This was the question I asked myself when Alex came back from Sams Club with this:
We had 10 lean steaks to cook and we weren’t quite sure what to do with it. After spending about 45 minutes researching online (Google + Twitter), I was much more informed about beef, beef cuts and possible ways to cook this meat. Ever wondered what part of the cow your beef comes from? Not anymore!
Thanks to Heather for sending that gem.
The first suggestion was to sear both sides of the steak and bake in the oven. The second was to adapt a London Broil technique. because we had so many steaks, we tried both methods this weekend.
These, by no means, are the *best* or official way to cook these steaks – just my experience with these steaks.
First, Sear ‘N Bake.
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Season the steaks. I took 3 similar sized steaks and seasoned both sides. The seasoning I used was a mix of: spicy steak seasoning, garlic powder, cumin, parsley, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper. Kind of a hodge podge because we didn’t have enough of any one seasoning to be the dominant flavor.
- Heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet - very important that you use a cast iron skillet for this! You want the skillet to be good and hot to get an instant sear on the steaks. I warmed up the olive oil until it was just about to start smoking.
- Add your steaks to sear for a few moments per side. I placed these steaks down, took a photo and flipped immediately, so about 30 seconds on each side.
Place skillet of steaks in oven. Once browned, I baked the steaks for 15 minutes. My meat thermometer showed that the temperature should read 145* to be medium rare but when I pulled these thin steaks out and it read only 120*, I cut into the steak to see how done it was: Well done.
Reduce drippings from steaks. We cooked off the excess liquid from the skillet to create a thicker topping for the steak.
It was decent. I’m not a fan of well done meats so next time, I would have baked it much, much less. Because it was so thin, lean and well done, it was a bit chewy but very flavorful. Not my favorite cut of steak but I wouldn’t turn it away it if showed up on my plate.
Second, London Broil (Adaptation)
I initially found this recipe first and wanted to try it – I know that wine is a meat tenderizer and this lean meat needed exactly that. Typically, a london broil is done with a huge hunk of meat and not thin steaks but we gave it a try anyway.
Since it had to marinade overnight, I made the marinade at the same time my oven was preheating for Sear N Bake. Here’s what went down:
Marinade ingredients (adapted from here)
12 ounces red wine **
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons ginger
3 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 teaspoon parsley
2 bay leaf
** more wine was added in step 2
- Mix all ingredients into a bowl. Pour yourself a glass of wine. I combined all ingredients in this purple mixing bowl and transferred to a tight sealing Tupperware container when I was finished.
- Add steaks to marinade. Let sit overnight. I put 2 steaks in the container, poured some marinade on, added 2 more steaks, more marinade, etc. When all steaks were added to the container, I came up short on covering all of the meat. I liberally combined wine and water until all steaks were submerged.
- Place steaks in baking pan, add veggies and extra marinade. We had 7 steaks to cook so we used 2 pans. I added the extra mushrooms that was in the fridge and cut some onion wedges to spread in the pan.
- Broil on low until desired done-ness. We opted to broil on low because the meat is so thin. We checked the steaks every 5+ minutes to ensure that we didn’t overcook. But guess what…. we overcooked.
- Plate and eat. Decent flavor but again, I would have cooked for a bit less time. (and yes, that’s bread. More on that later this week)
What I learned from this experiment – thin, lean steaks cook incredibly fast and are not my prefered cut of steak. Most of the recipes I’d found for ‘Peeled Beef Knuckle’ were for the huge hunk of steak (Thick Flank from the diagram above) and not these thinly sliced pieces.
Since making these last night, I’ve learned of a few other ways that might have resulted in a better steak (braising, roasting, stewing).
These weren’t the worst meals I’ve made but they certainly weren’t the best. Fortunately, we used all of the steaks last night so no more overcooked steak is in my immediate future.