A cut of meat, particularly with beef, is essential for different recipes and dishes. Depending on what the recipe calls for, you must have an idea about the cuts of your beef. This is true when it comes to the cuts of the beef used for steaks.
Being one of the most loved meats around the world, beef is a versatile ingredient for main dishes. Butchers also love beef due to its size and delicious meat. For them, it is easier to get a huge portion of meat cuts than other animals. One good example is when going for a flat iron steak cut.
Depending on the cut of the beef, you can perform the three techniques of cooking beef which are searing, roasting, and braising. Using a combination of those techniques would create a perfect meal. Now, let us check the two popular beef cuts for steak – flank steak and round steak.
Flank vs Round Steak
What is Flank Steak?
As the name suggests, flank steak is a cut of beef steak taken from the flank. This is the part of the cow lying forward of the rear quarter of a cow, behind the plate. It is commonly called bavette by French butchers, which means “bib”. Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil is usually called flank steak as fraldinha and vazio.
Flank steak is a unique, flat steak that has a distinctive grain and good flavor. The best way to cook flank steak is through searing. Flank steaks are also more chewy when compared with other steaks since it is a cut from the abdominal muscles of a cow.
The amazing and wonderful taste of flank steak is combined with an affordable price, making it a very popular steak cut. Getting a flank steak is achieved by using the loin primal cut technique. It results in an even thickness and flat, long form of the flank steak.
Flank steak can also be used on other beef recipes that require rolling, such as pinwheel or braciole. If you are dealing with a flank steak, make sure not to overcook it as it doesn’t have fat. Doing so may result in dry and tough meat.
Before searing flank steak, make sure to marinate it with soya sauce, garlic, and honey for some sweetness. This would make the flank steak give out its richest flavor. The best way to get a tender flank steak is to use a manual tenderizing mallet or by slow cooking.
Since flank steak is a versatile cut of the beef, it can also be used when making fajitas, London broil and other Asian cuisines. Slicing it against the grain would avoid getting that chewiness and letting it rest before serving would give you a nice texture.
Aside from giving a rich taste, marinating also provides a citrusy touch to the flavor. Flank steak definitely has a rich and beefy flavor. Flank steak has a long storage life as you can freeze it for up to a year or keep the cooked flank steak for up to 4 days.
If you haven’t tried a flank steak yet, then it might be the right time to give it a shot.
What Is Round Steak?
Round steak or top round steak comes from the leg muscles of the cow. It is achieved by using round primal cut technique that provides a very lean and versatile beef. Round steak can be used for a variety of steaks, cutlets, roasts, ground and stew meat.
Though it comes with the word round, round steak may also come in various shapes. Similar to a flank steak, top round steak is also a no-fat meat. The tough texture of the round steak can be dealt with easily by marinating it. Doing so on the round steak promotes tenderness.
Since top round steak is a massive cut of beef, it can be turned into a roast beef, steaks, or beef jerky. Top round steak can also be cooked by roasting, searing or braising. You could get the flavor of the top sirloin when you roast or braise the top round steak.
Getting a medium rare round steak is done by cooking it under low temperature. Round steak can be cut into thin slices and used as the protein ingredient on sandwiches. Using it on stews can also be a great idea.
To get the best quality of top round, make sure to look out for the red-colored exterior as that will indicate an oxygen exposure. Just like flank steak, this can also be stored for up to one year in a freezer and refrigerate the cooked round steak for up to 3 days.
Since this is like a flank steak that has no fat content, the top round is good for those on a low calorie diet. It is also a good protein source without the unwanted cholesterol.
What Are The Difference Between Flank Steak and Round Steak
The main difference between these two would be the origin of their cuts. As you may know, flank steak is a cut from the abdominal muscles of a cow. Whereas the round steak comes from the inside of the leg of a cow. Their taste also varies from each other and the way on how you cook them is also different.
Aside from those main differences, flank steak and round steak also share some similarities. They are both fat-free and versatile cuts of beef. They can be used on different dishes and are favorites among chefs and food lovers. Both of them are also called London broil steak.
Other Cuts of Beef
Now that you have an idea on what round and flank steak is, you might want to get some ideas on other popular beef cuts.
Skirt steak is from the front middle section of the cow. It is a popular cut used in fajitas or London broil. You can get two types of skirt steak, which are the inside skirt steak and outside skirt. It also has a great beefy flavor with awesome texture from the distinctive muscle grain.
Probably one of the most popular steak cuts, filet mignon is a cut of meat taken from the smaller end of the tenderloin, a psoas major of an animal carcass. It has a milder flavor than other cuts of meat and is usually served with sauce or wrapped with bacon.
Hanger steak is like a flank steak that comes from the rear middle section of the animal. It is also known as butcher’s steak or hanging tenderloin with the right marbling and great flavor. Hanger steak has a flavor that is comparable to the skirt steak.
The T-bone and porterhouse steak are beef cuts from the short loin with a T-shaped bone. It is also considered as one of the highest quality steaks. It has the same tenderness and flavor of the filet mignon.
There are still many cuts out there. A meat cut can differ in sizes and portions. You may find a thick cut, boneless cut, or tender cut. Techniques of cutting are also different. You can have the Chuck primal, Rib primal, Loin primal, Round primal and Organs & Other cuts.
You might be able to find flank steak substitute or a flank steak alternative. There are also beef cuts that can be used to substitute round steak.