marinated and grilled flap steak with hasselback potato

What is Flap Steak? Get All the Answers About this Underrated Beef Cut

Nov 27, 2023 |  , ,

Read on to get all your questions answered about this under-the-radar cut that’s beloved by foodies and chefs alike. We’ll also share mouthwatering recipes that’ll make your table the talk of the neighborhood.

What is flap steak?

Flap steak comes from the sirloin primal, is packed full of flavor, and perfect for that delicious fajita dish or marinating. But, with about a dozen interchangeable titles, flap steak’s notoriety may be overshadowed by sheer naming overload. It can be hard to remember what it all means when you’re shopping for beef, so we’ve assembled a flap steak thesaurus for your reference.

Flap steak is also known as:

  • Bavette
  • Flap meat
  • Bottom sirloin bavette
  • Bottom sirloin butt
  • Bottom sirloin flap
  • Sirloin flap
  • Sirloin Bavette

Now, once you fall in love with the flap steak, you’ll already be a naming expert and know how to find it at your favorite retailer.

Is flap steak the same as skirt steak?

Great question. Though the skirt and flap do share some characteristics, it’s important to note that they come from different parts of the animal. The skirt steak (both the inside skirt and outside skirt) come from the plate, or the underside of the animal’s chest. The flap steak hails from the sirloin, or the mid-back of the animal. Another difference: flap is more tender than the skirt steak, while the skirt steak offers a slightly more robust, beefier flavor.

diagram showing different beef cuts on the animal, including plate and sirloinBoth benefit from marinating, which we’ll get into shortly.

What is flap steak good for?

Here’s a secret: flap meat historically was a cut that butchers kept out of the meat case because they were saving it for themselves. Fortunately, the secret is slowly getting out, so it’s becoming easier to find this cut in stores. Ask your butcher for an Aspen Ridge Natural Angus Beef bavette the next time you’re shopping.

Like other hearty cuts including the flank and skirt steaks, flap steak is ideal for fajitas, sandwiches, and alongside equally flavorful side dishes like garlic mashed potatoes or tahini and lime-dressed veggies.

How do I cook flap steak?

As we mentioned above, flap steak really shines when it’s marinated. The marinade’s ingredients will tenderize and add flavor to the meat. Once it’s flavored up, flap steak often ends up on the grill, where the high heat adds a pleasant, smoky char while keeping the meat moist.

Flap steak also works well when broiled or as part of a beef stir-fry.

How to Grill Flap Steak

  1. Preheat the grill to high.
  2. Take steak out of marinade or packaging and pat dry with a paper towel.
  3. Sprinkle with salt.
  4. Grill 2-3 minutes per side for medium-rare. Use a meat thermometer to ensure your steak is at the temperature you desire.
  5. Let stand for 5 minutes before thinly slicing against the grain.

infographic showing beef doneness temperature ranges, from rare to well done

Get more steak grilling tips.

Can flap steak be smoked?

Sure can. Like flank steak, flap steak works well on the smoker. It cooks low and slow, infusing smokiness while retaining its natural juiciness and tenderness.

Flap Steak Recipes to Wow a Crowd

Flap Steak Tacos with Chipotle Cream

Flap Steak Tacos with Chipotle Cream

A cilantro, lime, and garlic marinade infuses flap steak with bright, fresh flavor before the beef hits the grill and is finished with smooth and spicy chipotle sour cream. This is a steak taco recipe you can bring back for every party—your guests will learn to ask for this dish by name.

Learn more about this flap steak recipe.

Lemongrass Beef Satay Skewers

lemongrass beef flap steak skewer appetizer recipe

Lemongrass purée, garlic, soy, fish sauce, and brown sugar create an umami marinade for sliced and skewered flap steak (bavette) in this beef appetizer recipe. Serve alongside spicy pickled cucumber and craveable peanut sauce—we dare you to have just one.

Mustard-Grilled Steak Panini with Giardiniera

Mustard-Grilled Steak Panini with Giardiniera

Substitute flat iron steak for flap steak in this 25-minute recipe for Dijon-smothered, grilled steak paninis. This satisfying sandwich is a must-have for game-day spreads.

Teriyaki Bourbon Flap Steak Tips

Teriyaki Bourbon Flap Steak Tips

Flap steak is marinated alongside mushrooms and onions in teriyaki sauce, bourbon, onions, and lemon juice before being grilled and topped with parsley in this easy recipe. Add rice and you’ve got the perfect weeknight masterpiece. Recipe via Over the Fire Cooking.

Flavorful Marinades for Flap Steak

As evidenced by our favorite recipes, flap steak’s natural beefy flavors are enhanced, and tenderness is maxed when the cut is marinated. Here are three failsafe marinade recipes you can rely on when you have a beautiful bavette on the menu but aren’t sure how to dress it up.

1| The Classic: This crowd pleaser will be beloved by kids and adults. Steak seasoned this way is a tasty accompaniment for salads and pasta.

  • Olive oil
  • Soy sauce
  • Lemon juice
  • Minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper

2| The Korean BBQ: Sweet, fragrant, savory … this worldly steak marinade has it all. Serve Korean BBQ marinated flap steak with zoodles for a healthy twist.

  • Soy sauce
  • Asian pear juice
  • Toasted sesame oil
  • Garlic
  • Grated ginger
  • Brown sugar
  • Sesame seeds

3| The Balsamic: Balsamic vinegar, with all its fruit, smoke, and tanginess, is a balanced complement to hearty flap steak. Serve this steak with roasted veggies.

  • Coconut aminos
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Italian seasoning
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper

Want to invent your own marinade? We love that for you. The building blocks of an effective protein marinade are:

  • An acid (think vinegar or lemon juice)
  • An oil (i.e., olive oil)
  • Flavor-focused ingredients (such as herbs, spices, and garlic)

Flap Steak Nutrition Comparison: Flap Steak vs. Ribeye

You may be wondering how flap steak measures up to other beef cuts in terms of nutrition. Because it comes from the sirloin primal, flap steak is leaner and thus has fewer calories and fat than other cuts, such as the better-known ribeye. Flap steak also has higher protein content compared to other steaks.

Flap meat, 100 grams

  • 196 calories
  • 6 grams protein
  • 5 grams fat

Ribeye steak, 100 grams

  • 254 calories
  • 7 grams protein
  • 20 grams fat

You’ve been briefed on all the amazing things flap steak offers the home chef—versatility and ease of preparation, nutritional benefits, and of course, robust, beefy flavor and tenderness. We invite you to give this beloved and lesser known cut a try. Look for it at your favorite local retailer or, better yet, ask your butcher for Aspen Ridge, and explore the unlimited culinary possibilities.

Have more searing steak questions? Check out our guide to the difference between two icons: New York strip and ribeye.

If you want more inspiration, explore our growing collection of mouthwatering beef recipes, all starring Aspen Ridge Natural Angus Beef.