Friends, we made it! It's grilling season! Which means that it's time to talk about meat. While it isn't seasonal like fruits and vegetables, there are definitely times of the year when certain cuts are more popular than others. In the fall and winter, for example, we tend to gravitate towards cuts that go in cozy braises and comforting stews, cuts that pair well with belly-warming red wines and toasty bourbons, ones that leave us sleepy and satisfied. In the spring and summer, we look for cuts that are easy to grill -- cuts that benefit from zippy, fresh, herb-laden marinades, and that pair well with ice-cold beers and refreshing cocktails.
One of the most popular steaks in spring and summertime is flank steak. If you're unsure of what this cut looks like, check out the image of Lady Gaga's meat hat and purse from the 2010 MTV Music Video Awards -- there it is! Flank is popular because it's affordable, flavorful, and works in a wide range of dishes. It's great grilled and sliced into fajitas, tacos, steak salads, Korean bulgogi, stir fry, or steak sandwiches. However, it also works well on its own, sharing a plate with some grilled vegetables or a light salad.
Flank steak gets its beautiful, beefy flavor and satisfying chew from its location on the animal's body. It lays across the belly of the cow, in between the ribs and the hind legs, in an area that is very well-exercised. Because these muscles are stronger, they are also chewier, and because they get a lot of blood flow, they are also more flavorful. Flank is recognizable by its teardrop shape and the long, thin muscle fibers that run down its length. These muscle striations are what can make flank tough if it isn't prepared properly, so here are a few tips on how to prepare and cook it.
Check out the slideshow above to learn how to cook a flank steak.
This article originally appeared on Food52.com: All About Flank Steak, and 6 Tips on How to Cook It