How to cook flat iron steak?

Cooking flat iron steak
Flat iron steak

Flat iron steak is a newer cut discovered by the University of Florida and the University of Nebraska. It’s carved from the chuck area of the cow, where the meat is tough and often used for ground beef. However, butchers devised an innovative way to trim the connective tissue resulting in a new and tender cut called the flat iron steak.

Flat iron steak has a rich beefy flavor and tender texture. It contains a good amount of marbling, making flat iron steak incredibly delicious. It’s also the second most tender beef cut after filet mignon. Click on this link to read a comprehensive article about flat iron steak.

Flat iron steak is a versatile beef cut. It’s great for stir-frying, reverse searing, pan searing, grilling, broiling, air frying, or sous vide. In this article, I’m covering six different flat iron steak cooking methods.

Unfortunately, flat iron steak is not available in most supermarkets. If you have difficulty finding it, drop by your local butcher shop. Ask for flat iron steak, and if the butcher has difficulty understanding, try asking for oyster blade steak, butler’s steak, shoulder top blade steak, top blade steak, or top blade filet. The easiest way to buy flat iron steak is online. Snake rivers farm has flat iron steaks at a great price.

Six ways to cook flat iron steak

Here are the six different ways to cook flat iron steak:

How to cook flat iron steak on the grill?

Cooking flat iron steak on a grill
Cooking flat iron steak on a grill
  1. Season flat iron steak with kosher salt and leave it in a fridge overnight. If short on time, season at least 4 hours before cooking. Salt will tenderize the steak and make it more flavorful. Salt draws out the moisture from flat iron steak and forms a salty brine. The same brine will soak back into the meat and make it more tender and juicy. Alternatively, use your favorite steak marinade to add flavor and tenderize the meat.
  2. Bring steak to room temperature for at least 30 minutes before cooking. It’ll allow steak to cook evenly throughout and much more quicker.
  3. Prepare the grill. Clean the grill grates and rub them with cooking oil. It’ll prevent the steak from sticking to the grates. Prepare the grill for two-zone grilling. For a charcoal grill, divide it into two zones – direct and indirect heat. Direct heat is a high-heat zone where a pile of charcoal is. An indirect heat zone is a medium heat zone with no charcoals. For the gas grill, turn one side to medium-high heat and the other to medium.
  4. Pat the steak dry to remove excess moisture buildup on the steak’s exterior. It’ll allow the meat to sear much better.
  5. Spray the steak with light olive oil and place it on a grill over high heat. Sear for 2 minutes on each side until brown crust forms. Move the steak to the indirect heat side of the grill and continue cooking to the preferred doneness. Check the steak’s internal temperature with a meat thermometer. It’s best not to cook flat iron steak past medium doneness. It’s best when the steak is cooked to medium rare (135° Fahrenheit/57°C). Overcooked flat iron steak is dry and chewy. Remove the steak from the heat source when the internal temperature is 5° Fahrenheit below the desired doneness. The steak will continue to cook when off the heat source. It’s called carryover cooking.
  6. Rest grilled steaks for 5-10 minutes before slicing. When the steak hits the hot surface, the juices on that surface are forced away towards the center. Since a lot of steak juice is being pushed toward the middle, all that extra juice pours out when you slice it open. Rest time will allow steak juice to redistribute throughout the steak’s interior, making it juicy and tender.
  7. Slice flat iron steak against the grain. Slicing against the grain reduces the length of the muscle fibers, making it easier to chew.

How to cook flat iron steak in the oven?

Cooking flat iron steak in the oven
Cooking flat iron steak in the oven
  1. Season flat iron steak with kosher salt and leave it in a fridge overnight. If short on time, season at least 4 hours before cooking. Salt will tenderize the steak and make it more flavorful. Salt draws out the moisture from flat iron steak and forms a salty brine. The same brine will soak back into the meat and make it more tender and juicy. Alternatively, use your favorite steak marinade to add flavor and tenderize the meat.
  2. Bring steak to room temperature for at least 30 minutes before cooking. It’ll allow steak to cook evenly throughout and much more quicker.
  3. Move the top rack of the oven 5 inches away from the broiler. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. It’ll make cleaning up afterward much easier.
  4. Turn on the broiler. Ensure it’s screaming hot to allow the steak to sear.
  5. Pat the steak dry to remove excess moisture buildup on the steak’s exterior. It’ll allow the meat to sear much better.
  6. Place flat iron steak on a baking sheet, spray with light olive oil and transfer it into the oven. Broil the steak for 4 minutes. Take it out of the oven and flip it using tongs. Transfer the steak back into the oven and continue cooking for 4 more minutes. Take the steak out of the oven to check the internal temperature. Stick the meat thermometer into the thickest part of the steak. Wait until the temperature stabilizes. If it’s not ready, pop it back into the oven and finish cooking. It’s best not to cook flat iron steak past medium. If overcooked, it can turn dry and chewy. It’s best when cooked to medium rare (135° Fahrenheit/57°C). Remove from the oven when the internal temperature is 5° Fahrenheit below the desired doneness. The steak continues to cook for another few minutes. It’s called carryover cooking.
  7. Rest the flat iron steak for 5-10 minutes before slicing. When the steak hits the hot surface, the juices on that surface are forced away towards the center. Since a lot of steak juice is being pushed toward the middle, all that extra juice pours out when you slice it open. Rest time will allow steak juice to redistribute throughout the steak’s interior, making it juicy and tender.
  8. Slice flat iron steak against the grain. Slicing against the grain reduces the length of the muscle fibers, making it easier to chew.

How to pan-fry flat iron steak on the stove?

Cooking flat iron steak on a stovetop
Cooking flat iron steak on a stovetop
  1. Season flat iron steak with kosher salt and leave it in a fridge overnight. If short on time, season at least 4 hours before cooking. Salt will tenderize the steak and make it more flavorful. Salt draws out the moisture from flat iron steak and forms a salty brine. The same brine will soak back into the meat and make it more tender and juicy. Alternatively, use your favorite steak marinade to add flavor and tenderize the meat.
  2. Bring steak to room temperature for at least 30 minutes before cooking. It’ll allow steak to cook evenly throughout and much more quicker.
  3. Preheat a cast iron skillet on a stovetop over medium-high heat until smoking hot. It’ll allow steak to develop a perfect crust.
  4. Pat the steak dry to remove excess moisture buildup on the steak’s exterior. It’ll allow the meat to sear much better.
  5. Place steak into a hot skillet and sear for 2 minutes on each side. A caramelized crust should form. Turn the heat to medium and continue cooking. Check the steak’s internal temperature with a meat thermometer. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat and wait until the temperature stabilizes. Remove from the skillet when the internal temperature is 5° Fahrenheit below the desired doneness. The steak will continue to cook and reach the desired temperature. This phenomenon is known as carryover cooking. To enjoy a moist and tender flat iron steak, it’s recommended not to cook it past medium doneness.
  6. Rest the flat iron steak for 5-10 minutes before slicing. When the steak hits the hot surface, the juices on that surface are forced away towards the center. Since a lot of steak juice is being pushed toward the middle, all that extra juice pours out when you slice it open. Rest time will allow steak juice to redistribute throughout the steak’s interior, making it juicy and tender.
  7. Slice flat iron steak against the grain. Slicing against the grain reduces the length of the muscle fibers, making it easier to chew.

How to cook flat iron steak in an air fryer?

Cooking flat iron steak in an air fryer
Cooking flat iron steak in an air fryer
  1. Season flat iron steak with kosher salt and leave it in a fridge overnight. If short on time, season at least 4 hours before cooking. Salt will tenderize the steak and make it more flavorful. Salt draws out the moisture from flat iron steak and forms a salty brine. The same brine will soak back into the meat and make it more tender and juicy. Alternatively, use your favorite steak marinade to add flavor and tenderize the meat.
  2. Bring steak to room temperature for at least 30 minutes before cooking. It’ll allow steak to cook evenly throughout and much more quicker.
  3. Pat the steak dry to remove excess moisture buildup on the steak’s exterior. It’ll allow the meat to sear much better.
  4. Preheat the air fryer to 400° Fahrenheit. Coat the air fryer basket with light olive oil and place the flat iron steak. Cook the steak for 4 minutes, take it out, and flip it. Continue cooking for another 4 minutes. Take it out and check the steak’s internal temperature. Stick the meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat. Wait until the temperature stabilizes. Remove from the air fryer when the internal temperature is 5° Fahrenheit below the desired doneness. It’s best if flat iron steak is not cooked past medium. If overcooked, it’ll be dry and chewy.
  5. Rest the flat iron steak for 5-10 minutes before slicing. When the steak hits the hot surface, the juices on that surface are forced away towards the center. Since a lot of steak juice is being pushed toward the middle, all that extra juice pours out when you slice it open. Rest time will allow steak juice to redistribute throughout the steak’s interior, making it juicy and tender.
  6. Slice flat iron steak against the grain. Slicing against the grain reduces the length of the muscle fibers, making it easier to chew.

How to reverse sear flat iron steak?

Reverse searing flat iron steak
Reverse searing flat iron steak
  1. Season flat iron steak with kosher salt and leave it in a fridge overnight. If short on time, season at least 4 hours before cooking. Salt will tenderize the steak and make it more flavorful. Salt draws out the moisture from flat iron steak and forms a salty brine. The same brine will soak back into the meat and make it more tender and juicy. Alternatively, use your favorite steak marinade to add flavor and tenderize the meat.
  2. Bring steak to room temperature for at least 30 minutes before cooking. It’ll allow steak to cook evenly throughout and much more quicker.
  3. Pat the steak dry to remove excess moisture buildup on the steak’s exterior. It’ll allow the meat to sear much better.
  4. Preheat the oven to 275° Fahrenheit. Place steaks on a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. It’ll make cleaning up afterward much easier.
  5. Place flat iron steaks in the oven and cook until the meat thermometer registers 105°F (41°C). It should take between 18-20 minutes. However, if you wish to cook it more, you risk overcooking the flat iron steak. It’s best when not cooked beyond medium doneness. While the steak is cooking, preheat a cast iron skillet on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Add two tablespoons of light olive oil to the skillet. Transfer flat iron steaks into the pan from the oven. Add a knob of butter and sear for 1 1/2 minutes on each side. Remove steaks from the heat source when the internal temperature is 5° Fahrenheit below the desired doneness. The steak will continue to cook and reach the desired level of doneness. This phenomenon is known as carryover cooking.
  6. Rest the flat iron steak for 5-10 minutes before slicing. When the steak hits the hot surface, the juices on that surface are forced away towards the center. Since a lot of steak juice is being pushed toward the middle, all that extra juice pours out when you slice it open. Rest time will allow steak juice to redistribute throughout the steak’s interior, making it juicy and tender.
  7. Slice flat iron steak against the grain. Slicing against the grain reduces the length of the muscle fibers, making it easier to chew.

How to sous vide flat iron steak?

Sous vide flat iron steak
Sous vide flat iron steak
  1. Season flat iron steak with kosher salt and leave it in a fridge overnight. If short on time, season at least 4 hours before cooking. Salt will tenderize the steak and make it more flavorful. Salt draws out the moisture from flat iron steak and forms a salty brine. The same brine will soak back into the meat and make it more tender and juicy. Alternatively, use your favorite steak marinade to add flavor and tenderize the meat.
  2. Preheat sous vide. If you wish your flat iron steak to be medium rare at 135°F – preheat sous vide to 129° Fahrenheit. Water temperature should be 5-10 degrees Fahrenheit lower than the preferred doneness.
  3. Season flat iron steak with freshly ground black pepper and aromatics such as thyme or rosemary. Place the steak in a vacuum bag and seal it using a vacuum sealer. If you do not have a vacuum sealer, you can place the steak in a zip-lock bag. Place the steak in a zip-lock back and slowly lower it into a pot of water. Ensure the bag is above the water line. Water pressure will make the air leave the bag through the top. Carefully seal the bag.
  4. Drop sealed flat iron steak into the water bath. A properly sealed bag should sink—Cook the steak for 2 hours.
  5. Remove the steak from the water bath. Open it and pat the steak dry. Make sure to remove as much moisture as possible.
  6. Preheat the cast iron skillet on a stovetop over medium-high heat until smoking hot. Add vegetable oil or oil with a high smoke point into the skillet. Gently lay the steak using tongs. For extra flavor, add a knob of butter. Sear flat iron steak for 45 seconds on each side.
  7. Rest the flat iron steak for 5-10 minutes before slicing. When the steak hits the hot surface, the juices on that surface are forced away towards the center. Since a lot of steak juice is being pushed toward the middle, all that extra juice pours out when you slice it open. Rest time will allow steak juice to redistribute throughout the steak’s interior, making it juicy and tender.
  8. Slice flat iron steak against the grain. Slicing against the grain reduces the length of the muscle fibers, making it easier to chew.

How to prepare flat iron steak before cooking?

Before cooking flat iron steak, season it with kosher salt. Leave it in a fridge overnight. Salt will tenderize the meat and make it more flavorsome. There are many different ways of tenderizing the steak and adding additional flavors. However, salt does not overpower the natural flavors of the meat. Minutes before cooking the steak, season it with freshly ground black pepper to taste. Feel free to use steak seasoning; however, make sure to use it in moderation.

Flat steaks are great for marinating. Marinade steak with your favorite flat iron steak marinade. Leave it in a fridge overnight to absorb all the flavors. The great marinade should contain fats, salt, and acid like lemon juice, yogurt, buttermilk, etc.

Take the flat iron steak out of the fridge 30 minutes before cooking. It’ll reduce cooking time substantially and ensure the steak is cooking evenly throughout.

Thaw frozen flat iron steak before cooking. Place it on a plate or in a container and put it in a fridge overnight. Thawed steak cooks faster and is easier to cook.

How to take flat iron steak internal temperature?

Flat iron steak temperature guide
Flat iron steak temperature guide

To take the flat iron steak’s internal temperature, insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the steak. Wait for 15 seconds until the temperature stabilizes. Remove from the heat source when the internal temperature is 5° Fahrenheit below the desired degree. Here’s a temperature chart:

  • Rare steak: 125° Fahrenheit/52°C.
  • Medium rare steak: 135° Fahrenheit/57°C.
  • Medium steak: 145° Fahrenheit/62°C.
  • Medium-well steak: 150° Fahrenheit/65°C.
  • Well done, steak: 160° Fahrenheit/71°C.

Suppose you do not have a meat thermometer. Use a finger test method to check the steak’s doneness. With the index finger, press on the thickest part of the steak. Rare has no give and feels soft. Medium-rare give slightly. Medium give quite a lot. Medium-well feels firm with a slight give. Well done has no give and feels hard.

If you want to learn more about measuring doneness and time cooking chart, read this article.

How long does it take to cook a flat iron steak?

It can take 5 minutes to 3 hours to cook flat iron steak. It depends on the steak cooking method, size, and other factors.

Here are the cooking times for grilling, pan frying, and broiling:

  • Rare steak: 3-5 minutes
  • Medium-rare steak: 5-7 minutes;
  • Medium steak: 7-9 minutes;
  • Medium-well steak: 9-11 minutes;
  • Well done, steak: 11+ minutes.

Here are the cooking times for sous vide:

Rare steak120°F/49°C to 128°F/53°C45 minutes to 2 hours
Medium-rare129°F/54°C to 134°F/57°C 45 minutes to 4 hours
Medium135°F/57°C to 144°F/62°C45 minutes to 3 1/2 hours
Medium-well145°F/63°C to 155°F/68°C45 minutes to 3 1/2 hours
Well-done56°F/69°C1 to 3 hours
Cooking temperatures and times

Here are the cooking times for reverse searing:

  • Rare steak: 18 to 23 minutes.
  • Medium-rare steak: 23 to 28 minutes.
  • Medium steak: 28 to 33 minutes.
  • Medium-well steak: 33 to 38 minutes.
  • Well done, steak: 38 to 43 minutes.

FAQ

How is flat iron steak best cooked?

It’s best to cook flat iron steak on a grill or cast-iron skillet. It benefits from being cooked hot and fast. These two cooking methods will make the steak extraordinarily flavorful and tender.

Does flat iron steak need to be marinated?

Flat steaks are great for marinating. However, seasoning with kosher salt will not overpower the steak’s natural flavors. It does have a good amount of marbling which makes it incredibly delicious.

What is flat iron steak best for?

Flat iron steak is great for steak fajitas, tacos, and salads. However, it’s a versatile piece of steak. You can use it on its own or with your favorite sides.

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