What is a Flat Iron Steak?
Flat Iron Steak is a well marbled and extremely tender steak from the shoulder of the cow. It is flat, somewhat thin and rectangular, hence the name. Additionally, there is a thin line of sinew and fat that runs between the two muscles that comprise the flat iron. One of the muscles is the teres minor. If that sounds familiar, it’s because it sits right above the teres major steak which we are also very fond of. The reason for our fondness is the flat iron steak (and the teres major) are both steaks are argued to be the second most tender steaks on the cow. The most tender steak is the filet mignon, but the lack of fat content means less flavor which also means the flat iron and teres major are better steaks than a filet for a fraction of the cost.
Just Keep Flipping Flat Iron Steak Ingredients:
- 1 flat iron steak (between 2-3 pounds)
- Salt, pepper, garlic (SPG Seasoning)
- Grape seed oil
What is the Just Keep Flipping technique?
There are a couple schools of thought with grilling steak. There is the sear first and bake/smoke second school. Then, there’s the reverse sear where the steak is smoked/baked first and then seared. Just Keep Flipping is a third option. It involves slapping the seasoned steak down on a hot fire. After it browns for a couple minutes, flip it over and repeat on the other side. Just keep flipping until it gets to the desired doneness. The first two methods result in those perfect diamond or square shaped grill marks, while this method has more coast to coast browning and thus has more flavor. Just Keep Flipping doesn’t have the smoke flavor of a reverse sear, although it has more caramelized proteins than the other two.
Begin with the star of this show, the flat iron steak. Here is our steak and me pointing to that line of sinew and fat that runs down the middle and corner to corner:
Don’t sweat that line of sinew. It will break down even during such a short cook process.
And here’s why they call it a FLAT iron:
Also, don’t sweat how flat and thin it is. As it cooks it will thicken. The whole steak will get shorter and thicker.
Next, on to the flat iron steak recipe. Season it with the SPG seasoning:
You can make your own salt, pepper and garlic seasoning using whatever ratio you prefer. Although, we used a store bought SPG seasoning blend:
Flip over and repeat on the other side:
In that pic above, there’s a small patch of what looks like silver skin. This isn’t a beef tenderloin. That’s not silver skin like on the tenderloin. That little bit practically dissolved during the cooking process. So no need to grab the filet knife and remove that section.
Also, hit the steak on top with a spritz of grape seed oil, or use a grill brush to apply a thin layer.
How to Cook Flat Iron Steak on the Grill
Prepare the grill, in this case the American Made Primo ceramic grill, for direct grilling: The temp at the grill grates needs to be north of 400F. Higher than 500F would be even better. 600F wouldn’t be terrible but there will be a lot of flipping at that temp.
Slap that steak down, oiled side down, on the hot grill grates:
Then, hit the flat iron with a spritz of grape seed oil. The little extra layer of fat will help with browning:
There is nothing to this flat iron steak recipe. Also, don’t stress getting the perfect grill marks. Just wait for a little browning and flip the steak over, rinse and repeat (check that drip!):
Just keep flipping:
After four or five flips, I like to hit it with another dusting of SPG seasoning. Not a lot. A dusting at best:
Notice how much thicker that steak is in the pic above than the raw steak. Feel free to scroll back up. I can wait.
After a couple minutes, flip again and season the other side:
Then, after a few more minutes, flip the steak again:
I highly recommend a probe thermometer for this flat iron steak recipe (or just about any recipe). We use a Thermapen and highly recommend it (we’ve been using one for more than a decade). Keep probing the steak until it gets to your desired doneness or use the thumb test which works better than nothing but is hard to gauge on a super tender steak like the flat iron.
- Rare Steak Temp: 120F-125F
- Medium Rare Steak Temp: 130F-135F
- Medium Steak Temp: 140F-145F
- Med. Well Steak Temp: 150F-155F
- Well Done Steak Temp: 160F or more, but seriously, just order the chicken
When the steak gets to your desired doneness, remove it from the grill. We actually went a little long with this one. Normally we pull steaks between 115F-120F but we took this one up to 145F for a nice medium just because we know there are people out there that love a medium steak. Who am I to judge their personal preference?
Our steak is done and dripping:
How Long Does it Take to Cook a Flat Iron Steak
Using the just keep flipping method the flat iron takes about 15 minutes to cook. Keep in mind that the 15 minutes is just a guideline. We strongly believe in cooking to temp and not time. A smaller steak is going to take less time. A cooler fire will take more time, etc.
Finally, let the steak rest for a few minutes then slice across the grain:
Indeed, this may be the juiciest steak I’ve ever cooked:
Just Keep Flipping Flat Iron Steak Summary
The traditional diamond grill marks are prettier than this steak, but those little lines of brown are not as tasty as edge to edge browning because that browning happens to be caramelized proteins and are the key to epic flavor. Although there wasn’t a lot of smoke flavor, this isn’t the thickest steak so I’m not sure how much smoke could be infused if smoked then seared. Thus, I’m all for the just keep flipping method for steaks.
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below or send me an email.
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Just Keep Flipping Flat Iron Steak
- 1 Flat iron steak Between 2-3 pounds
- SPG Seasoning
- Grape seed oil
- Prepare the grill for direct grilling with temp at the grill grate around 500F
- Dust the steak with SPG seasoning and apply a thin layer of the grape seed oil on the top of the steak
- Set the steak oiled side down on the hot grill grates
- Spritz the new top of the steak with the grape seed oil (or brush it on lightly with a grill brush)
- After a couple minutes of browning flip the steak over
- After a couple more minutes of browning, flip the steak back over
- Keep flipping every couple of minutes
- After 4 or 5 flips, dust with more seasoning
- Keep flipping until it reaches the desired doneness
- Remove from the grill and allow to rest for a few minutes
- Slice across the grain and serve
More pics for Just Keep Flipping technique: