How to Cook Flap Meat (AKA Sugar Steak) – This Bavette steak recipe includes a simple citrus marinade to easily turn an underrated cut of meat into the most melt-in-your-mouth tender, juicy, and flavorful pieces of steak!

Thin slices of Bavette steak on a white serving platter with a ramekin of cowboy butter to the side.

Why We Love Bavette Steak

Bavette steak may sound fancy but it is often an underrated underutilized piece of beef. Today I’m hoping to convince you to select Bavette steak over skirt steak and flank steak!

Here we show you how to marinate and cook flap steak as a “sugar steak” to balance the beefy flavor and create a caramelized exterior. The basic but bright marinade includes sweet orange juice, garlic, brown sugar, and just a few key spices to bring it all together. Because the meat has lean muscle fibers, it beautifully soaks up the marinade to become super flavorful and tenderized.

Note: Although you can grill Bavette steak we feel the best method is to sear it in a hot cast-iron skillet. If you don’t have a cast-iron skillet or griddle large enough for the steak, feel free to cut it in half and cook it in two skillets. (You can use a gas grill, charcoal grill, or grill pan for this recipe; you just won’t have as much full-surface caramelization.)

Seared steak sliced into thin strips on a wood cutting board, large knife to the side.

What is Flap Steak?

Bavette steak is often confused with a flank steak… At meat markets in grocery stores in the USA, it’s usually labeled “flap steak”.

Although it comes from a region near flank and skirt steak, Bavette, or sirloin flap steak, is technically bottom sirloin. It is much more flavorful because of the intricate fat marbling between the fibrous meat. While this lesser-known cut of beef is not widely used in the United States it’s well-loved in Europe, Mexico, Central America, and South America. That’s because it offers a delicate tender texture and extra beefy flavor compared to flank steak. However, Sirloin Bavette steak is not tough – which can sometimes be the case with flank and skirt steaks.

In fact, in any recipe where you would use a flank steak, you can substitute a butcher’s cut flap steak instead!

Thin slices of Bavette steak on a white serving platter with a ramekin of cowboy butter to the side.

Ingredients You Need

  • Bavette steak – also known as flap meat
  • Orange juice – freshly squeezed or store-bought (You can use a smaller portion of lemon juice or vinegar instead.)
  • Garlic – minced
  • Light brown sugar – packed
  • Spices – sea salt, freshly cracked black pepper, and crushed red pepper (optional)
  • Butter – unsalted
  • Oil – olive, canola, or avocado oil
Large piece of raw beef on a wooden cutting board.

How to Cook Bavette Steak

Set out a large zip bag, or a baking dish for the marinade. Combine the orange juice, minced garlic, brown sugar, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper in the bag or dish. Mix well.

Place the meat in the bag and zip tightly. Refrigerate for at least one hour but up to 24 hours.

Raw meat in a ziploc bag with marinade

When ready to cook, remove the Bavette steak from the marinade and allow it to dry for at least 30 minutes. I suggest placing the meat on a wire rack that’s set on top of a deep-rimmed baking dish. This will allow air to circulate around the steak, while the dish catches any excess juices or dripping marinade.

Raw large section of marinated beef on a wire rack.

Set an extra-large cast-iron skillet (or cast iron griddle pan) over high heat. 

When the pan is hot, add the butter and oil to the skillet. Once melted, sear the Bavette steak for 4 to 5 minutes per side, for medium-rare steak perfection. Make sure the surface of the steak is in full contact with the pan for best caramelization.

Searing a steak in a cast iron pan.

Allow the steak to rest for 3 to 5 minutes before cutting and serving.

Get the Complete (Printable) Flap Meat Steak Recipe + Video Below. Enjoy!

Seared steak resting on a wooden cutting board.

When ready to slice, turn the steak so that each slice is cut against the grain.

Seared steak sliced into thin strips on a wood cutting board.

Serving Suggestions

You can slice and serve Bavette steak with Cowboy Butter or other compound butters, with Chimichurri, or with any other sauce you like.

It’s fabulous as a main dish protein with classic baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, or fancy Duchess Potatoes. And we love to add some veggie goodness to the table with simple Air Fryer Asparagus, Green Beans, or Brussel Sprouts.

But don’t stop there! Marinaded flap steak is also delicious on sandwiches, steak salads, tacos, or fajitas.

Thin slices of Bavette steak on a white serving platter with a ramekin of cowboy butter to the side.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Bavette steak a good cut of meat?

Yes, it is! You really can’t get a better piece of meat for the price. It is textually superior to flank steak and it tastes delicious.

Is Bavette steak a cheap cut?

It is certainly less expensive than, say, a sirloin or ribeye. However, flap meat is not necessarily a “cheap” beef cut, like round steak or ground beef.

Is flap meat chewy?

Nope! Marinating and searing the steaks makes them tender and moist, without any chewiness.

How long can you marinate steak?

For optimal flavor, the meat should marinate for at least an hour. But any longer than 24 hours and you run the risk of the beef being over-tenderized, and therefore mushy.

How long do leftovers last?

Cooked steak will keep well for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. Let the meat cool completely before transferring to an airtight container and placing it in the fridge.

Hand spooning melted cowboy butter over thin slices of Bavette steak.

Looking for More Easy Steak Recipes? Be Sure to Also Try:

Thin slices of Bavette steak on a white serving platter with a ramekin of cowboy butter to the side.
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Bavette Steak Recipe (Flap Meat or Sugar Steak)

Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
This easy Bavette steak recipe includes a simple citrus marinade to easily turn an underrated cut of meat into the most melt-in-your-mouth tender, juicy, and flavorful pieces of steak!
Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Set out a large zip bag, or a baking dish for a marinade. Combine the orange juice, minced garlic, brown sugar, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper in the bag or dish. Mix well.
  • Place the Bavette steak in the bag and zip tightly. Refrigerate for at least one hour but up to 24 hours.
  • When ready to cook, remove the Bavette steak from the marinade and allow it to dry for at least 30 minutes.
  • Set an extra-large cast-iron skillet (or cast iron griddle) over high heat.
  • Once the pan is hot, add the butter and oil to the skillet. Once melted, sear the Bavette steak for 4 to 5 minutes per side, making sure the surface of the steak is in full contact with the pan for best caramelization.
  • Allow the steak to rest for 3 to 5 minutes before cutting and serving. When ready to slice, turn the steak so that each slice is cut against the grain. Slice and serve with your favorite steak sauce.

Video

Notes

Cooked steak will keep well for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. Let the meat cool completely before transferring to an airtight container and placing in the fridge.

Nutrition

Serving: 5oz, Calories: 330kcal, Carbohydrates: 17g, Protein: 37g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 106mg, Sodium: 980mg, Potassium: 671mg, Fiber: 0.2g, Sugar: 16g, Vitamin A: 144IU, Vitamin C: 16mg, Calcium: 55mg, Iron: 3mg
Course: Main, Main Course
Cuisine: American, French
Author: Sommer Collier
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