Summer flank steak

There’s something about this recipe that just works on hot summer days. Granted there’s no law against making this on cool winter nights. Maybe it’s the limes, which remind me of margaritas, which are perfect for when the times are hot, but then I drink those in the winter too. So go ahead and make this whenever you damn well please. Have it for breakfast for all I care. All you need to know is that this flank steak recipe is quick, relatively cheap and most delicious.

Now most people think of flank steak as tough and chewy. But I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be so. It’s mostly in the cooking, part in the cutting and all within your control. Let me explain. The lime makes for a good strong marinade. That helps break down the tough proteins in the meat. That’s half the battle. The next most important thing is to cut the steak thin and on an angle against the grain. By cutting on the angle you are separating the tough strands. As for cutting thin, I do that because that’s the way I like it.


  • flank steak
  • 2 or 3 limes, juiced
  • olive oil
  • 1 to 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • salt
  • pepper


  • Plastic bag
  • Fork


  1. Juice your limes and mix with a healthy poor of olive oil. Add salt, pepper, cilantro, and garlic. Adjust to taste. This is meant to be a strong marinade.
  2. Tenderize your meat with a fork. Basically, just stab the hell out of it on both sides. I like to think of Norman Bates when I do this mostly so I can make that annoying screechy noise as I stab the lump of meat over and over again.
  3. Put your meat in the plastic bag, add you marinade, shake and let sit in your fridge for up to three hours. If you want to prep this in the morning before you go to work, then use only one lime. Too long in too strong of a marinade and the meat will start to cook.
  4. Crank your grill up to high and wait at least fifteen minutes until it is good and piping hot.
  5. Throw the meat on the grill, turn once when it is half way there, and remove when it’s about to hit medium rare. How do you know when it’s medium rare. You can insert a meat thermometer and take it off when it hits 135 F. Remember that the meat continues to cook when you take it off the grill and will rise another 5 degrees or so.
  6. Let the meat stand for five to ten minutes. Never ever cut your steak when it first comes off the grill. If you do, all the delicious juice will run out and you will be left with a dry tough chew.
  7. Finally cut the flank steak against the grain and on a sharp angle. Don’t ask me why, but it is absolutely critical.

What you should know

Frequently I will add a few tablespoons of cilantro or rosemary when I have some laying around. Feel free to improvise as a little bit of herb can make for a nice variation.

Re: Summer flank steak

I cooked this for some friends in Toronto. We sourced the flank from a fabulous butcher and bought 4 pounds of a meat so that there would be enough to eat cold the following day (there were only four of us and ½ pound each seemed ample for dinner).

Trouble is, it was so good that we sat at the table with both hunks of meat on a board and worked our way through them over the course of an hour or two.

Dinner parties are usually about a perfectly formed plate we call a main course that takes all day to prepare and two minutes to eat. I loved this dish as an alternative to the “usual” dinner party centrepiece. It is everything that GreatGrub is about to me: simple, social and delicious. Thanks Andrew.

Re: Summer flank steak

Re: Summer flank steak

Andrew, I’m making this tonight. What do you mean by “[cut] on a sharp angle”? If it is critical, I wouldn’t want to mess it up.

Re: Summer flank steak


You ask a good question. The critical part is cutting across the grain. Cutting on a angle primarily gives you larger or wider slices. You cut against the grain because it shortens the fibers which makes it easier to chew.

Imagine a bunch of spaghetti strands all in a row. If you were to cut with the grain you would have a long hard to chew piece. If you cut against the grain you will will have a short piece comprised of many ends. By angling your knife 45 degrees or so you will get longer pieces. Your flank steak is made up fibers just like those strands of spaghetti.

Re: Summer flank steak

Tried this one out, but ran a bit of an experiment

Loved the look of the ingredients, but I actually did two pieces.

One exactly as listed above, the other with the same, but added a small touch of seasame oil to the marinade.

Marinated them for the full 3 hours this time around, but I might go with less lime and a longer period of time next go round since I prefer a sharp flavour to cuts like this and 3 hours wasn’t quite enough for my tastes.

Both bits were more then worth waiting for, but the one with the seasame oil had a slightly more robust / fuller taste to it (I think that’s the right word). I’d happily make either again.

I would tweak things a touch here and there, but I’ll put that down to not having made it before, and it just adds to the fun :-)

Definitely a keeper!

Bonus: The left over bits (I can’t eat a whole flank steak myself after all ;-) ) work * really * well in a stir fry the next day. Adds a nice light zip to things.

Re: Summer flank steak

Seasame oil! What a brilliant addition. I bet it adds a woodsy flavor. I wish I had added it to the original recipe. I am going to be sure to try your variation next time I make this.

As for stir fry — I’ve never had leftovers when I’ve made this flank steak. But if I do, stir fry is a great suggestion that I will be sure to try. Please share your recipe. Stir fry is after all the ultimate dish of leftovers.

Re: Summer flank steak

Last time I had left-overs I used it in a sandwich with some rocket and a dash of thick balsamic vinegar. Worked a treat. Only enough for half a sandwich though. I too rarely have anything left after cooking this recipe. It is one of my favourites!

Re: Summer flank steak

Re: Summer flank steak

Those that like this recipe should also try the London Broil and also my variation.

Re: Summer flank steak

I ate this over the weekend and it was over-the-top great. A little lime really goes a long way —the meat was fresh, tender and juicy.