Your New Favorite Cut: What's a Bavette?

Salting a whole bavette muscle, known to American butchers as the bottom sirloin flap.

To know Rosso & Flynn is to know a burning curiosity in the sources and methods by which our food is produced. But when we’re finished ensuring that our meat comes from the highest-quality humane ranches in Central Texas, our curiosity remains, and we start to seek out the tasty cuts not always available from the local butcher shop. Today we’ll take a look at the bavette (known by several other names, as we’ll discuss), a meaty, flavorful cut from the sirloin that plays a great alternative to flank steak and an upgrade from the skirt.

Shop bavette and Wagyu bavette.

Where has the bavette been hiding?

For starters, the term bavette is not some random deviation from the naming customs of typical American butchery; sticking to our (admittedly  less exciting) stateside convcntions, the cut is known as the bottom sirloin butt flap (or simply flap or flap meat), so you can understand why it took another introduction under its French name for the cut to gain a following. The French went with “bib” rather than “flap,” an example of their finer taste when it comes to marketing.

If you went to an American butcher shop and requested a cut that was both coarse-grained and well-marbled, the butcher might assume you’re buying on a budget, and would probably point you in the direction of a skirt steak, known for its gangly muscle fibers, the common “don’t forget to cut against the grain!” refrain, and its fitting place as a grill favorite that is then chopped into small pieces, to counteract the tough fibers that will produce overly chewy steak if eaten whole.

However, if you mentioned that it was “steak night” at the house, your butcher may suggest the bavette, which shares the beefy fibrous nature of skirt steak, but eats better as a individual steak when cut down to size. Like the skirt, the bavette is a long flat strip (hence flap or bib). The texture falls somewhere between the very coarse skirt steak and the neatly fibered but definitely beefy flank steak. Also, unlike the flank and skirt, the bavette is snuck up into the bottom sirloin, rather than coming from the belly.

A closer look at the relatively coarse muscle fibers of the bavette

Cooking bavette

Like the flank and skirt, the beefy texture of the bavette takes well to marinades, both as a tenderizing agent and a flavor-enhancer. For individual steaks, cut the bavette into individual steaks (with the grain, when cutting down to steak portions) and cook on a very hot grill or pan. Let rest, and, you guessed it, cut against the grain!

Read a steak frites recipe from the New York Times

For the ultimate skirt steak-style fajitas, though, marinate the bavette in a zesty marinade (I enjoy a kiss of garlic and soy as well) and treat like a muscle on the grill. Because the flap is thin, you can generally treat it with a hot fire without risk of burning the surface before getting the center to temperature. As we usually suggest, a pack of corn tortillas and a lime can take this cut from unknown to star of taco night.

Like all Rosso & Flynn beef, our bavette comes from grass-fed, pasture-raised cows, raised the right way, right in the heart of Texas. Sourced from Dean & Peeler Premium Beef in Poth, and Ranger Cattle Fullblood Wagyu, right here in Austin.

Grilled, sliced bavette steak.

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