Steak and Potatoes: A Perfectly Grilled Flat Iron Plus Smoked Potato Salad

Unknown to American consumers before 2002, the boneless flat iron is the first of the “new steaks” to become a runaway commercial success, outselling T-bones and porterhouses. (“Flat iron” is an old meat industry term thought to be inspired by the flat irons used by laundresses in days gone by.) Beefy-tasting with a fine texture and good marbling, this shoulder steak, also known as a blade steak or lifter steak, is one of our first choices for the grill.

For tenderness, it is second only to filet mignon, say meat scientists. Not only is it a fraction of the price (my local market sells it for $7.99 per pound versus $24.95 for filet), but there’s no waste.

It takes well to marinades—Steven likes to soak it for a couple of hours in an onion- and garlic-enlivened marinade of Mexican beer and lime juice—but it is equally delectable when seasoned simply with coarse salt and pepper or your favorite rub. For the best results:

  • About 45 minutes before grilling, brush the steak with extra virgin olive oil, then season. For even distribution of the spices or rub, hold your hand several inches above the meat.
  • Set your grill up for direct grilling and preheat to high. Brush or scrape the grill grate clean and oil it well. Arrange the steaks on the grate. If you want a bit of smoked flavor, add unsoaked wood chips to the coals or to the smoker box of your gas grill. Put the lid down to retain the smoke.
  • Grill the steaks for about 4 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature reaches 125 to 135 degrees, for rare to medium-rare. (Insert the probe of an instant-read meat thermometer through the side of the steak.)
  • Let the meat rest for 2 minutes before slicing it thinly on a diagonal across the grain.

Do you enjoy a sauce with your steak? We sometimes do, too! At a minimum, we like a drizzle of best quality extra virgin olive oil or a pat of compound butter like Steven’s Blue Cheese Butter.

As for a side dish, it’s hard to beat creamy and piquant Smoked Potato Salad. You can even smoke the potatoes at a previous grill session. Find the recipe here. Chill thoroughly before serving.

Smoked Potato Salad

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