jump to navigation

What the heck is a Flat Iron Steak? June 29, 2010

Posted by Toy Lady in Business, Cooking, Food, Freezer Meals.

A while back, I picked up a package of flat iron steaks on sale.

We had never had flat iron steaks – in fact, we weren’t even quite sure of what that cut of beef was.

Doesn’t it seem like there are new cuts of beef popping up every few months?  I mean, I was an Agriculture major in high school – I know my beef cows.  I have a working knowledge of where the basics are – the loin, tenderloin, brisket, chuck, sirloin. . . not so much of the flat iron or tri-tip or hanger steaks. I guess they didn’t have those cuts back then.

I guess cattle have changed since I was a kid.

Yeah, probably not.

So anyway.  Flat iron steak has been a popular cut of beef of late, and if you’re playing along at home, just know that it appears to be, basically, a specially-trimmed chuck steak – decent flavor, and enough fat to be reasonably tender.

But a  rib-eye, it ain’t.

While we were trying to dig through the freezer, we came up with these steaks, and we decided to dig out one of our old favorites – a recipe from when we had our meal prep business.


First I made a spice rub – very simple, but full of great flavors:

  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. dried mustard
  • 1½ Tbsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. crushed fennel seed

Don’t go crazy trying to crush the fennel with a mortar and pestle.  Just give it a bit of a mash, and call it a day.

You’ll thank me later.


Combine your spice rub, and coat one side of the steaks with it.

I had some left over, but that’s OK – just put it in an airtight container and save it for another time.  It’s all good!

Remember, at this point you can freeze the rubbed steaks, too – the flavors will continue to develop as you defrost the frozen meat.

Now you’re just going to want to wrap your steaks and think about a dipping sauce.


I made a lovely vinaigrette to drizzle over the steaks:

  • 1/3 c. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped parsley
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. each kosher salt and pepper

You’ll notice as you start to whisk this together that the oil and vinegar actually mix – that’s the mustard at work (you can freeze this, too, in a separate container or baggie).

I don’t understand how mustard emulsifies – I’m just happy to believe it’s magic.


So, I put all that together in the morning before work, and it just sat in the fridge and got happy.  Then, once I got home from work, it was time to start grilling – Peeps started with the spice-side down, being careful not to burn the spices.

Doesn’t he do a fabulous job with the grill marks?


We serve the steaks, spice-side up, with pan-roasted potatoes and a spoonful of the special sauce – I mean, vinaigrette.

Oh, don’t worry, we had some salad, too.

And just so you know – if you have vinaigrette leftover, it makes a delightful salad dressing, too.

Hey, I’m all about multi-tasking – you know that!


This steak is delightful sliced into thin slices, with plenty of the sauce.


And, just in case you have steak left over, it’s also not bad sliced, between two slices of bread, and griddled on the waffle iron. . .

You know, now that we’ve dragged it out anyway – but don’t forget the vinaigrette – definitely dip your sandwich!

You’ll thank me later.


1. Ryan - June 29, 2010

Tri-tip is a pretty old cut out here in California dating from the 50’s. Flat iron steaks were developed semi-recently by the University of Nebraska. Hangar steak is kind of a butcher’s take home cut as there’s only one and it’s only 1-1.5 pounds per animal.

See, the tri-tip has only in, say, the past couple of decades made its way out to the east coast – it seems that they and flat iron steaks got popular around the same time. They just weren’t something that was available – or even heard of – in the 80s.

And really – how does one develop a steak, anyway? I mean, do they grow cattle with new parts? 😉

Ryan - June 30, 2010

Sounds creepier than it is really, you just have all the myology nerds at agricultural schools analyzing which parts of the cow might make more money if cut differently.
Check out page 6 of this pdf

Click to access get_file

Thanks for the information, Ryan! Mostly, I just tend to be flippant about things like that – mainly because I seem to have a warped way of amusing myself sometimes. 🙄 Remember, I was an ag major in high school . . . and I was always a good student. 😉

Sorry comments are closed for this entry

%d bloggers like this: