When people think of all the cuts of steak, they usually think of t-bones or prime rib, filet mignon or ribeyes, or maybe even a simple sirloin. But there's another cut you've eaten more than you might realize: Flank steak. Flank steak comes from the abdominal muscles of the cow, so it's naturally lean -- but don't let that fool you because its flavor is phenomenal. Flank steak is one of the most popular cuts for fajitas and stir fries, and grilled flank steak is a rare treat. It's also the basis of many South American cuisines, frequently appearing on Argentine, Brazilian, and Colombian menus.
But what other steak cuts can you use instead of flank steak if it's unavailable? Flank steak is delicious, but your grocery store or butcher shop might not always have it. So what else works in dishes like stir fry, fajitas, and London broil? It turns out there isn't one answer to that question. Whether you're going with skirt steak, flat iron steak, tri-tip, or hanger steak, you have a lot of options.
Read more: The 13 Best Steaks For Grilling
Skirt Steak, Flat Iron Steak, And Tri Tip Are All Great Options
Skirt steak is the easiest substitute because it and flank steak are often used interchangeably. Skirt steak, which comes from cow's diaphragm muscle, is the only cut more common in fajitas than flank steak and shares many of the former's qualities. You can treat it exactly the same as flank steak; you just have to make sure it's cut against the grain to keep it from getting chewy. This is more important with both skirt and flank steak than with other cuts of beef.
Flat iron steak, meanwhile, comes from a different part of the cow: the shoulder. Flat iron steak requires more processing than most other cuts -- it comes from above the shoulder blade, and a seam of connective tissue must be removed to get to it. It actually wasn't considered a viable cut until the early 2000s for precisely this reason, but when it finally was utilized, it was found to contain a lot of the flavor and texture qualities flank steak does.
Tri-tip, by contrast, comes from the bottom sirloin, just above where you'd find flank steak. Tri-tip is called tri-tip because, well, it looks like a triangle. Much like flank and skirt steak, you don't want to cook tri-tip past medium; all of them will become dry and chewy.
Hanger Steak Is The Best Cut Of Beef You Might Not Know About
The single best beef cut to replace flank steak, though, might be hanger steak. Hanger steak and flank steak share similar textures (they're close to each other near or along the cow's abdominal muscles), but if anything, hanger steak is more flavorful than its already-flavorful cousin.
If you haven't had hanger steak, there's a possible reason, and it's not that it isn't delicious. Hanger steak is also sometimes referred to as butcher's steak because it was so good that many butchers kept it for themselves rather than selling it to the general populace. Hanger steak is generally a little thicker than flank steak, so it takes longer to cook -- but it repays that effort in flavor and tenderness, especially if you marinate it.
Whichever cut you use in place of flank steak, make sure to treat it right -- and above all else, cut it right. Most dishes don't require one specific cut of meat, but if you use replacements, respect the products at hand, and your dinner will turn out delicious.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.