Flank Steak Sous Vide

39 Comments

So it’s time for another sous vide experiment! This time, the lean and tough cut known as the flank steak. It’s a personal favorite of mine – especially in fajitas. But I knew the sous vide would make magic with this cut, and I wasn’t proven wrong.

Instead of fajitas, I decided to treat the flank steak like a regular steak, and serve it with a pan reduction. And it worked out beautifully. With the sous vide, it’s almost like you never have to buy high quality beef tenderloin ever again!

So here’s what I did with the flank steak:

Flank Steak Sous Vide

1 flank steak
All purpose seasoning
Olive oil
Wine
Demi-glace, beef variety

Have the sous vide preheated to 131 degrees. Then vacuum seal the flank steak in a bag using the vacuum sealer.

Place it in the water for 48 hours, then remove it. It will look like this:

flank

If you’re wondering why a brisket takes 48 hours to cook in a sous vide, as well as the much smaller and thinner flank steak, it has to do with the toughness of the meat. Interesting, huh?!!!

I cut the flank steak into 3 manageable pieces, dried them off, and seasoned them.

flank4

Then I browned them in olive oil, just like I would steaks.

flank3

I let the flank steaks rest while I added some wine and a little demi-glace to the skillet and reduced the mixture. Then I sliced the steaks after resting them, and poured the sauce over them.

flank1

If you’re wondering what the white curly cues are at the left, I tried using my spiral slicer with potatoes, but they just didn’t hold together. Oh well!

verdict: I will always use the sous vide for flank steak. It was really like slices of tenderloin. Amazing!

39 thoughts on “Flank Steak Sous Vide

  1. Just made a bunch of sous vide meats, including steaks, last week prepping for some upcoming posts. I am with you, Flank is maybe my favorite cut of beef, and it just melts when you sous vide it!! I usually only go 8-36 hours, I am impressed with your ability to stay away from cooking meat for 48 haha. I will have to try that next time!

    Cheers!

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    • When I first tried flank steak after 8 hours there was no difference. So I now go by Stefan’s guide, and with tougher meats he goes 48 hours. I couldn’t believe how good it was. And, I now love brisket!!!

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      • I’m not being nit picky but flank steaks and brisket are not the same cut of meat. Flank steak aka London broil comes from the flank of the cow, i.e. the belly of the cow toward the rear legs. It has a longitudinal grain to it, has a moderate amount of fat and, if overcooked, is very tough. It has a fabulous “beefy” flavor and is typically, cooked quickly over medium high heat to a medium/medium rare and thinly sliced on a bevel across the grain so as not to be too chewy. I have always enjoyed flank steaks.
        Brisket comes from the front portion of the beef breast that lies between the front legs and has a considerable amount of fat. It has 2 muscles, the flat and the point or deckle. The flat is the thin leaner piece of meat. In many instances, if you go to a supermarket and buy a trimmed brisket they sell you the flat. The point or deckle (also commonly called the second cut of brisket), on the other hand, is the more fatty section with more collagens and IMHO much more flavor. When properly cooked via non sou vide methods, it simply falls apart and is almost impossible to “slice.” Many supermarkets use the deckle to make ground beef. The only way to cook a brisket is low and slow, very, very slow. Also, because of the two muscles, it is easy to make brisket dry and chewy. To me, there isn’t much better than a properly slow smoked brisket.
        Regardless, I would imagine both of these cuts, especially the flank steak, would cook beautifully sous vide. Your photos made me hungry (even though we had eaten a relatively large dinner) as the meat was perfectly cooked and looked nice and tender.
        BTW-you never did mention what you husband thought. Is he impressed by your sous vide experiments?

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    • I tried beef shanks once sous-vide (I believe it was at 62C/144F) and they were still not tender after 72 hours. I haven’t tried at a higher temperature because that would be more like a traditional braise.

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    • P.S. Richard, thanks for the explanation on brisket. Unfortunately here the whole brisket is just known as “pointy breast”, so when I ask for it I’m not sure whether I’m going to get the flat or the point (usually both, actually). I’m going to see if I can get my butcher to just give me the point.
      P.P.S. I think that Mimi just wanted to state she likes brisket now, not that this post was about brisket.

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    • There really isn’t. You really have to control the water temperature, and you definitely need the vacuum seal bags. But, I purchased a demi sous vide, which was only $329.00 instead of the usual $600. It’s smaller and more appropriate for home cooking. Still a lot of money, but I feel it’s so worth it because you can buy poorer cuts of meat with great results!

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  2. We have so many water baths in the lab, if they were not so “contaminated” with chemicals and bacteria, I would “borrow” one to have some sous-vide fun. I only had meat prepared by this method once, in Paris, and it was indeed delicious.

    great that you have one of these babies at tome – I will live vicariously through you!

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  3. Funny, until last night I had never heard of “sous vide”, then today I found your blog and you have recipes for “sous vide”! I think this must be synchronicity! You have a beautiful blog, with so many things I love to cook! I am looking forward to following you!

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