How to Cook Flank Steak on Stove Top in a Frying Pan So It’s Tender

Last Updated on by SteakEat

This manual explains how to cook flank steak on stove top using frying pan so it’s tasty, tender and delicious.

To make things easy, we use a simple approach and cook a classical ‘salt-n-pepper’ steak.

Contents:

  • Part 1: Ingredients & Cooking Utensils
  • Part 2:  8-Step Guide on How to Cook Flank Steak on Stove
  • Part 3: What to Look for When Buying Quality Beef
  • Part 4: Tips & Tricks for Cooking Perfection

Part 1: Ingredients & Cooking Utensils

Before we kick off, here is what you should have:

  • 230g / 8oz flank steak
  • 1 tbsp ghee/coconut oil
  • Pack of kosher/flaked salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

 

The cooking utensils we require:

  • Thick heavy skillet (e.g. cast iron or non-sticky forged aluminum)
  • Meat tongs for flipping
  • Instant-read meat thermometer
  • Quality paper towels
  • Tin foil

Ready to go? Let’s SteakEat!

Part 2: 8-Step Guide on How to Cook Flank Steak on Stove

  • Part 1: Ingredients & Cooking Utensils
  • Part 2:  8-Step Guide on How to Cook Flank Steak on Stove
  • Part 3: What to Look for When Buying Quality Beef
  • Part 4: Tips & Tricks for Cooking Perfection

Step 1: Get the Steak to Room Temperature

If you have a steak that’s frozen, we recommend transferring it inside your fridge at least 24 hours (more for thicker cuts) before beginning to cook – this is the only way to guarantee a slow defrosting, which will not badly affect your steak’s texture and flavor.

If your flank steak is not frozen, take your time and remove it from the fridge at least 40 minutes before searing on stove top.

We warm it up for one major reason – to help high-heat searing in a frying pan to develop the famous brown crust.

If the cut is too cold, it can diminish the temperature of the frying pan to a point that low, that, instead of searing your steak, it will be boiling it.

Ever seen a lot of liquid watering out from the meat? That’s what it looks like.

Step 2: Dry the Surface

Remove excess moisture from the steak’s surface by gently patting it dry. Use quality paper towels – they are made for that!

Pat drying is also a way of helping surface browning that will occur once we start searing in Step 5.

Excess moisture will make it harder for the Maillard reaction (a.k.a. surface browning) to occur, that’s why try your best!

Important – if you don’t have any paper towels, you may try substituting with oven paper (not ideal, but better than nothing). Avoid using toilet paper as it has numerous layers which are fond of sticking to meat.

Optional Bonus Step

Flank steak is a pretty tough cut so I recommend tenderizing it using a meat hammer or better still – needle-type meat tenderizer.

Step 3: Hot Skillet…

Is a must.

That’s why you want to turn your stove top to maximum heat possible and place your frying pan right on the heating element (either, electric or gas).

Make sure that your pan size matches the size of the heating element – this is the only way for the pan to accumulate enough heat.

Also, talking of your frying pan’s quality, make sure its bottom part is flat, not bumpy and uneven.

This is especially important for electric/induction heating elements. Uneven skillets are much harder to heat up and won’t maintain require temperature.

How to know that the skillet is hot enough? Here is a trick we recommend.

Add the tablespoon of ghee/coconut oil inside the skillet and start heating it up as described earlier.

You will soon see gentle fumes lifting off the skillet’s surface (sometimes it might take up to 10 minutes), wait for another 15 seconds.

Your pan is now ready!

Step 4: Add Salt, but Not Pepper

While your skillet is heating up, sprinkle the kosher/flaked salt all over your flank steak.

For the cut that size, we recommend beginning with two 3-finger pinches per side (that means using your thumb, forefinger and middle finger to grab salt) You can, of course, adjust that quantity to suit your preferences.

We use this type of salt because it has a relatively lower density that table salt – it means you can you more of it without being afraid of oversalting your steak.

As for now, that’s it – we won’t be adding pepper, because it burns at high heat causing charred, burnt flavor in beef.

Step 5: Sear Flank Steak on Stove

By now your skillet is all heated up and the steak is salted.

Place it inside and hear gentle sizzling sound – that’s water quickly evaporating from the cut’s surface. Everything is going well!

 

———————————-

Tender Steak

We mentioned tender flank steak and the secret behind is…

…you need it cooked medium-rare.

To get that level of doneness, you can use timer or the popular thumb tests, but we can only recommend one thing and that is…

…instant-read meat thermometer.

No guesswork anymore!

———————————-

Step 6: Searing Time per Side

How long to cook steak on stove top – then answer to this question depends on many factors.

Our best approximation is at 3 minutes per side, making it 6 minutes in total.

So, once you placed your steak inside, start the timer and flip it, using the tongs, in exactly 3 minutes to sear for another 3 on the next side.

Once you are done, transfer the steak onto a cutting board or a plate.

———————————-

Tender Steak – Using the Probe

Once you are 4 minutes through, get the thermometer and check the steak’s inside temperature.

Medium-rare level of doneness lies within 55-57C / 130-135F temperature gap.

If you see it’s too far away, add another 30 seconds per side once the initial 6 minutes run out.

You might also find your that your flank steak is already very close to that temperature gap, so stop searing before the 6 minutes run out.

That’s what meat probe is for!

———————————-

Step 7: Rest the Steak

Congratulations! The hard part is over, but we are not finished yet.

You will need another 5 minutes – don’t cut the steak during that time. On the inside it’s still hot with juices running – we don’t want to let them out or we lose all the tenderness and flavor.

So, cover it with tin foil and wait a bit.

Step 8: Cut & Serve

Now that the wait is over, cut and serve your steak.

We recommend doing it across the grain (i.e. perpendicular to muscle fibers) – it helps with chewing, making the steak even more tender!

 

How to cook flank steak on stove? Now you know. 🙂

But that’s not everything – flick to Part 3 and see what to look for when buying quality beef.

Part 3: What to Look for When Buying Quality Beef

  • Part 1: Ingredients & Cooking Utensils
  • Part 2:  8-Step Guide on How to Cook Flank Steak on Stove
  • Part 3: What to Look for When Buying Quality Beef
  • Part 4: Tips & Tricks for Cooking Perfection

Just like many things in life, you get what you pay for.

That’s why we call you to spend wisely – see what to look for when buying best quality beef:

1. Grass-fed Organic Standard.

Conventional beef that’s available in the supermarket all over the US is raised in conventional way, meaning it’s being stuffed with grain in feedlots to make it gain weight as fast as possible.

Excessive feeding causes cattle to get sick. To prevent that, antibiotics are being routinely used with animals.

On top of that conventional feedlots often feed pesticide-heavy grains, which do no good to animals.

You can imagine that all these factors have a pretty negative effect on the end consumers – antibiotic and pesticide residue found in beef is carried on further to human body, making it prone to illnesses and diseases.

That’s why we recommend you buy organic grass-fed flank steaks. Not only they are pesticide- and antibiotic-free, they taste better, have a higher nutrient density and a better fatty acid profile, which doesn’t promote inflammation.

2. Dry-aged / Matured.

You can often see these type steaks being sold.

They tend to sell 14-, 21- and 28-day matured cuts, sometimes going all the way to 40-something.

Dry aging (i.e. maturing) is a natural process which involves enzymes in meat tissue to break down protein molecules.

This, in turn, makes beef tenderer and helps to concentrate the flavor, since some moisture evaporates away.

We recommend you try the 14-day version first. It’s not that expensive to try out and will have all the pros.

Mind you, matured beef does taste differently and might not be suitable to your taste buds. =)

3. Steak Weight & Thickness

The final thing we recommend looking for when buying quality steak is its thickness.

Ideally it should lie within the 1/2 – 1-inch interval.

This thickness helps to, first, maintain steaks juicy and tender while cooking and, second, preserves them from being overcooked on the surface and undercooked on the inside.

When it comes to weight and serving sizes, a rule of thumb is getting 230g / 8oz cut per person. This is enough to have satisfactory meal without stuffing yourself. 😉

The Cooking Tools You Need for a Perfect Flank Steak

Now that we have a great steak, let’s get the tools…

Not surprisingly many people fail with cooking beef, just because their cooking utensils are not great.

Here is what you need:

Thick-Walled heavy Skillet

The heavier, the better (as a rule of thumb).

Heavy, thick walled frying pan helps to accumulate more heat inside, which, in turn, helps to actually sear the steak when cooking.

Second, it is less prone to deformation caused by high temperature – it’s a long-term investment in quality.

We recommend both, cast iron and forged aluminum. The latter material is better with non-stickiness.

Tongs

Meat tongs are made for flipping steaks.

They are inexpensive and help to handle beef properly. Get a pair and forget about burning yourself and spilling the steak juice all over the stove, when your steak falls down from the fork! =)

Salt

Kosher/flaked salt is THE salt we use.

It’s lower density helps to use more of it, which helps to develop browning and flavor while searing steak in skillet.

Avoid using table salt – it’s too salty!

Pepper

Use freshly-ground pepper right before serving the steak – not before cooking it!

High heat burns pepper causing charred, burnt flavor.

Cooking Oil

Ghee or coconut oil. These are perfect for high heat searing.

Avoid vegetable oil – they are bad for health.

Temperature Probe

The meat probe is a quick, precise and inexpensive tool that helps to eliminate the guesswork around your steak’s level of doneness.

Get it once and eliminate all the guesswork (and cook perfect steaks every time).

Part 4 – cooking tips and tricks. Check ’em out!

Part 4: Tips & Tricks for Cooking Perfection

  • Part 1: Ingredients & Cooking Utensils
  • Part 2:  8-Step Guide on How to Cook Flank Steak on Stove
  • Part 3: What to Look for When Buying Quality Beef
  • Part 4: Tips & Tricks for Cooking Perfection

Now that you know how to cook flank steak on stove to perfection, let’s make it even more perfect – the tips below will help you achieve that goal:

 

Tip #1. Get extra tenderness and flavor by using marinades.

Avoid using commercial meat tenderizers – these are full of chemicals.

Tip #2. Develop even richer flavor by adding a knob of organic grass-fed butter (Kerry Gold is our favorite) when you are 2 minutes away from searing steak (i.e. you cooked the steak for 4 minutes already and you have 2 to go – add the butter now).

Drop 2 crushed garlic cloves inside (no need to peel them), along with 3 rosemary sprigs to add even more flavor. Finish the searing process and get something extraordinarily extraordinaire!

Tip #3. Preheat your ceramic plates in the oven at around 80C / 180F for just a few minutes – this trick will help to keep your steak warm for longer, so you and your guests can discuss how great your cooking is!

Tip #4. If your guests are actually late, preheat the oven to 50C / 120F and place the entire steak, on the dish, inside. Now you have all the time in the world to wait for them – your cooking will not cool down (nor will it cook further).

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