What is Flap Meat vs Flank Steak? Flap meat and flank steak come from adjacent areas of the cow, resulting in some confusion about whether they are the same cut of beef. While they share some similarities, flap meat, and flank steak have distinct differences regarding their specific location on the animal, fiber grain, optimal cooking methods, and uses.
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Where Flap Meat Comes From
Flap meat comes from a specific portion of the bottom sirloin location closer to the animal’s rear near the flank. Sometimes sold under names like sirloin tips or faux hanger steak when cut into strips, flap meat develops strong beefy flavor from its small-grained muscle fibers that get exercised.
Where Flank Steak Comes From
The flank steak cut runs vertically along the cow’s mid-abdominal muscle group underneath the loin and sirloin neighboring the rear flank area. Its elongated shape gives flank steak characteristic longitudinal grain lines when sliced. Being a constantly active working set of muscles, flank develops deep beefy flavor.
Differences in Muscle Fibers
Flap meat possesses relatively small-grained muscle fibers that stay tender when cooked to medium doneness. Flank steak has a coarse grain with distinct fiber directionality that toughens past medium-rare. This grain difference makes flap meat more versatile for cooking applications.
Cooking Methods and Uses
Thanks to its fine grain texture, flap meat adapts well to slower cooking methods like braising in stews or pot roasts. Flank steak requires quick searing, grilling, or pan-frying sliced across the grain to prevent chewiness. Thinly sliced flap meat makes ideal fajitas or stir fry. Flank works best for London broil or rolled stuffed dishes.
The bottom line
Flap meat and flank steak both offer rich beef flavor. Flap meat tends to deliver better tenderness when cooked thoroughly. Flank steak needs quick hot cooking and slicing against the prominent grain to maintain tenderness. Now you know the key differences between these two flavorful cuts!