This marinated flank steak recipe goes back to the 80s in my family, coming from a Colorado cookbook given to my mother by my Aunt Lila who lived in Aspen. It was instantly a big hit, and we usually served it with steak fries and a salad. Now that we’re older and looking for healthier recipes, we cut out the fries and just put the steak on the salad, finding it’s just as satisfying. It can also take your Taco Tuesday to the next level…step aside carne asada.
Key Ingredients and Substitutions
This will quickly become one of your favorite cuts of beef, and your mouth will literally water when you smell it on the grill.
The complete ingredient list and measurements are listed in the printable recipe below.
- Flank Steak: This lean cut of beef, adjacent to the area where they get the sirloin, can be tough if not marinated and cooked correctly. If you can’t find flank steak, you can substitute it with hanger steak, tri-tip steak, top sirloin steak, or flat-iron steak.
- Red wine: You don’t want to waste a good bottle for this – a $10 red blend from California or a Rioja from Spain will work fine. While you could still make this marinade without the red wine, you will need to replace it with some other acid like red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar.
- Worcestershire Sauce: Besides adding umami flavor to the marinade it is made with vinegar which adds more acid to help tenderize the meat.
- Soy Sauce: This is the primary source of salt for the marinade, so it’s best not to skip this either. Tamari is a good substitute, but you’ll want to add a quarter teaspoon of salt since it has less sodium.
- Olive Oil: You can substitute a neutral flavored oil such as vegetable or canola, but you’ll miss a little bit of the earthy depth that comes with the olive oil.
How to Make Grilled Marinated Flank Steak
Here are the quick step-by-step instructions with visuals; you can find the full instructions with the exact ingredients in the recipe card below.
Pro-tip: If you have a vacuum sealer, you can cut the marinade time down to an hour. Follow the directions of your equipment for best results, and let marinate in the refrigerator.
1. Prep the Flank Steak: The butchers usually fold up the flank steak when they wrap it for you, so first you’ll want to unfold it and place it on a cutting board. Using paper towels pat both sides of the flank steak dry. Sprinkle salt and ground black pepper on both sides of the meat, patting it in and setting it aside as you prepare the marinade.
2. Prepare the Flank Steak Marinade: In a medium bowl add all the liquid ingredients and stir to combine. Add freshly pressed garlic (the garlic can also be minced on a cutting board), lemon juice, and finely chopped green onions to the marinade then stir everything together one last time.
3. Marinate the Flank Steak: Place the flank steak into the zipper bag, then add the marinade making sure there is good contact with all the surfaces. Press all the air out before sealing, and lay on one side in the refrigerator. For best results, marinate the flank steak for 4-6 hours and flip it over at least a couple of times. Remove flank steak from the refrigerator 30-60 minutes prior to grilling to allow it to come to room temperature which promotes more even cooking.
4. Grilling: This cut of steak works well in most grill settings. While I prefer to grill outside using hardwood lump charcoal, it will still taste great off of a gas grill or even on a cast-iron grill on the stove in your kitchen. Preheat the grill to medium-high. Cook flank steak for approximately 10-12 minutes per side or until the internal temperature is 130ºF. Remove it from the grill and place the steak on a flat cutting board or baking sheet and tent it with aluminum foil. Let it rest for at least five minutes to prevent all of the juices from running out.
5. Serving: Flank steak is typically served sliced. Using a sharp knife slice it against the grain. People who prefer their beef on the medium side of doneness should get the pieces on either end. The middle section should be a near-perfect medium rare if you temp it and let it rest.
Recipe Tips and Notes
- Don’t skip the marinade. Flank steak is a lean cut of beef and needs to be marinated or braised to increase tenderness. Marinating flank steak gives it flavor but also breaks down the tough muscle fibers to produce a tender steak.
- Slice flank steak against the grain. To get-melt-in-your-mouth flank steak slice against the grain (perpendicular to the muscle fibers). By slicing against the grain you are shortening the muscle fibers resulting in more tender slices of beef.
- The steak needs to rest. Resting allows the juices to redistribute and reabsorb into the meat. Cut too soon and all those juices will seep out resulting in drier slices of beef.
- Get a good sear. To achieve the best sear make sure your grill is hot before adding the steak. Also, make sure the grill has been well-cleaned. Grease the grill well with oiled paper towels using tongs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. Leftover slices of flank steak make the BEST steak sandwiches ever. You can also use them to top a salad or in a pita pocket with some sprouts. If you have enough to eat as an entree again, warm it up slowly in a 200ºF oven for 20 minutes to preserve some of the pink in the middle. Store leftover grilled marinated flank steak in an air-tight container for up to 5 days.
Marinated flank steak can be frozen both cooked and uncooked. For uncooked flank steak, place the steak and marinade in a freezer-safe bag and remove as much air as possible. An uncooked marinated flank steak will last up to 3 months in the freezer. Cooked flank steak can be stored in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.
For frozen uncooked marinated flank steak, allow it to defrost in the refrigerator in its marinade. Then grill per instructions. Cooked marinated flank steak can be reheated at 200ºF in the oven. Avoid using the microwave since this will overcook and dry out the flank steak.
Flank steak and skirt steak are often confused. They come from two different parts of a cow. Both cuts come from the belly of the cow – skirt steak comes from the plate primal section just below the ribs of a cow while flank steak comes from the flank section which is under the loin section. Both are lean, tough cuts of beef that should be marinated and then cooked quickly on high heat. Flank steak is a thicker, wider, and leaner cut of beef. Skirt steak is slightly tougher than flank steak and typically what steak fajitas are made from.
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Grilled Marinated Flank Steak
- Medium-Sized Bowl
- Large Zipper Storage Bag
- Vacuum Sealer, optional
- Grill Outdoor or Cast Iron for Stove
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce, low sodium
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, extra virgin
- ⅓ cup green onions, finely chopped
Grilled Marinated Flank Steak
- 1 – 1 ½ pounds flank steak
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 ½ teaspoon coarse black pepper, freshly ground
- Pat flank steak dry using paper towels. Add salt and pepper to both sides patting it in. Set aside while you prepare the marinade.
- Add all of the liquid ingredients into a medium bowl and stir together to combine.
- Using a garlic press (or mincing the cloves on a cutting board) add the garlic to the marinade.
- Add the lemon juice and finely chopped green onions. Stir to combine.
- Place the flank steak into the zipper bag, then add the marinade making sure there is good contact with all the surfaces. Press all the air out before sealing, and lay on one side in the refrigerator. For best results, let marinate for 4-6 hours, flipping it over a couple of times.
- Remove flank steak from the refrigerator 30-60 minutes prior to filling to allow it to come to room temperature.
- Pre-heat the grill to medium-high and cook each side for approximately 10-12 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 130°F. Let rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing against the grain.