Summer-starved Manitobans are firing up their barbecues as the searing temperatures arrive. Anything grilled makes a fantastic hot-weather meal, of course, but beef and the barbecue were made for each other.
Usually the higher end the cut of steak, the happier red-meat eaters are, but I recently sampled an excellent steak I’d overlooked until now. This is the flat iron steak, cut from the top blade roast or shoulder of the animal. Those who know their beef cuts know the top blade is a fairly tender cut of meat, but comes with a line of connective tissue down the middle. That’s made it problematic for producing steaks.
The flat iron steak was developed after the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association in the U.S. funded research by food product developers to find a way to use the lesser demanded cut of meat because of that tissue issue. According to a recipes.com article, the NCBA asked researchers at the universities of Nebraska and Florida to look at ways to add value to chuck, for which demand had dropped significantly even as it makes up a large part of the total beef carcass. They also came up with the homesteader-esque name for this steak. The flatiron, of course, is that small slab of iron Grandma pressed and ironed the clothes with. Now a cut that wasn’t considered great for steaks is a prime cut — and most deservedly.
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The flat iron I ate was about an inch thick, just slightly bigger than the palm of my hand and, as is advisable with all steaks of this type, well marinated.
I was on the horn to our local butcher, All Natural Meats in Carman, the next day. I wondered if the flat iron might be somehow “new,” but evidently only to me. The staff there knew instantly what I wanted and happily had some in too.
If you go looking for this particular cut and the butcher you talk to doesn’t know it, just ask for the top blade. If you love beef on the barbecue, I’m pretty sure you’ll love this tender and flavourful little steak.
Laura’s Steak Marinade
Co-operator editor, Laura Rance, introduced us to the flat iron steak at a barbecue hosted at her home last week. Here’s the marinade she used for five flat irons — which fed 11 people with a little left over. Laura sprinkled both sides of the steaks with Montreal Steak Spice before marinating for several hours. Her husband, Gord, then sprinkled them again while they were grilling. For best results have the steaks at room temperature before cooking and grill them whole. The steaks are cut into pieces just before serving.
- 1 c. soy sauce
- 1/2 c. olive oil (approximately)
- 2 to 3 tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 2 to 3 tbsp. honey
- 1 heaping tsp. garlic powder (not garlic salt)
- 6 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- Montreal Steak Spice
Marinated Grilled Steak with Melted Onions
Sometimes a supper sandwich is just the perfect thing for a casual summer meal. A simple marinade and the barbecue bring out the best in any type of round steak. For a neat appetizer, serve slices of beef al fresco on top of garlic-rubbed toasted crostini and top with the onions.
- 2 tbsp. Bull’s-Eye Bold Original barbecue sauce
- 4 tbsp. Greek or Italian vinaigrette salad dressing
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- Pepper and kosher salt
- 1 lb. inside round marinating steak, cut 1 inch thick
- 1 sweet onion, sliced
- 4 baguettes or buns, sliced
Combine Bull’s-Eye sauce, 2 tbsp. of the dressing and garlic in sealable freezer bag. Pierce steak all over with fork; add to bag. Refrigerate for eight to 12 hours.
Pat steak dry; season with pepper and kosher salt. Discard marinade. Grill over medium-high heat for three to four minutes per side for medium rare. Let rest for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, pan fry onion in remaining dressing over medium heat, stirring often until softened and golden, about 10 minutes. Serve with thinly sliced steak on baguette. Top with arugula.
Source: Canada Beef Inc.
Beef Round Steak Done Right
Lots of folks want to know the best way to grill a round steak. The Beef Info.org website advises adding a big flavourful baste and offers this recipe for a marinade you can easily make with pantry supplies (plus a few variations).
- 1 c. steak sauce
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 2 lbs. beef, inside or outside round marinating steak, 1-1/2 inches thick
- Salt and pepper
Combine steak sauce, garlic, mustard and onions in large sealable freezer bag. Remove 1/4 cup EACH for basting and dipping. Pierce steak all over; add to bag and refrigerate for eight or up to 12 hours. Discard marinade. Pat steak dry with paper towel; season with salt and pepper to taste. Grill over medium-high heat, brushing with reserved basting sauce, for seven to eight minutes per side for medium rare (digital instant-read thermometer inserted into centre of steak reads 140 F. Transfer to cutting board, cover loosely with foil and let stand for five minutes before carving on an angle into thin slices. Serve with reserved dipping sauce.
Chipotle Big Baste: Add 1/3 cup salsa and 1 tbsp. minced canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.
Coulis-Style Big Baste: Add 1/4 cup of your favourite fruit jam and 2 tbsp. fruit juice, such as apple or orange.
Honey Ginger Big Baste: Add 2 tbsp. liquid honey and 2 tsp. minced fresh ginger.
Source: Canada Beef Inc.