What Can Substitute Flank Steak? [DIFFERENCES EXPLAINED] 

Flank steak is among the most available and flavorful meat cuts today, thus making it the most people’s favorite worldwide. What will you do if you find that your favorite butcher does not have flank steak? You should probably get its substitute.

There are many different flank steak substitutes you can choose from, but none beats skirt steak as it fits in the various ways flank steak is used. Further, there will be nothing wrong if you want to try non-beef substitutes. For instance, Portobello mushrooms can give you the exact texture and flavor similar to Flank Steak.

Besides skirt steak, many other flank substitutes are available in grocery stores. You might want to learn and understand them first before you try any. This article provides you with educational information about flank steak substitutes.                                                                                                      

What is Flank Steak?

Flank steak is a meat cut from a cow’s abdominal muscle. It is known for its affordability, flavor, and toughness. Flank steak measures around one inch thick and one foot long. The meat cut is usually cooked whole as opposed to smaller pieces. Before cooking flank steak, it is essential to marinate it for flavor because it is lean.                                                                             

What is a Substitute for Flank Steak?

As mentioned earlier, many different steaks can substitute for flank steak. In other words, they can be cooked the same way and even used for the same purposes. The following are the major flank steak substitutes:

Skirt Steak

Of all the other meat cuts, skirt steak is similar to flank steak. It is thin and, therefore, can be easily sliced against the grain to give a perfect stir fry or fajitas. Also, when it comes to cooking, you do it the same way you could cook the flank steak; by smoking it on a grill or in a pan over heat. However, as much as they seem to be similar, they have one main difference. They have more fat than flank steak, thus tenderer and moist. What does moist mean? It has a lot of juices that enhance flavor. Furthermore, if not well looked at, it can easily overcook and does not require a lot of marinating before cooking.

Top Round Steak

Top round steak is cut from the top rear of a leg’s cow. It is tough, just like the flank steak, hence not much different from it. Therefore, if you love applying your perfect marinating skills, you do not have to worry because they can be entirely applied to this steak. 

Further, this steak is cheap and readily available. The only thing to do to give it an exact appearance like flank steak is to use the tenderizing hammer to achieve flatness. 

Sometimes top round steak is also known as London loin; this name primarily refers to its cooking style.

Hanger Steak

Hanger steak is a very lean cut that looks just like flank steak. However, their main big difference is the fat content. Hanger steak is fattier than flank steak. Thus it is tender and has more juice. These features give it a more intense beef flavor that is easy to achieve, unlike the case with flank steak. Regardless, it still makes a perfect flank steak substitute. 

The meat is cut from the animal’s underside close to the loin.

It is flat and broad in shape, similar to flank steak, therefore perfect for fajitas because you can easily cut the steak into strips. When cooking on a grill, you would want to be careful, or else your hanger steak will overcook. Although it has high-fat content, it dries out quickly because it is lean. Consequently can get tough when overcooked.

Tri-Tip Steak

It is also known as triangle steak, boneless meat cut from below the sirloin. The Tri-tip steak is the most straightforward flank steak substitute to prepare, and all its fat is situated on one strip’s side. 

It would help to leave the strip on while the meat cooks, then cut it off before you serve.

Why is it recommendable to leave the fatty strip on while cooking? Leaving the fat strip is meant to ensure that it stays juicy and then cut off later to achieve the leanness of a flank steak. Hence gives you the best beef flavor taste, like what you will get on flank steak, and it is very versatile.

Flap Steak

Flap steak is a thin and lean cut of a cow. It is the substitute for flank steak in many different recipes. Apart from its tenderness and versatility, it is most people’s favorite because it is cheap. 

The steak is cut from the front of the animal’s belly. Notably, the flap steak is next to the flank steak, which implies that the cuts have many standard characteristics. Its coarse grain is responsible for holding the marinade perfectly. Therefore, expect the best flavors with this steak.           

As much as it is among the best flank steak substitutes, it is temperamental. What does this mean? It can be very chewy when undercooked, and it becomes scorched when overcooked.

Flat Iron Steak

Flat iron steak is cut from a cow’s shoulder and rich in beef flavor. It is categorized under blade steaks, with a lot of fine marbling that allows it to be prepared medium rare.

The cut is connected to the cow’s top blade by fatty connective tissues. If you remove these connective tissues, you will get two cuts: flat iron and top blade. Even though it is used to substitute for flank steak, the two have a lot of differences. Flat iron steak still makes the perfect option for stir fry and fajitas. It is not common today, making it more expensive due to its scarcity, unlike flank steak.

Top Sirloin

There are two types of sirloin steaks. Top sirloin is suitable for substituting for a Flank Steak purpose. It is just below the tenderloin and tends to be tenderer than the bottom sirloin. Thus a perfect choice for smoking and sautéing. The best thing about top sirloin is that it can create a thick sear and remain moist. 

The main difference from flank steak is that top sirloin is tenderer, but it has all the flavors you expect to get in flank steak. Further, it is cooked medium rare, left to rest for some time, and then sliced into fine strips across the grain.

What is the Best Substitute for Flank Steak?

Among the many different substitutes for flank steak, you would want to know which one is the best and can give you precisely what you were expecting from flank steak.

The best substitute for flank steak is the Skirt Steak.

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Skirt Steak

Although skirt steak is thin and long, unlike the large and thick flank steak, it is the best meat cut you can use to substitute flank steak. The following are the things that make it the best substitute option.

  • It is lean, and connective tissues, like the flank steak, make it tough. However, the latter is leaner.
  • You can cook skirt steak at high heat
  • Just like the flanks steak, it is cut against the grain
  • Skirt steak is used for the same dishes as flank steak.

Considering these similarities, you can quickly tell that skirt steak can make a perfect substitute for flank steak.

Bottom Line

Many people love flank steak because it offers a great flavor when smoked. However, it is not surprising that you may not find it in your favorite butcher shop and thus be forced to look for an alternative. Skirt steak is the best substitute you should choose. You can refer to https://carnivorestyle.com/flank-steak-substitute/ to for more information.

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