In the dismantling of an animal, much is to be explained simply in the feel of the flesh; the visualization and understanding of where and how each cut is used in a living specimen. An important note to take is exactly where your steak comes from, how the muscles on the living body are exercised and how often.
This will tell you everything you need to know about a cut without ever placing even a single morsel in your mouth. Education and understanding, logic and facts, these are always absolute, and as we all know, Science never lies.
“The Anatomy of this Bull has been the same for thousands of years! The Flank is going to be in the same exact place every single time; I Promise You…” I hear myself grow irritated as I watch yet another Flank become ground meat because of blatant disregard and the lack of attentiveness.
I have never tasted a Flank Steak, but day in and day out over the last six months, I have pulled the cut out of the Hind Quarter of a Bison; Out of the wall of flesh hanging near the Tenderloin and New York Strip. Sold as is, regularly, as Fajita Meat if we are in a pinch, or Grind if it has been damaged. After a mounting frustration in trying to salvage an overlooked Flank… I realize that I, myself, am found to be guilty of never fully understanding the cut in which I was so intent to salvage. For my first venture into the Flank; it was an All-American Bison London Broil for a networking article written up for a specialty Butcher Shop.
I became interested in the cut, my inklings and curiosities took me further.
The Flank Steak is a muscle, rather an actual streak, nestled in the abdominal muscles in the hind quarter of an animal. Isolated and confined, surrounded by layers of fat and an elastic lining tissue, the cut is strong and often a very well exercised muscle in a bovine. The cut is thin and flat in appearance, characteristically fibrous and becomes stringy if mishandled. There is very little affiliation with a Flank Steak and London, England; yet the unconventional American society has brought the two to live in the same house in the form of a London Broil (reader be advised: a flank is a flank and is not recognized by this name in London). A dish comprised of a marinated Flank Steak often roasted or grilled. Sliced thin across to grain to optimize the mouth feel. As any meat handler (experienced and/or fresh to the industry) knows, never cut with the grain! Cutting with the grain is to cut along the muscle fibers ensuring a stringy, chewy, elastic steak which is undesirable to even the famished. The marinating also attributes to the tenderizing of the cut allowing the oils, salts, vinegar and simple aging to breakdown the muscle tissue.
I begin applying other ideas and preparations, the steak that I had tasted that was modest and fairly simply prepped, blew me away. It was delicious and succulent, a complete contrast as to what I was expecting. I felt like it could be more. A long Water bath, and a couple of hours later, I came to a dish that met and exceeded my standards.
London Broil, Braised Bok Choy, Charred Green Onion, Toasted Quinoa, Honey & Mustard Jus, Herb