High-quality meats cost a lot, so I’ll often go for one of the cheaper cuts and eat it over a few days. This particular cheaper cut is called flap steak. You might not have heard of flap meat, but this is a hidden gem you definitely want to try.

I’m not always a fan of marinating a steak. The reason that you buy an expensive high-quality steak to be able to taste that wonderful beef flavor. However, certain cuts (e.g., flap, flank, hanger, and tri tip) are perfect candidates for taking on a flavorful marinade that helps tenderize them at the same time.

What Is Flap Steak?

Flap meat comes from the “short sirloin” section in the belly of the cow. Flap is usually a long, narrow cut, with excellent marbling. It’s cheap, it cooks quickly, it has great flavor and has so many uses! Flap steak gets even better the next day after cooking when all the flavors meld together even further.

It’s not a particularly tender cut of meat, with long muscle fibers. But that makes it the perfect cut to marinate, slice and enjoy in so many ways. Making grilled tri-tip with this marinade is also fantastic.

Making a Tough Cut Tender

Just because a cut of meat is tough by nature, doesn’t mean every bite can’t be deliciously tender. Here are a few ways to help make it flap steak nice and tender.

  • Use an acidic marinade – Even just adding a nice olive oil to the marinade has acid that helps break down the meat. You can also add a little vinegar.
  • Use a meat tenderizer – Either a mallet, the spiky tool or even an enzyme powder.
  • Cook it hot and fast – That’s where the direct heat of a hot grill comes in. You can also use a cast iron skillet.
  • Slicing properly – Slicing against the grain is key to tenderness. I highly recommend a granton blade slicing knife that will slice through meat like butter.

For this recipe, we’re basically doing everything except the tenderizer, although olive oil is slightly acidic and will help tenderize very slightly.

The Marinade: Shallot, Garlic and Rosemary

This marinade is the secret weapon for the flap steak. It tenderizes and adds a flavor that complements the beef. This particular recipe makes a paste, rather than a liquid. If you already have your own go-to marinade, feel free to experiment and add whatever ingredients you like, or remove what you don’t.

Simply combine the shallots, garlic, rosemary, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. You can use a food processor to make a purée. I used a hand immersion blender so it wasn’t quite as smooth, which is totally fine. Just know that the rosemary doesn’t get as chopped and the flavor will be more subtle, which isn’t a bad thing.

Garlic-Rosemary Steak Marinade in rameken

How Long to Marinate the Steak?

The general rule is that the longer you marinate, the stronger the flavors will be. Since this is a strongly flavored marinade, you can marinate the steak for as little as 1 hour, but I really prefer to let it sit on the meat overnight. This allows the marinade to penetrate and tenderize the flap steak. You can also tenderize the meat with a spiky tenderizing tool to aid the marinade and tenderize the steak even more, but I haven’t found this necessary.

marinating flap steak with garlic rosemary marinade

Top Tips for Grilling Flap Steak

  • Study the grain before cooking so you know which direction you need to slice against.
  • Wipe off the excess marinade before grilling as it can burn.
  • Gill for about 4 to 6 minutes per side over high direct heat, or until the internal temp reaches 130° F for medium-rare.
  • Medium-rare is the sweet spot. Rare isn’t enough for this cut and it can be chewy. Too cooked and it can get tough as well. See the steak temperature guide for more options.
  • Don’t be afraid of a little char on the grilled meat. Just not on the whole steak; it gives it another flavor element and smokiness.
  • Rest it uncovered for 10-15 minutes, then slice against the grain. Slicing against the grain cuts those long muscle fibers for a better texture when served.
  • Flap steak is best cooked on the grill, but can be seared in a heavy cast-iron skillet and will turn out great as well.
marinated flap steak on grill

Meal Inspiration from One Flap Steak

Grill one big steak and make six delicious and unique meals out of it.

Garlic-Rosemary marinated grilled flap steak

Grilled Flap Steak with Shallot-Garlic-Rosemary Marinade

Maximum flavor with minimal effort: this budget-friendly flap steak delivers juicy, high-end taste through a flavorful shallot-garlic-herb marinade and simple grilling method. Similar to flank or skirt steak, yet incredibly delicious.
4.75 from 4 votes
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Course: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 8 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 297kcal


  • 2 to 3 pound flap steak
  • 2 tsp Diamond kosher salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Shallot-Garlic-Rosemary Marinade

  • 1 medium shallot
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 3 Tbsp chopped rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil


  • Make the marinade in a food processor, blender, or immersion blender, combine the shallot, garlic, rosemary, red pepper flakes, and olive oil, and process until smooth.
  • Season the flap steak generously with kosher salt and black pepper on all sides. Transfer the steak to a resealable plastic bag or shallow dish, pour in the marinade, and coat the meat evenly. Marinate for at least 1 hour or preferably 12 hours, in the refrigerator.
  • Prepare the grill for direct high-heat cooking. Let the steak sit at room temperature while you preheat the grill.
  • Grill the flap steak: Wipe excess marinade from the meat (if preferred), then place the flap steak over direct heat and grill for about 4 to 6 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature reaches 130° F for medium-rare or 140° F for medium.
  • Remove from the grill and rest on a cutting board for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing against the grain for optimal tenderness. Enjoy!


  • You can substitute flank steak or skirt steak and use the same marinade.


Calories: 297kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 91mg | Sodium: 858mg | Potassium: 553mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 0.4g | Vitamin A: 58IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 3mg

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  1. 4 stars
    Marinated overnight and the flavor was wonderful on this steak, but the rosemary in the marinade just didn’t blend in well enough, had difficulty even using a good blender for more than a minute. Next time I would probably mince the rosemary first. Other than that, directions were spot on. Smelled heavenly while grilling.

    1. That sounds wonderful, Marcia. So glad it turned out wonderful for you. I totally understand what you mean about the rosemary. And for most people, not getting the rosemary totally blended is intentional so the flavor doesn’t get too strong. Mincing it with a knife first is a great suggestion for getting it more blended. 🙂