As far as I know, the anatomy of steer hasn't changed much in the last few years (last time I checked, they still have four legs and a head). Yet new cuts of beef keep cropping up, especially from the super-flavorful, but often tough, chuck. The chuck, or shoulder, of a large steer or heifer can be huge (over 100 pounds). Because it contains several large muscle groups which can be divided into a myriad of salable steaks, roasts, stewing cubes, and ground beef, it shouldn't be surprising when unheard-of chuck cuts pop up.
The flat iron, aka top blade steak, patio steak, or butlers' steak in the UK, and oyster blade steak in Australia, comes from the center of the shoulder nestled just under the shoulder blade bone. The whole roast weighs about 2 1/2 pounds and is usually cut into 4 steaks that look a lot like mini flank steaks, which they are similar to in flavor and tenderness. The big difference is flat iron steak costs about 30% less than flank.
Also like flank, flat iron steaks are cut with the grain revealing long, parallel, evenly spaced muscle fibers. Although the cut should really be too tough to grill, by slicing the meat against the grain you mechanically shorten the tough muscle fibers and tenderize every slice. Which means it's a perfect candidate for grilling.
The following recipe is down and dirty and our new go-to summertime quick and easy dinner. Thanks, Chuck!
(Photo: Andrew Schloss)
- 2 tablespoons NY Steak Chef Salt
- 1 to 1 1/2 pounds flat iron steak
- 1 tablepoon extra-virgin olive oil
Pat the Chef Salt into both sides of the steak and drizzle with olive oil. Set aside at room temperature for 20 minutes while you fire up the grill.
Build a charcoal fire for direct high heat, using 1 large charcoal chimney of coals, or light a gas grill to high. Clean the grill rack with a wire brush and put the steak directly over the coals. Grill until blistered with char, about 4 minutes. Flip and grill the other side until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the length of the steak reads 130ºF, about 4 more minutes. Do not cover the grill.
Remove to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. Slice against the grain. I served this one with grilled corn, blanched green beans tossed with olive oil, garlic and lemon zest, and some sliced tomatoes with basil from the garden.
(Photo: Andrew Schloss)