Mastering What is Flap Meat: Cooking Tips & Delicious Recipe

Written by: Samir P.



Time to read 5 min


Flap meat, often called flap steak, is a term that might not be immediately recognizable to the average consumer but is well-known among culinary enthusiasts and professional chefs. This cut of beef is celebrated for its robust flavor, versatility in cooking, and affordability. In this blog, we will discuss what is flap meat, its characteristics, how it compares to similar cuts, and the best ways to prepare and enjoy it.

Understanding What is Flap Meat?

Origin and Location in the Cow:

Flap meat comes from the bottom sirloin butt, located in the hindquarter of the cow. Specifically, it is part of the short loin and flank sections, nestled between the flank and the sirloin. This area is known for its hardworking muscles, which results in a cut that is both flavorful and somewhat fibrous.


Flap meat is known for its coarse texture and rich marbling, contributing to its pronounced beefy flavor. The muscle fibers are long and somewhat loosely packed, making it a relatively tender cut when cooked properly. This marbling and texture mean it can absorb marinades well and benefit from various cooking methods.

Flap Meat vs. Other Cuts

Flap Meat vs. Flank Steak: 

Flank Steak need clarification due to its proximity to the cow and similar applications in cooking. However, they have distinct differences:

  1. Texture: Flap meat is more marbled and tender than flank steak, which can be chewier.
  2. Flavor: Both cuts are flavorful, but flap meat's additional marbling gives it a richer taste.
  3. Cooking Methods: While both cuts can be grilled or pan-seared, flap meat is more forgiving and versatile due to its higher fat content.

Flap Meat vs. Skirt Steak:

Skirt steak is another popular cut that is often compared to flap meat:

  1. Texture: Skirt steak has a more pronounced grain and is leaner than flap meat, which is more marbled and tender.
  2. Flavor: Both cuts are robust in flavor, but skirt steak has a slightly more intense beefy taste.
  3. Cooking Methods: Skirt steak is best cooked quickly over high heat, similar to flap meat, but it can be more challenging if overcooked.

Flap Meat vs. Hanger Steak:

Hanger steak is another flavorful cut that comes from the lower belly of the cow:

  1. Texture: Hanger steak is more tender than flap meat, often called the "butcher's steak" for its tenderness.
  2. Flavor: Both cuts are richly flavored, but hanger steak has a more intense, almost liver-like flavor.
  3. Cooking Methods: Both cuts benefit from quick cooking over high heat, but hanger steak requires more careful handling to avoid toughness.
Understanding What is Flap Meat

Cooking with Flap Meat


Given its texture and marbling, flap meat is an excellent candidate for marination. A good marinade not only adds flavor but also helps tenderize the meat. Popular marinade ingredients include:

  1. Acidic Components:

    These include lime juice, lemon juice and vinegar, which help break down muscle fibers.

  2. Oil:

    Olive or another neutral oil helps moisten the meat during cooking.


Garlic, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, herbs, and spices add depth to the flavor profile.


Grilling is one of the most popular methods for cooking flap meat. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Preparation: Preheat the grill to high heat. Ensure the flap meat is at room temperature and pat it dry.
  2. Marination: If marinated, shake off excess marinade to prevent flare-ups.
  3. Cooking: Place the meat on the grill and cook for 4-5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Adjust cooking time based on thickness and desired doneness.
  4. Resting: Allow the meat to rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing to retain juices.
  5. Slicing: Cut against the grain to ensure tenderness.


Pan-searing is another excellent way to cook flap meat, especially if you don’t have access to a grill:

  1. Preparation: Heat a cast-iron skillet or heavy-bottomed pan over high heat.
  2. Seasoning: Season the meat with salt, pepper, and other desired spices.
  3. Cooking: Add a small amount of oil to the pan, then sear the beef for 4-5 minutes on each side.
  4. Resting: Let the meat rest before slicing.
  5. Slicing: As with grilling, slice against the grain.


For an indoor alternative that mimics the grill, broiling is a good choice:

  1. Preparation: Preheat the broiler and position the rack about 4 inches from the heat source.
  2. Seasoning: Season the meat and place it on a broiler pan.
  3. Cooking: Broil for about 4-5 minutes per side.
  4. Resting: Allow the meat to rest before slicing.
  5. Slicing: Cut against the grain for optimal tenderness.


Flap meat can also be used in stir-fries:

  1. Preparation: Slice the meat thinly against the grain before cooking.
  2. Marination: A quick marinade can enhance flavor.
  3. Cooking: Heat oil in a wok or skillet over high heat, add the meat, and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes until just cooked through.
  4. Serving: Pair with vegetables, rice, or noodles.
Cooking with Flap Meat

Culinary Applications

  1. Tacos:

    Flap meat is perfect for tacos. The marinated, grilled, and sliced beef fits perfectly into a warm tortilla, topped with fresh salsa, guacamole, and cilantro.

  2. Fajitas:

    Like tacos, fajitas are another excellent use for flap meat. Serve the sliced meat with sautéed bell peppers, onions, warm tortillas, and various toppings.

  3. Salads:

    Sliced flap meat can elevate a salad, adding a hearty, protein-rich component. Pair it with greens, cherry tomatoes, avocados, and a tangy vinaigrette.

  4. Sandwiches:

    Flap meat makes for an excellent steak sandwich. Slice it thin and serve on a crusty roll with arugula, caramelized onions, and a smear of horseradish sauce.

  5. Bowls:

    Pair flap meat with grains like quinoa or rice, roasted vegetables, and a flavorful sauce or dressing to create a nutritious bowl.

Health Benefits and Nutritional Information

Flap meat, like other cuts of beef, is a good source of protein, essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. It is vibrant in:

  1. Protein: Essential for muscle repair and growth.
  2. Iron: Vital for oxygen transport in the blood.
  3. Zinc: Important for immune function.
  4. B Vitamins: Including B12 and niacin, which support energy metabolism.

However, it is also important to note that flap meat contains saturated fat, so it should be consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

Selecting and Storing Flap Meat


When buying flap meat, look for pieces with a good amount of marbling and a fresh, deep red color. Avoid any meat that looks dry or has an off odor.


  1. Refrigeration: Fresh flap meat can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. Please keep it in its original packaging or transfer it to an airtight container.
  2. Freezing: For more extended storage, freeze flap meat. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and foil, or use a vacuum-sealed bag. It can be frozen for up to 6 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator before use for best results.
Culinary Applications of Flap Meat

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What is beef flap meat? While less widely known than other cuts, it is a hidden gem in beef. Its rich flavor, versatility, and relative affordability make it a fantastic option for various dishes. Whether you're grilling, pan-searing, broiling, or stir-frying, flap meat can be a delicious addition to your culinary repertoire. By understanding its characteristics and best cooking practices, you can make the most of this flavorful cut and impress your family and friends with delicious, tender, and juicy meals.

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