The Ideal Cut Of Steak For Melt-In-Your-Mouth Mongolian Beef

Mongolian beef is an American-Chinese culinary classic, up there with other favorites like orange chicken, and takeout beef and broccoli. Despite its name, the dish has no affiliations with Mongolia but instead hails originally from Taiwan, and has evolved via that American-Chinese food filter. It's influenced by Taiwanese-born Mongolian BBQ, a style of cooking that combines chopped beef with flavorful sauces.

Its appeal rests in a similar medley to other stir-fries. We're talking delicious aromatics matched with a tender protein, and all coated in a mouthwatering — in this case, brown sugar and soy-based — sauce. Apart from the beef, typical ingredients are onions, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and red pepper flakes. So, what's the best way to get those pieces of beef crispy yet tender? Surprisingly, slow cooking is an excellent option, letting time do the work. Our easy slow cooker Mongolian beef recipe by Tasting Table recipe developer Ting Dalton is proof that the method works brilliantly. Additionally, most recipes coat the meat with cornstarch, which lends the beef a really crispy exterior, all the while thickening the sauce. Of course, the dish can also be cooked in a wok. Yet, perhaps most important of all is which cut of beef is employed. A good piece of flank steak is the ideal cut to make the dish come together. Let's dive into the details.

Flank steak makes a delectably tender Mongolian beef

Using flank steak for your Mongolian beef recipes offers several benefits. Not only is it an affordable cut but it also has the ideal texture for the job. Its lean yet slightly marbled composition will cook to perfection on a high, quick sear. The flavor will combine well with the sugary caramelization, and the steak will have time to crisp up before becoming chewy. To attain such a delicious texture, it's essential the meat is cut as thin as possible and also, importantly, cut against the grain, or else the result won't be so good.

Other cuts that work with high-heat cooking can also be used to make Mongolian beef. Sirloin is a frequent substitute, as are hanger and skirt steak. Avoid any stewing meats, however. But remember, an expensive cut isn't necessary — the dish doesn't highlight the beef's flavor. Instead, it's all about how the beef and sauce meld together in the wok or the slow cooker.