When you use the right grilling techniques, grilled steak is one of the most delectable proteins you can put on your plate. Although flank steak is a thinner cut that can dry out easily, it’s just right for the grill, especially with a little practice and a yummy marinade.
Use this guide to learn all about how to grill flank steak while keeping it moist and tender.
Preparing The Grill
You can grill flank steak on a gas or charcoal grill. For either type of grill, consider brushing a small amount of olive oil on the grates to prevent the steak from sticking. If your grates do tend to stick to meat, you can use a grill pan instead.
Here’s how to get your grill ready:
Preheat your gas grill to 450-500 degrees, depending on its maximum temperature. If you have a two-zone grill, make one side high heat and the other low, about 275 degrees. Bring the heat to temp fully — about 5-10 minutes — before cooking.
Mound coals in the bottom and center of your grill. Spray lighter fluid on the coals and light with a match. Once the coals should turn white, they’re ready to start heating up your steak. This usually takes 10-15 minutes. Evenly move the coals around on the bottom of the grill before cooking.
Some people prefer using a chimney starter to light the coals. To do this, crumple a couple of pieces of newspaper at the bottom of the starter and place coals on top. Then, light the newspaper. Give it about 10-15 minutes to turn the coals white before dumping the coals on the bottom of the grill to start cooking.
Flank steak is relatively thin compared to other cuts you might be used to working with, like ribeye or tenderloin. Therefore, it cooks quickly on the grill. In most cases, you can cook a flank steak on the grill in about 10 minutes to medium-rare.
While medium-rare is our suggested level of doneness for flank steak, it’s certainly not the only way to cook it. Use the chart below to gauge when to pull flank steak from the grill and the final temperature to expect.
|Doneness||Temperature to Remove from Heat||Final Temperature|
Medium Rare Flank Steak
A medium-rare flank steak yields just the right texture for this cut of meat — not too tough, with just the right bite, and a pinkish-red, juicy center.
To grill flank steak to medium-rare, place the steaks on the high-heat side of the grill after seasoning. Let sear on one side for 2-3 minutes before flipping to the other side and searing for another 2-3 minutes. Remove flank steak when the internal temperature reaches 125-130℉ in its thickest part. Then, rest for five minutes until the final temperature comes to 130-135℉.
Flank Steak Grilling Tips
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of grilling flank steak, we’re offering a few extra tips that can help you as you learn the techniques.
Marinate Flank Steak Before Grilling
Flank steak is one of the best cuts of beef to marinate, especially if it’s heading to the grill. Use your favorite marinade on the steak for at least a few hours before you’re ready to grill it to let the extra flavor soak in, and the marinade’s acidity break down tough fibers. You’ll end up with a crisp, flavorful flank steak.
Watch It Like a Hawk
Because of its thinner profile, flank steak can use a more watchful eye than other steaks. This steak is quick to grill, so it’s best to stay nearby when cooking, just to make sure it doesn’t get a little overzealous when searing.
Find the Right Temperature
Use a digital meat thermometer to find the accurate temperature of flank steak. Because this cut is thinner than others, it might look not quite done enough on the outside but done more than you’d like it on the inside. Once you become more familiar with grilling it, you’ll get a good idea of its look and feel for the level of doneness you like, but the only way to know for sure what temperature it is inside is with a meat thermometer.
Check flank steak on the grill by inserting the probe into its thickest part and comparing that temperature to the ‘remove from heat’ temperature in the chart above to determine when to pull it from the grill. Then, temp the steak again after resting to ensure that it’s reached your ideal doneness temperature.
Choosing the Right Cut
You’ll find lots of different options for flank steak when you buy it. The most common choice is USDA Prime, Choice, or Select. USDA Prime denotes the best marbling of these options, which leads to the most tender steaks when cooked properly.
You might also find dry-aged and wet-aged flank steaks. While either is an excellent option, dry-aging takes a bit more time to break down tough steak tissue, which is beneficial for flank steak you’ll put on the grill.
Grilling Flank Steak Instructions
Ready to start grilling flank steak? Here’s how to do it.
Step 1: Prepare for Grilling
First, remove flank steak from the refrigerator and salt it on both sides. Let it rest on a clean plate or cutting board for 45 minutes. Meanwhile, brush olive oil on your grill grates. Ten minutes before grilling, preheat the grill to high heat (450-500 degrees for a gas grill).
If desired, sprinkle pepper and a little more salt on the steaks before grilling.
Step 2: Grill Flank Steak
Transfer flank steak to the oiled grill grates. Sear for 2-3 minutes before flipping to the other side to sear for another 2-3 minutes.
Step 3: Check the Temperature
Use a meat thermometer to check the thickest part of the flank steak’s temperature. Refer to the chart above for your desired level of doneness, ensuring that you remove the steak from the grill when it reaches the ‘Remove from Heat’ range.
Your steak might need a little more time for more thorough cooks. If so, turn the heat to low or move the steaks to a low-heat area of the grill. Cover with the lid, and allow to cook for another 1-2 minutes. Temp again.
Step 4: Give It Time to Rest
Move steaks to a clean plate or cutting board. Tent the plate with foil, and allow steaks to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Grilling Flank Steak
- 1 lb flank steak
- olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- OPTIONAL: marinade of your choice
- OPTIONAL: Marinate steak for at least two hours in the refrigerator. Then, season steak with salt on both sides. Leave on a clean plate at room temperature for 45 minutes. When ready to cook, brush olive oil on the grill grates. Preheat the grill to high heat, or 450-500 degrees for a gas grill
- Sprinkle salt and pepper on each side of the flank steak, if desired. Transfer steaks to the grill, and sear for 3-4 minutes on each side, flipping only once
- Check the steak's temperature on the thickest part. If it needs some more time to reach your desired doneness, move it to a low-heat side of the grill for just another minute or two
- Move steaks to a clean plate or cutting board. Tent with aluminum foil and rest for five minutes. Slice against the grain, if desired, to serve
Other Ways to Cook Flank Steak
We absolutely love a high-quality flank steak cooked on the grill, but this steak cut is incredible when cooked various other ways, too. If the weather’s a little too cold for grilling or you just want a way to cook flank steak in your kitchen, try one of these other methods:
- Oven-baked flank steak
- Reverse seared flank steak
- Sous vide flank steak
- Pan-seared flank steak
- Slow cooked flank steak
- Skewered flank steak
Check out our other flank steak cooking guides to pan-sear or roast this steak to perfection, right in your own kitchen.