Flat Iron Steak: Where it Comes From and Why it's Hard to Find

 One of our favorite books is  Butchering Beef by Adam Danforth . 

One of our favorite books is Butchering Beef by Adam Danforth

Flat iron steaks are a team favorite at Rosso & Flynn because the tenderness and flavor are hard to beat. But where did the flat iron steak come from? It is a difficult cut to find in the grocery store or even most butcher shops. Our butcher, Michael, explains where it comes from and why it is considered an artisanal butcher's cut. 

What’s a flat iron steak?

The flat iron hails from the infraspinatus muscle, the second-most-tender muscle found in a beef carcass. The infraspinatus is sandwiched between two hard-working muscles, which allow for the little infra to be super tender.

Alias: Top blade steak.

How did it get the name "the flat iron"?


The top blade steak was named for a household item it looks like: an old-fashioned flat iron.

Where does it come from and why does it matter?

Steers are front-heavy animals and their shoulders are used more than any other primal. The chuck primal, the shoulder, has cuts with lots of intramuscular fat. In fact, the chuck has more interesting cuts than any other primal (in our butcher’s humble opinion). Hard-working muscles equal beefy, rich flavor. When you pair that combination with little-unused muscles in between hardworking muscles, you get the most tender, flavorful cuts. And that is where the flat iron comes from.

 Our butcher Michael preparing a flat iron.

Our butcher Michael preparing a flat iron.

Why is the flat iron a difficult cut to find?

Because of the delicious connective tissue that makes this steak so tender, the flat iron is difficult to cut and takes real craft. First, you have to find the connective tissue and cut along the top blade. Next, you have to clean the two sides of the steak and remove any silver skin. Each muscle proves about four steaks and plenty of trim for burgers.

Best ways to cook a flat iron steak:

Grilled over the fire or pan-seared. Slice thinly across the grain and serve with pan sauce, Maldon salt or compound butter.  We offer this cut in two different breeds, Wagyu and Angus. Try them both to taste the difference!


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