Not all steaks look like they were destined for the cover of foodie magazines. Flat iron is one of those cuts that doesn’t always look as enticing as more decadent cuts, like the ribeye or New York strip. Still, it’s one that you don’t want to ignore if you’re on a quest to try some of the best steaks.
The thinner-than-average flat iron cooks quickly, allowing you to whip up a simple steak dish in just a few minutes in your kitchen. Despite its lower price tag than many other steaks, flat iron offers incredible flavor and texture in every bite. Its versatility also makes it the star of almost any type of dish you want to make.
What is Flat Iron Steak
Flat iron steak looks different from other steaks you’re used to — you know, the big, beefy, thick steaks you’d typically get at a restaurant. The thinner flat iron may not be the boldest looking on a plate, but it certainly exudes flavor, which is why it remains a popular choice regardless of its more modest size. In fact, its taste is comparable to strip steak, and its marbling and texture are similar to the tender ribeye.
You might also hear flat iron referred to as an oyster blade steak, butlers’ steak, or top blade steak. The shoulder area of the cow that flat iron comes from was once off-limits for steak eaters because of how chewy it was. However, more modern methods have taught butchers how to cut flat iron in a way that removes the tough connective tissue, allowing for a more savory, melt-in-your-mouth texture that we know and love today.
Flat iron is thinner than other cuts, so it’s an excellent choice for non-standard steak dishes, like steak salads, sandwiches, fajitas, and more.
What Cut of Beef is Flat Iron
The chuck shoulder primal portion of the cow is where you’ll find the flat iron. The area is right in the front body of the animal in a highly muscular area where you’ll also find the chuck roast, also known for being much tougher than other steaks.
6 Ways to Cook Flat Iron Steak
Flat iron steak cooks quicker than most other cuts you might be used to serving. However, the rest of the cooking processes are mostly the same.
Be sure to salt all sides of your flat iron steak generously and allow to rest at room temperature for 45 minutes before cooking to create a dry brine that crisps up the outer edges. Then, follow along with these instructions to cook flat iron steak:
Grilling Flat Iron Steak
- Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Place steaks on an oiled grill rack. Season as desired.
- Put the rack directly over heat to sear steaks for 2-3 minutes. Flip with tongs and sear for another 2-3 minutes on the other side.
- Pull from grill when internal temperature reaches 125 degrees for medium-rare (adjust as desired for other doneness levels).
- Rest on a foil-tented plate for 5 minutes.
Grilling Flat Iron Steak on Skewers
To grill flat iron steak on skewers, slice the steak into one-inch cubes and season as desired. Then, slide a few pieces onto each skewer along with your chosen vegetables. Grill over medium-high heat for 5-10 minutes, covered, until desired doneness level is reached, turning skewers once. Then, rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Pan-Seared Flat Iron Steak
- Preheat a cast-iron skillet to medium-high with two tablespoons olive oil.
- Season steaks with salt, pepper, and steak seasoning, if desired.
- Place steaks in skillet and sear for 2-3 minutes on each side.
- If more cooking time is needed to reach desired doneness level, turn the heat to low and cook for another 2-5 minutes.
- Rest on a plate tented with foil for 5 minutes.
Cooking Flat Iron Steak in the Oven
- Turn your broiler on until fully preheated.
- Season steaks as desired.
- Put flat iron steaks on a greased oven-safe baking sheet and place them under the broiler.
- Cook for 4-5 minutes until crisped; flip steaks with tongs and cook for another 4-5 minutes. Steaks might need another 2-5 minutes longer, depending on thickness and your desired doneness level.
- Remove from oven when steaks reach your desired doneness (125 degrees for medium-rare). Rest for 5-10 minutes on a plate tented with foil before serving.
Reverse Sear Method for Flat Iron
- Preheat your oven to 200 degrees.
- Brush steaks with olive oil and add salt and pepper.
- Place steaks in a pan in the oven, cooking until the internal temperature reaches 115-120 degrees for medium rare (adjust accordingly to get your desired doneness). This should take 20-40 minutes, depending on steak thickness.
- Preheat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat with two tablespoons of butter.
- Add the steaks to the skillet and sear on each side for 1-3 minutes until golden brown, spooning the butter over the top.
- Remove steaks from the heat and rest for 5-10 minutes.
Flat Iron Sous Vide
- Set your precision cooker to 125 degrees for medium-rare (adjust accordingly for other doneness levels).
- Season the steak as desired and place in vacuum-sealed sous vide bag. Immerse in the preheated water.
- Cook for 1-3 hours, depending on the steak’s thickness and your desired doneness level. Medium-rare typically takes about 1-1 ½ hours. Remove steak from the water and bag when finished.
- If you’d like to sear your steak, preheat a skillet with one tablespoon of oil. Add the steaks and sear on each side for 1-3 minutes.
- Rest steaks on a plate tented with foil for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Seasoning Flat Iron Steak
For a simple, light seasoning, season flat iron steak with some salt and pepper prior to cooking. If you like bolder flavor, sprinkle it with steak seasoning or some garlic salt, thyme, or paprika. A dry rub also works wonders for grilled flat iron.
Marinating Flat Iron Steak
Flat iron steak is a popular cut to marinate, especially when it’s being used as the protein for a dish like steak tacos or a steak salad. A marinade helps this cut’s flavors shine even more and lean into the dish, like a spicy Indian-inspired marinade for a beef curry.To marinate your steak, choose an acid, like vinegar, lemon juice, or wine, a fat, like olive oil or coconut oil, and seasoning, like garlic, cayenne pepper, or rosemary. Consider using our marinade recipes for inspiration, or have fun experimenting with your own flavors.
Grilled Flat Iron Steak
- 1 pound flat iron steak
- steak seasoning (optional)
- Salt steaks generously on all sides. Place at room temperature for 45 minutes before cooking.
- Preheat an area of the grill to high heat and another area to low heat. Brush grates with olive oil.
- Season steaks with black pepper and, if desired, a dash of steak seasoning.
- Place flat iron steaks on the hot area of the grill for 3-4 minutes to sear. Flip to the other side with tongs and sear for 2-3 minutes.
- Move steaks to the low-heat area of the grill to finish cooking to your level of doneness. For medium-rare, remove steaks when they reach 125 degrees; adjust accordingly for other doneness levels.
- Rest steaks for 5-10 minutes on a plate tented with foil before serving.
Become an expert at cooking flat iron steak at home with the following additional pointers for measuring doneness and understanding cooking times.
Flat iron steak is one of the quicker cuts to cook because it’s relatively thin compared to others. Grilling and pan-searing take about 10-15 minutes from start to finish, while sous vide takes the longest amount of time at about one to 1 ½ hours. Expect the oven to cook flat iron in 15 to 20 minutes and reverse-searing to take between 30 and 45 minutes.
Make sure your flat iron is cooked to your desired doneness level by using a digital meat thermometer to test its temperature. Insert the probe into the thickest part of the meat. For medium-rare, the steak should reach 125 degrees before pulling it from the heat, as it cooks a little more while resting. Tent the resting area with foil to keep some heat in. Then, check the temperature again after 5-10 minutes to ensure that your flat iron has reached 130-135 degrees.
How to Cook Flat Iron Steak
Don’t let the thinner profile of flat iron steak fool you; this cut is full of flavor and has an excellent texture when cooked properly. Plus, its uniform thickness takes some of the guesswork out of cooking it, as it cooks relatively evenly throughout.
Want to try whipping up a flat iron steak dish at home? Order yours from Chicago Steak Company. We offer Premium Angus, USDA Prime Wet Aged, and Kobe-Wagyu flat iron steaks shipped straight to your home.