The Secret To Making Great Flank Steak – Flank Steak Marinade

Flank steak marinade

First, an Introduction

While this article concerns flank steaks, I would consider it improper to go on without discussing that there are multiple types of steak. Notably, there are more kinds of steak than just the kind that you can get from a cow, known as "beefsteak."

  • Fish steaks. A common way of cutting tuna, swordfish, salmon and halibut.
  • Lamb steaks. Usually used as a protein in some salad dishes.
  • Pork steaks. These commonly come from the shoulder of a pig, though it’s possible to find pork steaks derived from the loin or leg.
  • Chicken steaks. These mainly show up in regional dishes like chicken-fried chicken. It’s worth mentioning that chicken steaks are formed, rather than carved; chickens are not large enough to yield a whole cut of meat large enough to be considered a steak.

With all of that explanation out of the way, this article is mainly concerned with explaining flank steak, which is a type of beefsteak. Beefsteak comes in several different cuts that all have their strengths and weaknesses. Flank steak comes from the abdominal muscles of a cow, resulting in a cut that has a bit more toughness than cuts taken from the rib or the loin and only has one side of tough tissue. It is not unheard of to substitute flank steak for skirt steak, especially when making fajitas. In short, while you can broil flank steak, cook it in a pan over heat, broil it, or even grill it (for the aforementioned fajitas), this tough cut of meat demands to be marinated, hence the premise behind this article.

The Secret To Making Great Flank Steak

A Step-By-Step Guide to Marinating and Cooking Flank Steak

When it comes to marinades for a flank steak, it turns out that you can play around and really work your creative side. At its core, a good marinade consists of five elements:

  • Salt to season, tenderize and improve the juiciness of your meat.
  • Sugar for the same purposes as salt, albeit with a complementary opposing flavor profile.
  • Acid to give the final product a bit of a bite.
  • Oil to ensure that the marinade gets into every nook and cranny of meat.
  • Seasoning to be the final influence on what the steak will taste like.

The fun part comes in mixing things up in pursuit of a marinade that can take an already delicious cut of meat and elevate it to something that tastes truly divine. This article will showcase several approaches to making a marinade, as well as briefly discuss how to go about cooking marinated flank steak.

Steak marinade

Marinade #1: Rosemary Balsamic Marinade

  • Olive oil, 1/2 cup.
  • Kosher salt, 1.5 tsp.
  • Black pepper, 1.5 tsp.
  • Brown sugar, 1/4 cup.
  • Worcestershire sauce, 2 tbsp.
  • Balsamic vinegar, quarter cup.
  • Garlic, cloves, minced, 5.
  • Red pepper flakes, crushed, 1 tsp.
  • Rosemary springs, fresh, 2-3.

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Rosemary Balsamic Marinade (72 downloads)

Marinade #2: Garlic Mustard Marinade

  • Vegetable oil, 1/2 cup.
  • Soy sauce, 1/3 cup.
  • Vinegar, red wine, 1/4 cup.
  • Fresh lemon juice, 2 tbsp.
  • Worcestershire sauce, 1.5 tbsp.
  • Mustard, Dijon, 1 tbsp.
  • Garlic, cloves, minced, 2.
  • Black pepper, ground, 1/2 tsp.

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Garlic Mustard Marinade (74 downloads)

Marinade #3: Honey Soy Sauce Marinade

  • Olive oil, extra virgin, 1/3 cup.
  • Garlic, cloves, minced, 2.
  • Vinegar, red wine, 2 tbsp.
  • Soy sauce, 1/3 cup.
  • Honey, 1/4 cup.
  • Black pepper, ground, 1/2 tsp.

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Honey Soy Sauce Marinade (79 downloads)

Marinade #4: Citrus and Brown Sugar Marinade

  • Olive oil, extra virgin, 1/3 cup.
  • Low sodium soy sauce, 1/4 cup.
  • Lemon or lime juice, 2 tbsp.
  • Brown sugar, packed, 2 tbsp.

Regardless of whichever marinade you choose for your steak, the rest of this recipe is relatively the same.

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Citrus and Brown Sugar Marinade (81 downloads)


  1. Add all of your marinade components into a gallon-size ziplock bag. Close the bag briefly in order to jostle it around and fully dissolve any granular matter like salt and/or sugar.
  2. Insert a 1.5-2 pound flank steak into the bag, getting it nice and covered in the marinade. Make sure to push out as much air as you possibly can before sealing the bag. Use your hands and massage the marinade deeper into the bagged meat.
  3. Refrigerate the marinating steak for at least two hours and no more than 24.
  4. When you're ready to cook the steak, preheat your grill to 450°F.
  5. Remove the steak from the bag and remove any excess marinade, but not to the point it becomes uncovered. Place the steak on the readied grill and discard the marinade. Cook until it reaches an internal temperature range of 130°F to 135°F.
  6. Transfer the cooked steak from the grill to a cutting board and allow it to rest anywhere between 10 to 15 minutes.
  7. Slice the steak, against the grain, into thin, wide strips.
  8. Serve with your preferred sides and drinks and enjoy.
Flank steak side dishes

Recommended Side Dishes and Libations

Once you have your flank steak all nice and finished, you will need to serve at least one side and something to chase it all down with. Here are several notable sides and drinks to pair up with a finely marinated flank steak.

Side Dish Solutions

  • Something involving potatoes. Whether you want to do something as basic as french fries or something a bit more involved, like garlic mashed potatoes, potatoes are such a classic accompaniment to steak that "meat and potatoes" is a phrase describing something that is basic yet reliable.
  • Steamed vegetables. You can do your guest's palettes a wonderful service by offering a side that gives a crisp crunch to contrast with the delectably juicy and tender bite of your marinated flank steak. If steamed vegetables feel a little too plain to you, feel free to kick things up a notch by sprinkling some Parmesan cheese over them when they finish steaming.
  • Cole Slaw. You can do a lot to excite the palette by pairing your hot, delicious steak with a crispy, cold and flavorful slaw. Because cole slaw has a fair beat of seasoning, it will stand out in someone's taste buds even after he gets halfway through with his steak.
  • Rice with greens. This is another simple side suggestion, consisting of nothing more than a platter of rice topped with a green like collards or broccoli.
  • Tortillas. As has previously been mentioned, flank steak is a fine replacement for skirt steak in fajitas. There's nothing wrong with serving your freshly-sliced and marinated flank steak with a few tortillas, sliced peppers, sliced onions and maybe even some refried beans or shredded cheese.


  • Red wine. Red wine pairs with red meat. As an aside, never cook with wine you wouldn't drink in a glass.
  • Beer. There is no need to over-complicate things when it comes to beer. It is a known fact that beer is a common drink for the adults to have during a cookout or BBQ. If you would like something a bit more specific thank just "beer," something dark like a stout or porter is ideal; anything with just a hint of bitterness helps accent the flavors in the steak.
  • Whiskey. Among rye, Scotch and bourbon, Scotch tends to best complement any type of steak if only because its smoky flavor pairs well with the flavors you can only produce when grilling food.
  • Juice. If you or some of your guests are disinterested in alcoholic fare, a cool glass of cranberry or pomegranate juice can both clear the palette and lighten the heavy load of a steak that has been properly prepared and cooked.
  • Club soda with a citrus splash. The carbonation of club soda helps cut through the fat of a steak while also cleaning the palette. This means that you get all of the steak's rich flavor without it being overwhelming, like it might be on its own. When you take the carbonation of a club soda and mix in a squeeze of some lemon juice, usually lime or lemon, you add an acid to the mix that further cuts through the richness, balancing out all of the steak's complex flavors in every bite.
Marinate before grilling

In Conclusion

Flank steak is a versatile cut but it requires a marinade for true appreciation. Fortunately, a marinade 's simple requirements mean that you can experiment to find the right blend that ticks off every box on your checklist of what an ideal steak should taste like. It's also important to pair your steak with some sides and something fitting to drink. Having read this article, you should have no problems grilling up a delicious, tender flank steak.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a flank steak?

Can you substitute skirt steak for flank steak?

Should you marinate steak?

How long can you marinate steak?

Why do you have to cut flank steak against the grain?

Each Share Saves a Steak From Being Cooked Well Done