Over the decade I’ve been on a carnivore diet, I’ve become a huge fan of flat iron steak. It holds deep flavors, and it’s almost as tender as tenderloin while costing a fraction of the tenderloin price tag.
I wanted to learn more about this popular steak, so I talked with my butcher and contacted my favorite meat delivery service.
Here’s everything you should know about this tender cut.
- The flat iron steak comes from the animal’s shoulder and is nicely marbled.
- Flat iron cuts are versatile and can be cooked using various cooking methods.
- The flat iron is often cooked to medium rare, but you can cook it to your desired doneness.
What Is Flat Iron Steak?
Flat iron steak is a beef cut from the animal's shoulder. This is a thinly cut steak that has become very popular recently as an alternative to tenderloin and filet because it’s more affordable and has a rich flavor.
Flat iron steak got its name because it looks like an old-fashioned flat iron. It was originally part of the top blade roast, but the butchers wanted to remove the tough connective tissue that ran through the middle of the cut.
Once this is removed, the top shoulder blade is cut into two cuts: one part is the top blade steak, and the other is the flat iron.
What Does Flat Iron Steak Taste Like?
Flat iron steak tastes beefy, with a rich flavor that comes from abundant marbling.
This steak comes from the shoulder, which is a part of the animal that gets a lot of exercise. This makes flat iron steak a perfect choice if you want a well-exercised steak with enough marbling for a rich flavor.
Note: Flat iron steaks have a different flavor compared to the filet mignon because filet mignon doesn’t have as much marbling.
Flat iron steaks are flavorful enough to be eaten on their own, but this cut benefits from a marinade. It takes on the flavors of the marinade ingredients for an even richer taste.
Flat iron steak’s texture depends on the way it’s butchered. It’s usually tender and juicy, but it has a line of sinew going through the flat iron steak region. Some butchers leave this intact, and you eat around it.
Others use techniques developed by several universities to cut out this sinew, making the steak easier to eat .
“Flat iron steak is a shoulder top blade steak cut from the chuck section of the carcass. In the past, it was best known as part of a chuck pot roast. The flatiron lends itself to grilling, broiling, and pan frying. For maximum tenderness, cook it slowly, as in stewing or braising.”
- United States Department of Agriculture
Flat iron steak is rich in zinc and vitamin B12, which aid the immune system, metabolism, brain, nerves, and red blood cells  . These nutrients are important for your overall health.
The flat iron has less fat than other steaks, which is great if you’re on a diet. It’s high in protein and low in carbs, so it’s a great choice for many diets.
Here’s the nutritional profile for 1 serving (3 oz) of flat iron cut:
- Calories: 189
- Total fat: 11
- Saturated fat: 4.3
- Protein: 21g
- Cholesterol: 71 mg
- Sodium: 65 mg
- Calcium: 5.1 mg
- Iron: 2.4 mg .
What Is the Best Way to Cook Flat Iron Steak?
The best way to cook a flat iron steak is with a cast iron skillet, pan fry, or stir fry. You can make many different flat iron steak recipes because this steak holds seasonings very well.
Here’s how I like to cook this extremely tender steak.
1. On the Grill
Grilling is one of the best ways of cooking steak, including the flat iron. Grill this steak on open flames until medium rare for the best flavor.
You can use a simple marinade and grill on a charcoal or a gas grill. Make sure your steak is completely thawed before cooking.
You can thaw it in the fridge for 24 hours and remove it from the fridge about half an hour before grilling. This way, the steak can come to room temperature and cook more evenly.
Read More: Best Steaks for Grilling
2. In the Oven
I like cooking this steak in the oven to highlight the flavor and tenderness. Once again, make sure your steak is completely thawed before cooking and keep it at room temperature for 30 to 40 minutes.
Here’s how to cook flat iron steaks in the oven:
- Put the steaks on the rack of a broiler pan and put the pan in the oven so the steaks are four inches from the heat.
- Broil for 12 minutes for a 1 to 1 1/2-inch steak for medium rare. Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature. It should read 130 degrees.
- Let the meat rest for five minutes before serving. The temperature will rise after you remove the steak from the oven, and it’ll reach 135 degrees. Resting ensures the steak is completely done and the juices are redistributed.
3. On the Stove
You can also pan-sear the flat iron steak on the stove. This gives the steaks a rich golden brown color and enhanced flavor. Thaw the steaks and season them with coarse sea salt.
- Preheat a skillet on medium-high heat.
- Add two tablespoons of vegetable oil or butter to coat the bottom of the skillet.
- Put the steak in the hot skillet.
- Sear the meat for 15 minutes for 1 to 1 1/2 inch steak. The steak is cooked properly when the thermometer reads 130 degrees.
- Rest the steak for five minutes, so the juices redistribute.
What is Another Name for a Flat Iron Steak?
Another name for a flat iron steak is butler’s steak or oyster blade steak.
Is Flat Iron Steak a Cheap Cut of Meat?
Yes, a flat iron steak is a cheap cut of meat. It’s much cheaper than tenderloin steak but comparable to it in tenderness.
What's the Difference Between Flat Iron and Flank Steak?
The difference between a flat iron and flank steak is in their origin. The flat iron comes from the shoulder of the cow and is part of the top blade filet. Flank steak comes from the belly muscle and is called the flank primal. The flat iron is thicker and denser and should be cooked medium rare. Flank is best used for steak fajitas and carne asada.
Is Flat Iron Steak Worth It?
Flat iron steak is comparable to tenderloin in terms of tenderness. But it’s much more affordable than this steak. This tender cut can be used for slow cooking, grilling, stir-frying, or any other cooking method you prefer.
No matter how you decide to prepare flat iron steak, you need to source the meat from trustworthy sellers. The flat irons I’ve been ordering from ButcherBox have proved to be some of the finest I’ve cooked lately.
This meat delivery service has a huge range of beef cuts obtained from grass-fed and grass-finished animals raised without any hormones or additives.