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Should I cut flank steak before or after cooking for fajitas?

Fajitas are a popular and delicious Tex-Mex dish that typically incorporates grilled or sautéed strips of beef, chicken or vegetables. One of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to making fajitas is whether to cut the flank steak before or after cooking. This is a vital question that can make a big difference in the outcome of your dish.

Why It Matters

The way in which you cut your flank steak can have a significant impact on both the texture and flavor of the meat. Flank steak is known to be a tough cut of meat that requires some special handling to make it tender. One of the most important things to keep in mind when preparing flank steak for fajitas is to cut the steak against the grain. This means slicing the steak perpendicular to the lines that run through it.

If you cut the steak with the grain, the fibers will remain long and intact, making the meat chewy and tough. But, if you slice against the grain, you’ll create shorter fibers that will break down more easily during the cooking process, resulting in a tender, juicy piece of meat in your fajita.

Cutting Flank Steak Before Cooking

If you cut your flank steak before cooking, you’ll have more control over the size and thickness of the pieces, and you can marinate the steak more effectively. You can also cook the steak faster and more evenly, as smaller pieces will cook more quickly than a whole steak.

One way to prepare the steak before cooking is to marinate it in a mixture of lime juice, garlic, cumin, chili powder, and salt, which will help to tenderize the meat and infuse it with flavor. Once your steak is marinated, you can cut it into strips and either grill, sauté, or broil the pieces until they’re cooked through and slightly charred around the edges.

Cutting Flank Steak After Cooking

If you prefer to cut your flank steak after cooking, you’ll need to take care to slice it against the grain, as we mentioned earlier. This will help to break down the fibers and make the meat tender and easier to chew.

Once your steak is cooked, transfer it to a cutting board and slice it thinly against the grain. You can then add the slices to your fajita mixture, along with any other ingredients you have on hand, such as sautéed peppers and onions, grated cheese, and guacamole.


Ultimately, the decision of whether to cut your flank steak before or after cooking will depend on your personal preference and the time you have available. If you want to speed up the cooking process and have more control over the size of your steak pieces, cutting before cooking may be the way to go. However, if you prefer your steak cooked whole and then sliced, you’ll want to keep in mind the importance of slicing against the grain to maintain its tenderness. Either way, a perfectly cooked flank steak will make for delicious and inviting fajitas that will be sure to impress your family and friends.


Is it better to cut up steak before cooking?

When it comes to cooking steak, there are a lot of opinions on the best way to prepare it. One of the most debated topics is whether or not to cut the steak before cooking it. Some people swear by cutting their steak into smaller pieces before cooking, while others believe that leaving the steak whole produces a better outcome.

The reason why some people prefer cutting their steak before cooking is that the meat fibers run in strands that can be tough and stringy if cut so they stay long. Cutting across these fibers cuts them short, so they are easier to chew, and results in meat that can seem more tender. Additionally, when steak is cut into smaller pieces, it cooks faster and more evenly than a whole steak.

However, there are those who argue that cutting a steak before cooking it can lead to a loss of moisture, flavor, and tenderness. When the meat is cut, the juices are more likely to leach out, resulting in a dryer, less flavorful final product. Additionally, cutting steak before cooking can make it harder to achieve a good sear on the meat, which is key to locking in flavor and moisture.

The decision to cut a steak before cooking or leave it whole is a matter of personal preference. If you prefer your steak to be easier to chew and don’t mind sacrificing some of the juices, you may want to consider cutting the meat into smaller pieces. On the other hand, if you’re after a juicier steak with a good sear and more intense flavor, then leaving the steak whole may be the best option for you.

What is the best technique for flank steak?

Flank steak is a versatile and delicious cut of meat that can be cooked in a variety of ways, but there are a few techniques that work especially well. One of the most popular methods is grilling, which allows the steak to develop a crispy, caramelized crust while retaining its juicy interior. To grill flank steak, you’ll want to preheat your grill to high heat and then season your steak with salt, pepper, and any other seasonings you desire, such as garlic powder, onion powder, or chili powder.

When you’re ready to cook the steak, place it on the grill and cook it for about 4-5 minutes per side for medium-rare steak. Flank steak should be cooked quickly, so it’s important not to overcook it, as it can become tough and chewy. Once the steak is cooked to your desired level of doneness, remove it from the grill and let it rest for a few minutes before slicing.

Another option for cooking flank steak is to pan-sear it in a skillet over high heat. To do this, heat a tablespoon or two of oil in a heavy skillet over high heat. Season the steak with salt, pepper, and any other seasonings you like, and then add it to the skillet. Cook the steak for about 3-4 minutes per side for medium-rare, then remove it from the skillet and let it rest for a few minutes before slicing.

If you don’t have a grill or a skillet, you can also broil flank steak in your oven. To do this, set your oven to the broil setting and place the steak on a broiler pan or baking sheet. Season as desired, and then broil the steak for about 4-5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Again, it’s important not to overcook the steak, as it can become tough.

Finally, for those who prefer to use a specialty cooking method, you can also cook flank steak in an Instant Pot. To do this, season the steak with salt, pepper, and any other seasonings you like, and then place it in the Instant Pot with some beef broth or water. Cook for about 10-15 minutes on high pressure, depending on the thickness of the steak, then let the pressure release naturally before slicing.

The best technique for cooking flank steak will ultimately depend on your personal preferences and cooking equipment. However, grilling, pan-searing, broiling, and using an Instant Pot are all great options that can help you achieve a delicious and juicy flank steak. Just remember to cook it quickly and avoid overcooking to ensure that it retains its tenderness and flavor.