The Butcher’s Guide: What is a Flat Iron Steak?
- by Nicole McDonald
Have you heard of a flat iron steak? It is the second-most tender steak, next to the filet mignon with a big, bold beefy flavor like New York strip. This innovative steak cut is “new” in last few decades, but steak lovers LOVE it for its fantastic marbling and texture. So what exactly is a flat iron and what gives it unique flavors and tenderness?
The origin of a flat iron steak
The flat iron is a newer steak cut and is also known as the butler’s steak or oyster blade steak. For many years, this area of the animal was considered an unusable cut of meat due to connective tissue and sinew that ran through it. In a joint initiative between the University of Nebraska and the University of Florida, researchers devised an innovative way to trim the connective tissue from the meat resulting in a tender, delicious new steak cut – the flat iron.
Cutting a flat iron
The flat iron is carved from the chuck subprimal, and more specifically, the top muscle blade. The chuck gets exercise, resulting in connective tissue which means it is less tender than other cuts. However, the top blade itself doesn’t have much connective tissue. To cut the tender flat iron, our master butchers seam the top blade to get to the strip that runs through it. They then remove the sinew to get two long pieces of finely marbled roasts that are cut across the grain to create flat iron steaks.
There are only two top blade roasts in every animal – each weighs 1-1.5 pounds and yields four 4 oz. steaks or two 7 oz. steaks. It’s a very small part of the animal, but it is extremely tender and well marbled. The location on the animal gives the flat iron fantastic marbling for a bold beefy flavor, similar to a New York Strip, and the careful carving by our butchers results in a fork tender texture, like a filet mignon. It’s a truly unique and delicious steak experience.
How to cook a flat iron
A flat iron is a versatile steak that can be cooked by several methods. It’s great in steak recipes like stir-frys or steak fajitas. It can also be grilled, broiled or pan fried. The fine marbling will cook into the steak, creating a juicy, flavorful steak when cooked to a perfect medium-rare doneness. To prep the flat iron, season liberally with coarse sea salt and fresh black pepper. Cook to perfection indoors using the pan-seared method or sous vide and sear cooking method or outdoors on the grill.
When grilling a flat iron, check our grilling guide for beginners and follow this steak cooking chart or download the Omaha Steaks app with a built-in time to cook your steak to an ideal medium-rare doneness.
If you haven’t had a flat iron yet, we’re betting it will be your new favorite!
More Butcher’s Guides:
- What is a Ribeye?
- What is a Filet Mignon?
- What is a New York Strip?
- What is a Top Sirloin?
- What is a T-bone?
- What is a Tomahawk Steak?