Flat Iron Steak – A Delicious Restaurant Favorite You Can Cook at Home

Flat iron steak shouldn’t be so delicious.

It is named after a domestic appliance, it is notoriously hard to find outside of restaurants, and it comes from an area of the cow, the shoulder blade, that was long considered too tough to produce any tender, enjoyable steaks.

But if you’ve ever had a perfectly-cooked flat iron steak from a steakhouse or grilled one in your own backyard, you know that it is an amazing cut of beef.

The History of Flat Iron Steaks

Flat iron steak is a tender cut of beef that not only has an interesting history but is also tough to find, much like ranch steaks or Denver steaks. Flat iron is not as prevalent in the butcher case as rib-eye, filet mignon, or flank steaks, but it is quite popular on restaurant menus in America and beyond.

Flat iron steak, which derives its name from its shape being similar to that of an old-fashioned clothes iron, has been around, in some form, for a while. The cut, or something similar to it, is known as the butler steak in the U.K. or the oyster blade steak in Australia and New Zealand. In some places, it can also be called book steak, petite steak, or shoulder top blade steak. Much like the Denver steak, the flat iron steak as we now know it was not “discovered” until 2002 by researchers at the University of Florida and the University of Nebraska, as part of the Beef Checkoff Program.

The cut is derived from the shoulder of the cow, specifically from the top blade of the chuck primal cut. For a long period of time, the region from where the flat iron steak is derived was waste meat or used in ground beef mixes. This was due to the connective tissue that ran through it, making it undesirable as a stand-alone cut.

The popularity of the flat iron steak among chefs—a classic “bistro steak”—is due to the versatility of the flavorful cut. According to our own Chef Yankel Polak, our in-house ButcherBox chef, “The flat iron steak is an industry darling, a new-age steak.”

Preparing Flat Iron Steak

The tender cut can be cooked as is, but it is often used with a rub or marinade. It’s popular as a stir-fry meat, sometimes sliced for sandwiches, and commonly used with chimichurri or other spicy sauces for tacos. It can also be the centerpiece of other dishes.

The flat iron steak is ideal for grilling, whether using a marinade or just some olive oil, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper.

Chef Yankel says that flat iron is similar to both skirt steak and hanger steak, “For mouthfeel, it’s slightly chewy but in an enjoyable way, and for meatiness, it tastes like what you imagine beef should taste like,” he explained.

It is a shame that the cut is difficult for steak-loving consumers to find it on their own. (Luckily, if you are a ButcherBox member, it is often available in the monthly box.)

Here is one of our favorite flat iron steak recipes:

Pepper-Crusted Flat Iron Recipe

Pepper Crusted Flat Iron with Root Vegetable Mash

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Protein: Beef
Cut: Flat Iron
Course: Main Course
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 2 people

Ingredients

  • 2 ea ButcherBox Flat Iron Steaks
  • 2 Tbsp coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp avocado oil

Root Vegetable Mash

  • 3 med parsnips peeled and sliced
  • 1 lg turnip peeled and sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic smashed
  • 3 c milk
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp parsley chopped
  • ½ c parmesan cheese grated

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350℉. Place cast iron skillet in oven while it preheats.
  • Pour coarse ground pepper on a plate and press one side of flat iron steaks in pepper. Season steaks on both sides with salt.
  • Remove cast iron skillet from oven, add avocado oil and place pepper side steaks down in pan. Return pan to oven. Bake for 4 minutes. Flip steaks and continue to cook in oven for an additional 4 minutes or until thermometer inserted in thickest part reads 120℉.
  • Remove pan from oven and let steaks rest on room temperature surface for 8 minutes before slicing against the grain. Serve with Root Vegetable Mash.

Root Vegetable Mash

  • Preheat oven to 350℉.
  • Place parsnips, turnips, garlic and milk in a medium sauce pot. Make sure the milk is covering vegetables, add more if necessary.
  • Simmer on low heat until vegetables are fork-tender. Strain vegetables, reserving cooking liquid.
  • Place vegetables in bowl with butter and mash, adding small amounts of reserved cooking liquid to get a thick mashed consistency.
  • Stir in parmesan and parsley. Scoop mashed vegetable mixture into regular sized cupcake tin. Sprinkle top with black pepper and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
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pepper crusted flat iron steak

Pepper Crusted Flat Iron Steak

A perfect way to cook the quintessential restaurant steak.
No ratings yet
Print Pin
Protein: Beef
Cut: Flat Iron
Course: Main Course
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 2 people

Ingredients

  • 2 ButcherBox Flat Iron Steaks
  • 2 tablespoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil We recommend avocado oil.

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350℉. Place cast-iron skillet in oven while it preheats.
  • Pour coarse ground pepper on a plate and press one side of flat iron steaks in pepper. Season steaks on both sides with salt.
  • Remove cast iron skillet from oven, add avocado oil, and place pepper side steaks down in pan. Return pan to oven. Bake for 4 minutes. Flip steaks and continue to cook in oven for an additional 4 minutes or until thermometer inserted in thickest part reads between 120-125℉ for a medium-rare steak.
  • Remove pan from oven and let steaks rest on room temperature surface for 8 minutes before slicing against the grain.
Share on Pinterest!Pin at @Butcher_Box!