The Best Cut Of Steak For Beef Fried Rice

When it comes to creating the perfect beef fried rice, selecting the right cut of meat is essential. While there are many cuts of beef you can reach for when making this dish, I reach for flank steak, an easy favorite thanks to its unique combination of attributes that make it work so well in this stir-fried staple. While I have before subbed in cubes of top round or skirt steak in a pinch, I keep coming back to flank steak thanks to all the boxes it checks. 

Flank steak is renowned for its bold, beefy flavor that adds a robust taste to any dish. This particular cut, taken from the abdominal muscles of the cow, features a significant grain that runs along its length. This grain, while making the meat slightly tougher if not handled correctly, becomes an asset in the context of beef fried rice. The distinct grain of flank steak allows for easy cubing, providing succulent, bite-sized pieces that absorb the flavors of the dish while maintaining a satisfying texture.

The lean, quick-cooking nature of flank steak is another reason it is the ideal choice for beef fried rice. Stir-frying demands a cut that can be cooked swiftly over high heat, and flank steak fits the bill perfectly. Already possessing a thin profile, flank steak cooks rapidly, ensuring the meat retains its natural juices and doesn't become dry or overcooked. 

Getting the most from flank steak

To elevate the flavor profile of flank steak for beef fried rice, marinating is key, and flank steak takes well to the assertive flavors associated with fried rice. I turn to a classic marinade that includes soy sauce for a salty, umami punch, scallions and garlic for a robust aroma, ginger for a hint of warmth, and a touch of sugar to balance the flavors. I let the flank steak marinate for at least 30 minutes, allowing the ingredients to penetrate the meat.

When it comes to preparing the flank steak for beef fried rice, cutting against the grain is crucial. Make half-inch slices perpendicular to the natural grain of the meat to break down the muscle fibers, then cut the slices into cubes. Next, heat neutral vegetable oil in a wok or skillet over high heat and sear the marinated flank steak until caramelized.

Once the flank steak has a solid color, introduce the other ingredients for your beef fried rice. The quick-cooking nature of flank steak means it integrates seamlessly with the punchy sauce, savory egg, crispy vegetables, and day-old rice without drying out. Further, the deep beef flavor of the steak melds with the other elements perfuming the entirety of the dish.

If you're ready to give this a spin, get a good recipe to work from, mind the grain of the beef, and keep the heat cranked to high when initially searing the beef. You'll be glad you did.