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Tuesday’s Project: Summer Isn’t Officially Over, So Grill Flank Steak

It might already feel like it should be time for the World Series and in some parts of the country the foliage has even begun. But the calendar has not hit September 21 yet. So even if it feels like summer left long ago, it’s still summer. Hold off on the root vegetables and the stews for another few weeks. It’s time for some grilling, with a twist.

I always think of summer grilling to go with the thicker cuts of beef or burgers or chicken breasts. So for an almost autumnal cut of meat, may we recommend the often forgotten flank steak?

First of all, why is flank steak tougher than the more traditional cuts of beef? That would be because it is not actually a cut of beef to begin with. The flank steak is the abdomen muscle of the cow. Being a muscle, the meat is more tense and tougher. If cooked over a long period of time, flank steak becomes downright chewy and unpleasant. It demands for a marinade to soften up the meat, then a high heat, short amount of time on the grill to provide the softest, juiciest result.

One of the joys of flank steak is how it is a thin cut of meat so a marinade not only can soften the meat by loosening the tissues, the marinade can actually play a tremendous part of the flavoring of the steak in each bite. There is no need for sauce Bordelaise or even a chimichurri sauce to cover the meat. Let the marinade do its job. You just do the grilling. Here’s my recipe for flank steak, which strangely enough was called the very politically incorrect “Oriental Flank Steak” when I first found it. We’ll just call it “Grilled Flank Steak.”

It’s basic, a walk in the park special week night dinner, as long as you plan the night before to do the marinading. Best of all for a family of four, the recipe can serve for two dinners with the terrific leftovers. Or on salads or in sandwiches…let your imagination run wild. For dinner, the flank steak is perfect with a Syrah or even a lighter version of a Bordeaux blend or Cabernet Sauvignon. Corn is almost out of season along with grilling, so boil some corn on the cob and perhaps make some potato salad (I’ll provide that recipe soon…) to accompany the flank steak. Or for a real twist, a parsley blast from tabouleh could be intriguing.

1 flank steak, around 3-4 lbs.

Marinade: 1/2 cup soy sauce

3 Tb. vegetable oil

3 tb. honey

3/4 tsp ground ginger

1 crushed garlic clove
Loosen the meat a bit before marinading it by giving it massage. Hey, even beef sometimes has a tough day at work. Combine the marinade ingredients and pour it over the now relaxed beef in a large dish, and let it marinade overnight. Give the beef a few turns throughout the roughly 24 hour process to give both sides a good soak.

Then head to the grill, turn on some September baseball or a Wynton Marsalis cd, and there you go. High heat on the grill for roughly two sets of five minutes depending on the grill and size of meat. You certainly want the center of the flank steak to be a good ruby rare to medium rare. Those are the best slices when served. The real money bites come from the charred, overly caramelized edges, also known as burnt ends in Kansas City and Texas barbeque language. Those are so coveted that the best item to order at many barbeque institutions such as Fiorella Jack Stack and Arthur Bryant’s in Kansas City are the burnt ends sandwiches.

Don’t give up on summer just yet even though school is in full swing and all of a sudden 7 pm is sunset time. It’s the perfect time for flank steak on the grill.

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