Pictured: Basic Grilled Steak Recipe from CHOW
If you love red meat, steak might just be one of the most satisfying, and potentially one of the easiest, ingredients to make a quick meal. You can up the wow factor by getting creative with marinades and sauces (see below), but for fast and simple, nothing beats a basic marinade made with common kitchen pantry ingredients you should always have on hand. If you only have 30 minutes to marinate the meat, emulsify the marinade ingredients in a blender to break down and disperse the seasonings in the liquid.
Flank steak is the go-to cut of beef for easy, last-minute dinners and unannounced extras at the table–a steak with big, beefy flavor that takes minimal prep, cooks in minutes (10 on the grill+5 to rest=15 minutes), and can always stretch to feed a few more if you slice it just right. A 2-pound flank steak easily feeds 4 to 6, but if you choose a bigger steak, you'll have leftovers (win!).
This steak cooks hot and fast, ideally over a bed of hot, glowing charcoal. No grill? No problem. You can broil the steak on high, about 5 to 7 minutes per side.
Basic Flank Steak
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons brown sugar
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1 flank steak, about 2 pounds
1. Combine the Worcestershire sauce, oil, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a 1-gallon zip-top bag. Seal and shake to blend the ingredients. Place the flank steak inside the bag. Press out the air, seal the bag, and allow the meat to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to 12 hours, turning the bag occasionally to redistribute the marinade.
2. Build a two-zone fire on a charcoal grill, or pre-heat a gas grill by setting two burners on high (leave the third burner off).
3. When the grill is hot (if you can hold your hand an inch above the grate for more than one second, it's not hot enough), place the flank steak over the live coals or on the hot side of the gas grill. Cook about 3 minutes, until the steak has a nice char and releases easily from the grate, then flip and cook the other side for 3 minutes. Move the steak to the cool side of the grate and cook until the center of the steak registers 125*F (medium rare) to 135*F (medium) on an instant read thermometer.
4. Transfer the flank steak to a cutting board, loosely cover with foil, and allow the steak to rest for 5 minutes. To serve, cut the steak in thin slices across the grain.
Argentine Chimichurri Sauce
If you want a little something extra to serve alongside the steak, this classic tangy, herb-packed sauce is a knockout with flank (or any grilled beef, for that matter). You can use the basic marinade or opt for a simple dusting of salt and freshly ground pepper on the flank steak to let the bright chimichurri flavors shine. Get our Argentine Chimichurri Sauce here.
Montreal Steak Seasoning
Try this traditional steak blend on flank steak. Season each side of the steak with 1 tablespoon of the rub. Allow the steak to reach room temperature (about 20 minutes) before grilling. Get our Montreal Steak Seasoning recipe.
Blue Cheese and Chive Compound Butter
Skip the marinating step altogether with this flavorful compound butter. Season the steak with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 2 teaspoons of freshly ground pepper before grilling. Top the grilled steak with a thick slice of the butter while it's still hot. Get our Blue Cheese and Chive Compound Butter recipe.
Bourbon-Marinated Flank Steak
Because everything is better with a little booze, and this flank steak marinade is an excellent example. Get our Bourbon-Marinated Flank Steak recipe.
Bourbon Steak Sandwich
It's unlikely if you're feeding more than 2 or 3, but if you do have leftovers from that 2-pound Bourbon-Marinated Flank Steak, this is where to put it the day after dinner. Get our Bourbon Steak Sandwich recipe.
Flank Steak Arugula Salad
This healthy steak salad is a meal in itself, no sides required. You can make all of the components ahead of time and assemble it in less than 10 minutes. Get our Flank Steak Arugula Salad recipe.
Sliced and served with a side of pinto beans, set out as the meaty component of a taco bar, tossed over a bed of greens with a tequila-citrus salad dressing–this simple take on flank steak is versatile and built with easy-to-find, staple ingredients. Get our Carne Asada recipe.
Colleen Rush is a food and travel writer who eats, drinks, cooks, and writes mostly in New Orleans, but also ... everywhere else. She is the author of "The Mere Mortal's Guide to Fine Dining" (Broadway Books, 2006), and coauthor of "Low & Slow: Master the Art of Barbecue in 5 Easy Lessons" (Running Press, 2009) and the upcoming "Low & Slow 2: The Art of Barbecue, Smoke Roasting, and Basic Curing" (Running Press, 2015). Follow her on Twitter or Instagram.