Mexican Flank Steak

Flank Steak
Flank Steak

It’s about time I got around to doing an article on flank steak. It’s one of my absolute favorite cuts of meat. I swear it has better flavor than a filet, though that may be because you pretty much have to marinate a flank steak and I make a mighty tasty marinade.  (Also, it’s my sincere desire that you’ve never had a marinated filet since the meat just doesn’t need it.)

Still, today we’re going to talk about how to properly make a flank steak, including a great marinade for

Mexican Flank Steak

Okay, so the first thing we need to figure out is how to cook the piece of meat.  Flank steaks require a little TLC.  They’re kind of fibrous.  Not necessarily tough, but they are firm and they have lots of striations.  All of that means that they need a little help breaking down before the are introduced to a nice hot flame.

The best way to get that flank steak breaking down is, as noted above, with a good marinade.  Really anything will work as long as it has either an acid or a vinegar.  In an Asian inspired recipe on Big Blend Magazine, I suggested using rice wine vinegar to break down the fibers in the steak, but for this recipe we’re going to use acid.  Citric acid, to be exact, in the form of lime juice.  We’ll mix the lime juice with some broth, a little oil, and some spices to make a flavorful marinade perfect for a Mexican feast.

However, there are two things to note:

  1. Don’t leave the meat marinating too long.  If you do, the protein will break down too much and you will have chewy or mushy meat.
  2. Remember that we’re not making a brine so don’t add too much salt to your marinade.  A little salt will help draw moisture out of the meat so that the marinade can take it’s place, but if you use too much salt, your meat will be salty.

Once the meat has marinated about 30 minutes, get it out on the grill or into a very hot oven.

Mexican Flank Steak

Here’s how we’re going to go South of the border with flank steak.

You will need:

  • 1 1/2 pound flank steak
  • juice of 4 limes
  • 1/2 cup of broth
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons garlic
  • 1 tablespoon black powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons ancho (or regular) chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • Oil for greasing the girll

Put all of the ingredients except the oil for the grill in a plastic bag and let it sit in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.  Remove from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature.

If grilling

Get the grill very hot.  Use the 3 second method (put your hand over the grill and if it’s too hot to keep there after about 3 seconds, you are good.)  Grease the slats of the grill with an oil soaked piece of cloth.

Grill the flank steak for 2-3 minutes and then turn 90 degrees and cook another 2-3 minutes.  Then flip the steak and cook for another 2-3 minutes, turn 90 degress and cook a final 2-3 minutes.  Cook for 2 minutes per side if the meat is thin or 3 if it seems to be thick.  Your butcher will let you know.

Let the meat rest 5 minutes before serving.

If broiling

Preheat the broiler to high while the meat is resting.  Grease a cookie sheet and put the flank steak on it. 

Cook the steak 7-9 minutes per side.  7 will give you a good medium rare while 9 minutes should give you just a little pink.

All that’s left is to cut the steak at a diagonal against the grain, serve on tortillas and enjoy!

Note: The picture above is of my Asian flank steak, but it is included to show how the steak should be cut.


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