-tip steak is also a steak that you have to be careful with while cooking. Cooking it for too long will end up making it extremely chewy. So, the best way to cook it is to grill it on a pan for no longer than 5 minutes on each side.
6. Top Sirloin Steak
Top sirloin steaks are found near the tenderloin. There are two types of sirloin steaks, top, and bottom. Out of these tops, sirloin steak works much better as a substitute for flank steak.
The flavor of top sirloin steak is milder as compared to flank steak. So, if you are particularly looking for a substitute with a less beefy flavor as compared to flank steak, top sirloin steak is definitely your best pick.
As it is a lean cut of meat, it can be used for various recipes, such as stews and casseroles, along with classics like fajitas. Moreover, it can also be turned into ground beef. However, make sure you don’t cook it beyond medium-rare.
7. Flap Steak
A flap steak is a thin and lean cut of meat that comes from the belly of the cow, just like flank steak. Since it has similar characteristics like flank steak, the two steaks are interchangeable in recipes.
Flap steak is also grainy, similar to flank steak, and so is great when marinated to tenderize the meat. It is a great choice for classic dishes that ask for flank steak. It also works well under high heat, just like flank steak.
Flap steak is preferred by many as it cooks very quickly. It can be exposed to high temperatures in a short period of time to give it a perfectly crisp exterior with a soft and juicy interior.
8. Chicken Breast
Chicken breast is a great source of protein and a very versatile cut of meat. If you are looking for options other than beef for your recipes, chicken breast can work perfectly well in place of flank steak tacos.
Chicken breast is a great substitute option for flank steak in almost all recipes if you are particularly looking to use something other than red meat. Though flank steak is a lean cut of beef, beef is still not preferred by many.
Chicken breast absorbs flavors really well and will give you the same feeling as flank steak does. It will work well with any range of recipes. Just make sure not to cook it for too long as chicken breast can get dry if overcooked.
9. Portobello Mushroom
Portobello mushrooms are extremely earthy and meaty. They are tasty and absorb flavors quickly and really well. If you are looking for a vegetarian alternative for flank steak, portobello mushrooms are a great substitute.
Portobello mushrooms have a great umami flavor to them, which is quite similar to that of meat, along with having a meaty texture. They work well in marinades and are also a great option for grilling.
You can use portobello mushrooms in place of flank steak, taco fillings, fajitas, enchiladas, soups, and stews. Other than portobello mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms and porcini mushrooms are also good options to use.
Tofu is another great alternative that is protein-rich. It is soy-based and has a meaty texture, which can be similar to flank steak. So, it makes a great vegan option for flank steak in many recipes.
Tofu might definitely not be the first option that comes to mind when you think of a substitute for a steak. However, it has very similar qualities like that of flank steak, even though it is plant-based.
Tofu can be used in recipes where it needs to be marinated and grilled. It also works well as a filling for tacos and fajitas, along with stir-fried dishes, casseroles, and stews. Tofu comes in various types, so try sticking to firm tofu as a substitute for flank steak.
Short Recap For Best Flank Steak Substitutes
That was a great list of substitutes for flank steak. I am sure you must have read through all of them and probably already picked the best one you like. However, I know it still may be confusing for some of you. So, to make it easy for everyone, I have broken it down.
Best Substitutes In Terms Of Flavor And Texture:
- Flap Steak
- Skirt Steak
- Hanger Steak
Best Substitute Non-Beef Based Substitutes:
- Chicken Breast
- Portobello Mushrooms
Substitutes To Consider Last:
- Top Sirloin Steak
- Top Round Steak
- Flat Iron Steak
I think you probably must have got to learn a lot about steaks today after reading this article. I also hope that after going through this article, you were able to find the best substitute for flank steak for your recipe.
Some people may think that flank steak is a difficult steak to cook with, as you really need to be careful with the temperature and time. However, most types of steaks that work as a substitute for flank steak are quite similar.
So, in case the whole idea of cooking a steak seems too cumbersome for you, you can easily use a non-beef-based substitute, which will work equally well. On the other hand, for beef-based substitutes, you can choose what works best for you, and I am sure you will cook up a storm!
How To Substitute Flank Steak
Flank Steak Substitutes
- Skirt Steak
- Hanger Steak
- Flat Iron Steak
- Top Round Steak
- Tri-Tip Steak
- Top Sirloin Steak
- Flap Steak
- Chicken Breast
- Portobello Mushrooms
Go through the substitutes and see which one seems fit for the recipe.
Collect your ingredients and use your preferred substitute.
Use the substitute in the required amount and proceed to make the dish according to the recipe.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is flank steak a good cut of meat?
Flank steak is an excellent and very versatile cut of meat.
Is there another name for flank steak?
Flank steak is also known by the name ‘London Broil.’
What is the best way to cook a flank steak?
Grilling is perhaps the best way to cook flank steak.
Do you have to marinate flank steak?
Marinating flank steak will make the meat tender, which will result in a less chewy steak.