What is Flat Iron Steak?

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Gaining in popularity, these steaks are tender and juicy, and have a great depth of flavour, but, where do they come from, how are they butchered, basically, what is flat iron steak?

What is Flat Iron Steak?

Flat iron steak has gained in popularity over the last few years and has steadily become one of our customers favourite steaks. It's actually our second most popular steak after the classic rump steak, which is testament, not only to its quality, but also to it's affordability. When compared to more well known steaks, flat iron steaks can be a fraction of the cost. They are tender, juicy and have a great depth of flavour, especially when they have been properly butchered and matured. It is usually recommended that they be matured for at least 7 days. 

beef cutting diagram with chuck and blade highlighted

What is Flat Iron Steak?

Flat iron steak is cut from the featherblade muscle, which can be found next to the shoulder blade. You may have heard of the featherblade, or featherblade steaks, which have often been used for braising steak (although these are much less popular cuts these days). Flat iron steaks are produced by carefully cutting horizontally through the middle of the featherblade and removing a thin layer of silver gristle. When done properly this leaves two large rectangular shaped steaks that resemble old fashioned metal flat irons, which is, quite obviously, where the name comes from. Flat iron steaks may contain some marbling, and are often scored on the top, and sometimes bottom, of the steak, in a 'criss-cross' fashion. Scoring the steak helps to break down any connective tissue that may be left, but is mainly employed as a technique to increase the surface area of the steak. This will allow for quicker cooking times over higher heat. Scoring will also help to stop the steak from curling whilst cooking, and the increased surface area will also encourage a more even cook in the meat.  

What is the best way to cook a flat iron steak?

First of all, to bring out the natural sweetness of the cut, and to keep it nice and tender, your flat iron steak should be cooked medium-rare at most. If you're into well done steaks, then this isn't the right cut for you. You'd be better off choosing a sirloin.

The best way to cook flat iron steak at home is on a cast iron griddle, or skillet. Having said that, if you don't have access to either of those, a good non-stick frying pan will provide you with equally as good results. Remove the steak from packaging and rest at room temperature for ten minutes. Brush lightly with oil, season with sea salt and add the steak to the hot pan. Cook for 6 minutes, turning once halfway through. Leave the meat to rest on a warm plate for another 5 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat.

If you're cooking your flat iron steak on a BBQ, then you're onto a winner, this is the ultimate way to cook this steak. Give your steak ten minutes to rest and come up to room temperature, season, and cook until an internal temperature of approximately 60C-70C is reached. This will give you a nice medium-rare finish. Remember to leave your steak to rest on a warm plate for 5 minutes after cooking. 

Is flat iron steak tough?

Flat iron steak has a great flavour, with real natural sweetness, and is usually very tender. If you find your flat iron steak is tough, it's probably because it's overcooked. Due to the nature of the cut, flat iron steak is best served medium-rare and should never be served anything over medium. 

What is another name for flat iron steak?

Flat iron steak is cut from the featherblade muscle, which is located in the chuck primal, basically the shoulder of the animal. There are other steaks that can be cut from the blade, such as pave (underblade), blade, and featherbade steaks, but, as flat iron steaks are butchered in such a specific manner, they are very different to these other steaks. Basically, flat iron steak comes from the featherblade, and is not usually known by any other names.

Written by Matt Rhoades

Matt is our full time tea maker/web designer/delivery driver/butcher/accountant/social media man who you'll often find bickering with Dennis. Our MD with a passion for great meat and great customer service. When he's not at work he'll be creating recipes and probably barbecuing something somewhere, or making bacon jam. He loves it!!


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