Steak has to be one of the best kinds of meat out there. It is certainly one of the most popular out there, that’s for sure!
The combination of a beautifully prepared steak as part of a grill, or prepared as part of a roast meal, or the thousands of other ways this kind and cut of meat can be prepared.
On the subject of cuts, one of the things that seem to surprise many people when they are just starting to look into ways to cook and prepare beef steak is just how many different cuts there are to be found.
These can range from the heavyweights, both in flavor and price-wise, of Sirloin to a wide array of cuts that vary in texture, quality, and how easy they are to source. As well as, of course, how they taste!
One of the most underrated cuts out there that you’ll find is what is known as bavette steaks.
That might sound a little counterintuitive (how could any meat lover and cooker not know about the different types of steak), you’ll be surprised just how few meat aficionados have heard of this type of beef, much less how to cook it well.
Well, that’s what we’re going to help answer now! In this article, we are going to explain what exactly bavette steak is, as well as how it compares to the other kinds of beef that you are likely to find out there, including how it stacks up to some other less well-known cuts.
Of course, it would hardly be any good to know what bavette steak is without cooking it. This is why we will also show you one of the best ways that you can both prepare and cook this steak for yourself at home.
There’s plenty to discuss here, so let’s get started!
What Is Bavette Steak?
First and foremost, there are probably at least a few readers that have not even heard of bavette steak before they clicked on this article.
That isn’t too surprising, considering how it gets overshadowed by many other kinds of beef cuts. So, before you go any further, we’re going to first explain what exactly bavette steak is.
Bavette steak is simply a type of beef steak that comes from the rear quarter of a cow.
If you were examining a diagram of the different cuts of beef, you would find bavette below both the short loin cut, as well as below the bottom sirloin. It is also found behind the plate cut of steak on a cow’s body, near the flanks of the cow.
This is why this cut is also often called ‘flank steak’ in many English-speaking places in the world.
Names Of Bavette Steak
We mentioned how bavette is often called flank steak in many parts of the world, but this cut of meat goes by many different names depending on where you are in the world.
Whilst ‘flank’ is the common name for this cut in the United Kingdom, United States, Australia and Canada, France and many other French-speaking places in the world will use the name ‘bavette’, (hence the title of this article)
In many Spanish and Portuguese-speaking countries across the world, especially in South America, one of the most common names that are used is ‘Vacio’ or Vazio’, or even ‘Fraldinha’.
For this article, we are simply going to refer to the steak cut we’ll be discussing as either ‘flank’ or ‘bavette’, but keep these other names in mind if you find recipes for this cut of meat under a different name.
How It Compares To Other Cuts Of Steak
So, now we know what exactly this cut of steak is, but how does it relate to other cuts of steak you can find, whether it’s from a supermarket, or straight from the butcher.
- Like many other cuts of premium steak that you will find in most providers, bavette steak has a very rich and flavorful texture to it when cooked correctly.
- Compared to something such as sirloin, you will often find that this cut of steak is sold much thinner or in smaller quantities when compared to the cuts that virtually everyone is familiar with.
- People who have taste-tested both of these cuts may also note that whilst sirloin tends to be much more compact with how the fibers are laid out, a bavette steak is generally much looser than other cuts from meatier quarters of a cow.
- Because of how the muscles that bavette steak are much more exercised when compared to sirloin, most people eating this cut will find it a little tougher to chew and eat than cuts with a greater fat composition.
- For these reasons and others, flank steak is often sold at a much lower price than other cuts, making it a comparatively cheaper option if you are looking to cook a steak recipe on a smaller budget.
Bavette Vs Skirt/Hanger Steak Cuts
So, from what we have discussed so far, it is clear to see that bavette is a comparatively less well-known cut of beef when compare to sirloin or rib steak.
However, there are still other kinds of cuts that you’ll find in this niche of lesser-known ways to prepare beef. The types that flank steak is often compared to a skirt or hanger steak.
But how exactly are they different?
Well, for one thing, they come from different sections of a cow. Whilst bavette or flank steak comes from the hind flank of a cow, skirt or hanger steak is not their distinct cut.
Instead, they are types of steak that are taken from the plate cut of beef from a cow.
What this means is that the marbling effect will be somewhat different between the two, as the different muscle areas are worked and exercised differently because of where they sat on a cow when it was alive, meaning that the distribution of fat will be slightly different.
Even though the marbling has a different effect on each cut, you would probably actually struggle to notice the difference just by looking at them, based purely on how the fat looks on each cut.
Generally speaking, however, because the flank steak is located closer to the hind rears of a cow, and those muscles tend to be a little larger, you can usually tell these different cuts of meat apart based on their usual size.
Flank meat tends to be a little wider when compared to skirt and hanger meat.
Preparation For Cooking A Bavette Steak
So, we have explained what bavette or flank steak is, and we have an idea as to what makes it different from other kinds of beef steaks. Now comes the part that you all clicked here for: How to cook these steaks!
Well, technically, that part comes later. Whilst you can certainly cook a piece of bavette steak as soon as you get it home, the best recipe for this meal almost always includes a little preparation beforehand.
So, following the guidelines and instructions from Foot Hills Local Meats, we’re going to go through the steps that you’ll need to take before you start cooking the ideal bavette steak.
The recipe that we are using calls for a few ingredients to get the best result
- We’re going to need bavette steak, approximately 1 ½ to 2 pounds worth
- Some course ground black pepper, for just a bit of heat, as well as some unrefined sea salt for seasoning.
- You’re also going to need at least 2 tablespoons of duck or goose fat (alternatively, you can also use tallow, or beef/mutton fat).
- And a tablespoon of butter.
Preparing Your Steak
Whilst there are a few ways to prepare your flank or bavette beef, this is the method we have chosen to show you.
- First season your steak with some steak with your black pepper and sea salt, before coating your steak in a little fat that you have prepared (whatever type we specified earlier that you have decided to go with). You should have your bavette steak covered in a thin layer by the time that you are done
How You Should Cook A Bavette Steak
So, we have talked about virtually every aspect of this cut of steak so far, as well as how to prepare it for yourself. Now comes the cooking part that you came here for, for real this time: Cooking your steak!
- Ideally, you’ll want to put the steak straight into a searing hot pan, rather than heating the pan once you have the steak in it already. This will allow you to get the perfect outside to your steak.
- What you should find, once you have started to cook the outside of this steak, is that the goose or duck frat that you have coated it in becomes a delicious golden coat to your steak as it is cooking. This is why it is important to put the steak into an already hot pan first.
- Once you start to see the golden coating forming on one side, you can then flip the steak over to the other side. You should only do this once, so make sure that the crust has formed properly.
- Once you have a crust on each side of the steak, you should then turn the heat down to medium heat, and let the rest of the steak cook for a few more minutes. Ideally, if you want your steak to be rare, your steak will be ready to take off of the heat after 3 to 4 minutes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Should I Cook Bavette Steak Over Other Cuts Of Beef?
Well, as we already mentioned, the bavette cuts of beef tend to be noticeably cheaper than their more premium counterparts like tenderloin, rib, or even brisket steak. This makes them a great choice for when you want to cook beef on a budget.
As you can see, for such a small cut, there’s a surprising amount to talk about. S now, you should be more than ready to cook this steak for yourself!