ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to BBQ Perfect Flank Steak

Updated on July 3, 2013
Paul Edmondson profile image

Paul is a barbecue enthusiast. He is currently grilling and smoking on a Komodo Kamado Ultimate 23.

BBQ flank steak with asparagus and salad

Bbq flank steak
Bbq flank steak

Flank Steak is a Lean Cut of Meat

Flank steak is a long, thin, and lean cut of beef. It presents challenges to grillers everywhere for three reasons. First, it lacks marbling (less fat) which provides taste. Second, it's a chewier cut of beef which many people find tough. Third, it's thin nature casuses it to cook quickly so that most people severely overcook it. I've seen this happen a dozen times. The cook seasons and slaps it on the grill. They overcook it and when it's served it's tough as nails, dried out and has no taste.

So, to make a perfectly grilled steak, it must be:

  • Tenderized by either the butcher or scoring
  • Cooked to perfection (ideally medium rare)

If you're new to bbqing steaks, cuts of meat that are lean like flank, and brisket are much more challenging than cuts with a high degree of marbling like rib eyes and filet mignon.

Scored flank steak
Scored flank steak

Simple BBQ Flank Steak Recipe

  • Brush with olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Let the flank steak sit out of the refrigerator in a food safe dish for two hours prior to grilling.

Grill following the bbq instructions in this Hub.

Tenderize before Marinating

There are two ways to prepare a flank steak for marinading. The first is when you purchase the steak at the grocery store is to ask the butcher to run the flank steak through the tenderizer. This will shape the meat a bit by putting in dozens of small cuts. The small cuts help the meat absorb the marinade. Also, the butcher's machine helps to shape the flank steak into a more consistent thickness which helps it cook more evenly when on the grill.

The second way to prepare the flank steak for grilling is to score the meat. Using a sharp knife, make cuts up to 1/4 of an inch thick across the meat. Then make the same cuts from the opposite direction creating little squares like the picture demonstrates above. Do this to both sides of the meat.

Besides helping the meat absorb marinade, and helping it cook more evenly, scoring flank steak will also help prevent it from curling up at the edges while it's on the grill. So, even if you decided to forego a marinade, having the butcher tenderize it or scoring it yourself is a good idea.

Flank steak marinade
Flank steak marinade

Flank Steak Marinade Recipe

This recipe was modified from "How to Grill" by Steven Raichlen for a flank steak salad.

Flank Steak Marinade Ingredients

  • 4 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger (peeled)
  • 3 green onions chopped
  • 4 serrano chilis (habanero chilis for extra spicy) with seeds removed
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • salt and pepper

Salt and pepper the flank steak to taste. Place the meat in a food safe dish. Add the rest of the ingredients (optionally leave the green onions out until the other ingredients have been pureed) to a high powered blender or food processor. Puree the ingredients. Pour the marinade over the flank steak. Let it sit covered in the refrigerator for two to four hours. Remove from the refrigerator and place on the counter for two hours before grilling.

Flank steak on grill
Flank steak on grill

Sear Flank Steak over Direct Heat

The best way to bbq a flank steak is over high direct heat. Once the meat is properly seasoned, spray the grill with oil. Make sure the grill temperature is approaching 500 degrees. Place the flank steak on the grill and close the lid.

  • Grill over direct heat at 500 degrees
  • Close the lid while the flank steak is on the barbeque
  • BBQ for 4 to 5 minutes a side for medium to medium rare flank steak
  • Only open the lid to flip the steak once

Flank steak barbeques extremely quickly over high heat.

A few of the keys to keeping the steak juicy and tender is:

  • To handle the steak as little as possible. In someways, grilling a flank steak is like barbecuing a hamburger. They should only be flipped once on the grill and handled as little as possible
  • Never cut open on the grill to check for doneness. With flank steak, you can't afford to release the juices until it's served.

Guide to Flank Steak Grilling Times for Perfect Internal Temperature (Grill at 500 Degrees)

3 minutes a side
Rare Flank Steak
Pink all the way through (120 degrees)
4 to 4.5 minutes a side
Medium Rare Flank Steak
Pink center (125 degrees to 133 degrees)
5 to 6 minutes a side
Medium Flank Steak
Tinge of pink (134 to 140 degrees)
7+ minutes a side
Well Done Flank Steak
145 degrees
Steak is at room temperature before grilling and the steak rests 10 minutes before slicing and serving. The notes on the temperatures is the internal temp after the 10 minute rest period
Flank steak medium rare
Flank steak medium rare

Let the Flank Steak Rest

We pulled our flank steak from the grill after nearly five minutes a side so we would have some of the thinner parts more medium, while the thicker bits were medium rare. The thick portion was reading at 125 degrees on the grill.

  • Flank steak should rest 10 minutes before slicing and serving

Once the flank steak rests, the meat continues to cook and the temperature will rise. So, don't be afraid if the meat looks a little undercooked on the grill. After ten minutes of resting, the meat will be ready to slice and eat.

Slicing flank steak
Slicing flank steak

Slicing Flank Steak

Flank steak is served in thin strips. Using a sharp knife, slice the steak across the grain. This is similar to how a beef brisket is sliced.

  • Use a cutting board
  • Slice with a sharp knife
  • Slice 1/4 of an inch thick slices

* Tip: If you're slicing up several flank steaks, use an electric knife to help cut the meat more quickly.

Typically, a rare to medium cooked flank steak will have plenty of juice run out while it's sliced. It's recommended to use a cutting board with a gutter for catching the juices.

As soon as the meat is sliced, serve it!


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • kentuckywriter267 profile image

      Floyd Cryer 

      7 years ago from Hodgenville, KY

      Awesome info and tips. Thanks. Will give it a try the next time I Grill. I love Grillin', but I haven't done any flanks lately and the last time I did, if I remember right I left it on the grill juuuuuussssst a tad bit too long.

    • Paul Edmondson profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Edmondson 

      7 years ago from Burlingame, CA

      The marinade is pretty good, but I sometimes prefer the simple salt or garlic salt and pepper. One thing you can do is put this on a salad and save a bit of the marinade to use as dressing. That works really well.

    • IslandBites profile image


      7 years ago from Puerto Rico

      The marinade sounds yummy.

    • Paul Edmondson profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Edmondson 

      7 years ago from Burlingame, CA

      I saw the 48 blade tenderized for $21.60 at Amazon. Thinking of getting one... pretty good reviews on it.

      My grill will get well over 1000 degrees when loaded up, but it's not really necessary to get the grill that hot.

    • grillrepair profile image


      7 years ago from florida

      i ate at a smith&wollensky and the tenderloin was amazing. I am pretty smug when dining at high-end steakhouses because my house has better grilled steak than any of them -- but s&w blew me away.

      I did a little research and the tenderizer was suggested so i got one (i think it was $45) and the difference was incredible.

      I have an infrared grill and sear with heat above 1000 degrees so usually steaks are amazing and juicy. the tenderizer with all the razors took it to a whole other level!

    • lalage profile image


      7 years ago from lahore

      I have heard of this product first time, Can you show me its pictures?

    • Paul Edmondson profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Edmondson 

      7 years ago from Burlingame, CA

      I'm going to check the jaccard out.

    • grillrepair profile image


      7 years ago from florida

      I recently discovered a tenderizer called "jaccard" and it is the best accessory I have ever bought other than my infrared grill (500 is considered "high heat"?!). When you press the tenderizer to the meat 50 tiny razors slide in and out. The slices are too small to lose moisture (as with scoring) but texturize the outer layer for amazing absorption.

      I grill, barbecue, broil and smoke a lot of meat and this tenderizer improved the flavor of everything i grill. I do not sell these, this is not an ad. I just started using it and it is an absolute necessity with cuts like sirloin and flank steak.

    • johnr54 profile image

      Joanie Ruppel 

      7 years ago from Texas

      We love flank steak! Thanks for the recipe! Voted useful.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      That looks great, Paul!

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Sounds and looks delicious. Will be trying your recipe as soon as I get my grill cleaned and ready for this upcoming BBQ season.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      7 years ago from south Florida

      You made my mouth water with this one, Paul. Now I've gotta get me some flank steak to grill.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)