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What is Flap Meat?

shantihhh's picture

Butchers' best-kept secret / Seldom-seen flap meat is giving better-known steaks a run for the money

Thin slices of pan-roasted flap steak are served with a red wine and shallot butter sauce, and accompanied by oven-roasted tiny Yukon gold potatoes.

We don't eat a lot of beef, but this cut is appearing in Asian and Mexican markets a lot lately and I began to wonder about this flap meat.  I mean that isn't exactly a sexy name for a cut of beef.  I recently ordered a Hangar Steak and was plesantly surprise at the flavourful tender strips on my plate.  Granted I shared with my husband and brought home the leftovers which I had with a large salad the next day for lunch.  I am one of those who love cold steak.

Steak eaters are slaves to fashion. While a tender piece of filet or New York strip is timeless, restaurant goers are flocking to lesser bistro steaks such as hanger, skirt and flank.

Though fibrous and chewy, they are packed with flavor. The popularity of these steaks -- among Latin American and Asian as well as French bistro chefs -- has driven up the price, making these once lowly meats either hard to find or more expensive than their rough texture might merit.

That's where flap meat comes in. Also called flap steak, the unflatteringly named cut is similar to skirt and flank in that it comes from the less tender regions of the animal. Often cheaper than more popular cuts, this little underdog of the beef world has a wonderful meaty flavor and fine texture when prepared carefully. Niman Ranch calls its flap meat bavette, the French name for the cut. But, the word bavette can be confusing. There are several types of bavette steaks in France, including the bavette de flanchet, or flank steak. Because bavette means bib in French, sometimes the word is used as a catch-all phrase for thin steak.

"The French cut down steaks so differently and more thoroughly," says Brian Cunningham of Niman Ranch. Yet, the bavette d'aloyau, or "of the sirloin, " is what Niman and the French culinary encyclopedia "Larousse Gastronomique" (Clarkson Potter, 2001) call flap meat.

Regardless of all that, flap meat is a great choice for Mexican grilled meats, bistro steaks and stir-fries -- some Asian meat markets simply call it "stir-fry meat." And if you can't find it, other long-fibered cuts such as flank steak and skirt steak also would be lovely in the accompanying recipes, though cooking times might have to be adjusted.

Marinated flap meat, sliced and splashed with green salsa, then garnished with cilantro, turns carne asada into a whole meal.

For recipes for

Carne Asada

Bavette Steak With Beurre Rouge & Roasted Potatoes Beef Stir-Fry With Seared Broccoli & Kumquats and additional information as to sources and restaurants serving this "flap meat" in the San Francisco Bay Area:

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vikas.kumar's picture
Nice blog. Had never heard of Flap Meat/ Steak before!
Prezi's picture
Yes, flap meat is not a usage I am familiar with, but steak is. But, are they both used interchangeably or are they different in any way?
glutster's picture
Flap meat serves as the main component of most Carne Asada Tacos in the U.S, thanks for giving us a little more in depth knowledge of it.
Gary St Cyr @ Butcher's Gourmet's picture
Flap Meat is sold widely throughout the Boston Area simply as "steak tips". This incredibly flavored sirloin is even more tender when marinated. We have been cubing steak tips, marinating, then vacuum sealing seven flavors of Marinated Sirloin Steak Tips for over thirty years. So popular are these tasty tips we are now wholesaling throughout New England, Pennsylvania, and Florida. Ask your local Butcher or Supermarket to check us out at butcher' and at We'd love to let you in on the secret!
Mike S's picture
I was turned on to Flap meat from a local butcher shop in the MA. NH. area called McKinnons Market. I throw large family barbques and they love steaktips. I buy a 4-5 lbs cut, cube it, and marinade it over night in a honey teriaki marinade made by Kens. I have to keep some aside for myself they go so fast, never any leftovers. Alway get compliments on them.
Anonymous's picture
you all have heard of flap meat if you eat mexican food. where do you think carne asada burritos, tortas and tacos are made of? also known as ranchera meat.
DDDJJJSSS's picture
I would always buy flap from any grocery store in California... love it! I moved to Denver a couple of months ago and havent seen it yet. Nor have I found a grocery store "butcher" who had ever heard of it. One even told me there is no such thing and I am confusing it with flank. I let him know that he is the one who is confused.
What Is Flap Meat?