Where Does Flat Iron Steak Come From?

where does flat iron steak come from

If you are looking for a thin cut of steak that is perfect for grilling, which will also end up well-marbled and soft, consider none other than the flat iron steak.

You might not be familiar with this type of steak but let me tell you, it is one of the most delicious and tender steaks you will ever come across!

Flat iron steak is gaining popularity in the United States and is now more widely available in grocery stores and on restaurant menus as a more affordable substitute to expensive steak cuts like New York strips.

It is almost as tender as tenderloin but you can buy it at a much cheaper cost as compared to that of tenderloin.

This type of steak is also sometimes referred to as top blade steak or top blade fillet. In the UK, a very popular steak is the butler’s steak, which is known as shoulder top blade steak in USA.

If you go to Australia and New Zealand, you will find the same steak by the name of oyster blade steak.

Where does flat iron steak come from? Let’s find out…

What Is Flat Iron Steak?

The flat iron steak, which is assumed to be named after its shape, is identical to a traditionally used metal flat iron.

It is a thin cut that comes from the hard-working chuck or shoulder of the cow.

Since it comes from the area which is heavily used by the cow in daily activities, therefore it contains a lot of intramuscular fat or marbling which also has a grain with it.

The fact that it is not cross grain makes it a little bit tougher, but in taste, it is no less than any other steaks that usually come without grain.

Flat iron steaks are known to have a momentous amount of marbling and include infraspinatus muscle of beef that can often be seen displayed with the name of top blade roast in the butcher shops and meat markets.

The cuts of steaks that are taken from this muscle are known as top blade steaks or patio steaks.

Flat iron steak is famous for being one of the least expensive cut of steak from relatively expensive cattle such as Kobe beef and can be great for making sandwiches.

This steak is just perfect for making a wide variety of beef dishes and requires little to no seasoning as it is full of rich flavors.

Additionally, no marinade is required either if you want to cook this steak to medium well or well.

What Is The History Of Flat Iron Steak?

In the United States of America, Flat iron steak gained formal recognition in 2002.

Originally it was found as a part of a program known as the Beef Checkoff Program in which researchers from the University of Nebraska and the University of Florida took part.

This program began in 1985 after the passing of the Beef Promotion and Research Act, an Act that was aimed to reduce the amount of waste of beef per head of farm animals.

The team of two researchers Chris Calkins from the University of Nebraska and Dwain Johnson from the University of Florida partnered with the National Cattleman’s Beef Association to carry out further research in Beef Promotion and Research Act.

The duo researched thousands of potential cuts out of which they found only 36 cuts worth their time and effort.

The flat iron steak was among those 36 cuts which was a gem that had the ability to produce quickly with the highest standard of quality.

How To Store Flat Iron Steak

As we all know, raw meat does not have a long shelf life which is why it is always recommended to cook flat iron steak immediately.

However, if you have bought plenty at one time and you want to store it then you can refrigerate it safely for three to five days.

Please bear in mind that whenever you intend to refrigerate the steak, it should be properly wrapped and there should be no air inside the packaging.

If you want to store it for a much longer period then you must keep it in a freezer rather than a refrigerator.

Also, it is better to remove the store packaging and rewrap the steak in a freezer bag or alternatively in a butcher bag before you can freeze it in the freezer.

Steaks that are frozen in the freezer can stay fresh for six months up to a year.

What Is The Nutritional Value Of Flat Iron Steak?

Just like any other steak, flat iron steak is also rich in proteins and fat.

There are around 180 calories, 3.8 grams of saturated fat, and 23 grams of protein in a serving of flat iron steak that weighs around 3 ounces.

Additionally, it is rich in zinc and iron and almost half of the daily recommended dose of zinc while almost 15% of the daily requirement of iron can easily be fulfilled with a 3-ounce flat iron steak.

Where To Buy Flat Iron Steak

You may experience your butcher staring at you with blank eyes if you ask him to give you a flat iron steak.

It has happened to me too and at first, I didn’t know how to make them understand.

But you simply do not have to worry about it, if your butcher is not familiar with this name; you can simply ask him to give you top blade steak.

However, it is not necessary that you will always be able to find it in the butcher shop; in which case you can always check online meat delivery services or for that matter is frozen meat suppliers.

How To Choose The Perfect Flat Iron Steak

There a number of factors to consider when buying flat iron steak but the following two factors are most important:

Grass-Fed Flat Iron Steak

If you are looking for the highest quality flat iron steak at an affordable rate then you should go for flat iron steak that is taken from cows that are grass-fed.

It has been found that cows that are grass-fed are relatively healthier and the flat iron steak coming from them has a higher amount of antioxidants, vitamin A and omega 3 fatty acids.

Apart from being healthy, the difference in taste is also huge.

People often wonder if it is easy to spot steak that comes from grass-fed cows. Yes, it is easy and I will tell you how you can distinguish between a flat iron steak that comes from grass-fed cows or any other flat iron steak.

The first thing is to look for the red color of meat with an orange color marbling. Please make sure the marbling is not pale white.

Ageing Flat Iron Steak

There is a long debate on how the flat iron steak should be aged; whether dry or wet-aged.

The time of aging is also important and affects the quality of the steak. Almost all of the Michelin star chefs have a consensus that you should strike a balance between dry and wet aging and steak should be aged around 21 days in order to achieve the best taste and quality.

Is Flat Iron Steak Similar To Flank Steak?

Since flat iron steak is not commonly used in the United States, therefore many people confuse these two different cuts of steak.

The major difference is the part of the cow where they are taken from.

So where does flat iron steak come from?

As of now, you all know that flat iron steak is taken from the chuck primal or shoulder area of the cow while on the other hand flank steak comes from the belly muscle of the cattle which is called flank primal.

Although both steaks taste delicious and tender, the flank is a bit leaner as compared to flat iron steak.

The fact that flat iron steak is denser and thick makes it best for medium-rare cooking, while on the contrary you can braise the flank steak, and this is considered bests for steak fajitas.

Is It Tough To Cook Flat Iron Steak?

The short answer to this question is not at all.

But the real question is, why is it not tough to cook flat iron steak when it comes from the tough muscles which are usually excessively used by the cow?

This is because removing the connective tissue attached to the muscle leaves you with two distinct cuts of steak:

One is called top blade steak, which is hard and the other one is flat iron steak, which is much tender and usually full of marbling.

The term marbling is used to refer to the thin white strips of fat that run through the steak.

I would conclude by suggesting you try this extraordinarily flavorful steak at least once and I am certain that you will not stop there.

If you are a steak lover and you have not tried flat iron steak then you are definitely missing out on something big.

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