How To Cook Flank Steak In Crock Pot [COMPLETE GUIDE]

Flank steak is a flavorful and lean cut of beef that can be tough if not cooked properly. Cooking it in a crock pot, also known as a slow cooker, can help tenderize the meat and bring out its rich taste. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the process of cooking flank steak in a crock pot, discussing everything from selection and preparation to cooking times and troubleshooting common issues.

Quick Answer: How Long To Cook Flank Steak In Crock Pot

Cooking flank steak in a crock pot typically takes around 6 to 8 hours on low heat or 3 to 4 hours on high heat. The exact cooking time depends on the thickness of the steak and the desired level of doneness.

Selection

When selecting a flank steak for your crock pot recipe, it’s important to choose a cut that is fresh and well-marbled. Look for a steak that has a bright red color with minimal browning or discoloration. The marbling, or intramuscular fat, will contribute to the tenderness and flavor of the meat. Additionally, consider the thickness of the flank steak. Thicker cuts may take longer to cook in the crock pot, while thinner cuts may require shorter cooking times.

Preparation

Before placing the flank steak in the crock pot, it’s essential to properly prepare the meat to enhance its flavor and texture. Start by patting the steak dry with paper towels to remove any excess moisture. This will help promote browning and searing when you initially cook the steak.

Next, consider marinating the flank steak to infuse it with additional flavor. A simple marinade of olive oil, soy sauce, minced garlic, and flavorful herbs like rosemary or thyme can add depth to the meat. Allow the steak to marinate for at least 30 minutes or ideally overnight in the refrigerator.

Crock Pot Cooking Times For Flank Steak

The cooking time for flank steak in a crock pot can vary based on the cut’s thickness and the desired level of doneness. When cooking on low heat, a thicker flank steak may take around 6 to 8 hours, while a thinner cut might be done in as little as 4 to 6 hours. For cooking on high heat, a thicker steak can be ready in approximately 3 to 4 hours, and a thinner one may take around 1.5 to 2.5 hours. It’s important to remember that the crock pot cooking times are estimates and may require some adjustments based on your specific slow cooker model and the flank steak variation.

How To Cook Flank Steak In Crock Pot

Step 1: Searing The Flank Steak (Optional)

Searing the flank steak before placing it in the crock pot can enhance the flavor and texture of the meat. To do this, heat a skillet or a cast-iron pan over medium-high heat. Pat the steak dry and season it with salt and pepper. Add a small amount of cooking oil to the hot pan and place the flank steak in the center. Sear each side for about 1-2 minutes until a golden-brown crust forms. The searing process not only adds depth of flavor but also helps to lock in the steak’s juices.

Step 2: Preparing The Crock Pot

Once the flank steak is seared, it’s time to prepare the crock pot. Spray the inside of the crock pot with cooking spray to prevent the meat from sticking. If desired, you can add vegetables such as carrots, onions, and potatoes to the bottom of the crock pot to create a bed for the flank steak and infuse additional flavors into the meat.

Step 3: Placing The Flank Steak In The Crock Pot

Gently transfer the seared or unseared flank steak into the crock pot, placing it on top of the vegetables if using.

Step 4: Adding Liquid And Seasoning

To ensure the flank steak stays moist and tender during the slow cooking process, consider adding liquid to the crock pot. This can be in the form of beef broth, red wine, or even a simple mixture of water and Worcestershire sauce. Additionally, season the meat with herbs and spices such as thyme, rosemary, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika. This will impart delicious flavors into the flank steak as it cooks.

Step 5: Setting The Crock Pot Temperature And Time

After adding the liquid and seasoning, secure the lid on the crock pot and set the temperature and cooking time according to your specific recipe. For a low and slow approach, set the crock pot on low heat for 6 to 8 hours. If you’re short on time, opt for high heat and cook the flank steak for 3 to 4 hours.

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Step 6: Checking For Doneness

About halfway through the cooking time, it’s advisable to check the flank steak for doneness. Use a meat thermometer to gauge the internal temperature of the meat. For a medium-rare flank steak, aim for 130°F (54°C), and for medium, aim for 140°F (60°C). Keep in mind that the steak will continue to cook slightly after it’s removed from the crock pot, so it’s essential to factor in this carryover cooking.

Step 7: Resting And Slicing

Once the flank steak reaches the desired level of doneness, carefully remove it from the crock pot and allow it to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing. This resting period allows the juices within the meat to redistribute, resulting in a more succulent and tender final dish. After resting, slice the flank steak thinly against the grain to maximize tenderness.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Tough Texture

If the cooked flank steak turns out tough, it may be undercooked. To remedy this, you can return the meat to the crock pot and continue cooking on low heat until it reaches the desired tenderness. Alternatively, consider using a meat tenderizer or slicing the flank steak thinly against the grain to mitigate toughness.

Dryness

Dryness in the cooked flank steak can result from overcooking or insufficient liquid in the crock pot. To address this issue, consider adding a bit of beef broth or a mixture of water and Worcestershire sauce to the crock pot to infuse moisture into the meat. Additionally, reducing the cooking time or using a lower heat setting may help prevent the steak from becoming dry.

Lack Of Flavor

If your flank steak lacks flavor after cooking in the crock pot, it may benefit from a more robust marinade or seasoning blend. Experiment with different herbs, spices, and acidic ingredients in the marinade to enhance the taste of the meat. Additionally, adding aromatic vegetables such as garlic, onions, and bell peppers to the crock pot can impart additional flavor to the flank steak.

Cooking flank steak in a crock pot can yield tender, succulent, and flavorsome results when done with care and attention. By selecting a quality cut of flank steak, preparing it meticulously, and employing the appropriate cooking techniques, you can create a dish that is both satisfying and delicious. From searing the steak to resting and slicing it with precision, each step contributes to the overall outcome of the meal. Understanding the nuances of crock pot cooking, troubleshooting common issues, and mastering the art of slow-cooking will empower you to consistently create delectable flank steak dishes for yourself and your loved ones.

Achieving Perfect Texture

Cooking flank steak in a crock pot is a game-changer for busy households. The slow cooking method tenderizes the tough meat, resulting in a succulent and flavorful dish.

Flank steak, although incredibly flavorful, can be tough if not cooked properly. However, cooking it in a crock pot can help break down the connective tissue in the meat, resulting in a tender and melt-in-your-mouth texture.

To achieve the perfect texture, there are a few key steps you need to follow:

  1. Marinating: Before cooking the flank steak, marinating it for at least 4 hours will enhance the tenderness and flavor. A simple marinade consisting of olive oil, soy sauce, minced garlic, and spices like paprika and black pepper works wonders.

  2. Searing: To lock in the flavors and juices of the meat, sear the flank steak on high heat for a few minutes on each side before transferring it to the crock pot. This will give the steak a beautiful caramelized exterior.

  3. Low and slow cooking: The low heat and prolonged cooking time in a crock pot are crucial for breaking down the tough fibers in the flank steak. Set the crock pot to low heat and let it cook for 6-8 hours, or until the meat is tender enough to be easily shredded with a fork.

Flavor Infusion

Cooking flank steak in a crock pot not only ensures a tender texture but also allows for excellent flavor infusion. The slow cooking process allows the flavors to permeate the meat, resulting in a delicious and well-seasoned dish.

To infuse maximum flavor into your crock pot flank steak, consider the following tips:

  1. Spices and herbs: Use a combination of spices and herbs to season the flank steak before cooking. Paprika, cumin, garlic powder, and thyme are excellent options to enhance the flavor profile of the meat.

  2. Acidic ingredients: Adding acidic ingredients like lemon juice, vinegar, or Worcestershire sauce to your marinade or sauce can help break down the tough fibers in the meat and add a tangy flavor. Be careful not to overdo it, as too much acid can overpower the other flavors.

  3. Broth or stock: In addition to the marinade, using broth or stock as the cooking liquid in the crock pot will infuse the flank steak with additional flavor. Beef broth or vegetable stock work well, allowing the meat to simmer in a rich and savory bath of flavors.

Aroma

One of the best parts of cooking flank steak in a crock pot is the mouthwatering aroma that fills your kitchen. As the steak slow cooks with flavorful ingredients and seasonings, it releases a tantalizing scent that will have your family or guests eagerly awaiting mealtime.

To enhance the aroma of your crock pot flank steak, consider the following:

  1. Aromatic vegetables: Along with adding flavor, aromatic vegetables like onions, garlic, and bell peppers can give a delightful aroma to your dish. Sauté them before adding them to the crock pot to release their fragrant oils.

  2. Fresh herbs: Adding fresh herbs such as rosemary, thyme, or cilantro during the cooking process will not only enhance the flavor of the dish but also contribute to its delicious aroma. The aromatic oils in these herbs are released as they cook and mingle with the other ingredients.

  3. Seasonings: The combination of spices and seasonings used to season the flank steak can significantly impact the aroma of the dish. Experiment with different combinations to find the ones that tantalize your senses the most.

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Cooking Techniques

To ensure a successful crock pot flank steak, it’s important to master some key cooking techniques. Here are a few techniques to help you achieve a delicious and tender result:

  1. Searing: As mentioned earlier, searing the flank steak before adding it to the crock pot will add depth and flavor to the dish. Heat a skillet on high heat and sear the steak for a couple of minutes on each side until a desirable caramelized crust forms.

  2. Deglazing: After searing the flank steak, the skillet may have some flavorful browned bits stuck to the bottom. Deglaze the pan by adding a small amount of liquid like wine, broth, or even water and scraping the bits off with a spatula. Pour the deglazed liquid over the flank steak in the crock pot to capture all the flavors.

  3. Resting: Once the flank steak is finished cooking, it’s essential to let it rest for a few minutes before slicing. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a more tender and flavorful steak.

Crock Pot Tips For Flank Steak

To ensure the best results when cooking flank steak in a crock pot, here are some useful tips:

  1. Choose the right size crock pot: Using a crock pot that is the appropriate size for the cut of meat is important. Flank steak is often long and thin, so a crock pot that is wider rather than deeper will work best.

  2. Use a meat thermometer: While cooking times can be a guideline, using a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the steak is the most accurate way to determine doneness. For medium-rare, aim for an internal temperature of 130-135°F (54-57°C).

  3. Adjust cooking time: The cooking time can vary depending on the size of the flank steak and the specific crock pot used. Keep an eye on the meat and adjust the cooking time accordingly to achieve the desired tenderness.

  4. Add vegetables or potatoes: To make a complete meal, add vegetables like carrots, potatoes, or onions to the crock pot along with the flank steak. These will absorb the flavorful juices and provide a delicious side dish.

Creative Crock Pot Flank Steak Recipes

Now that you have the knowledge and techniques, here are a few creative recipes to inspire you:

1. Asian-inspired Flank Steak

Marinate the flank steak in a mixture of soy sauce, ginger, garlic, brown sugar, and sesame oil. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Serve the tender steak with steamed broccoli and white rice for a flavorful Asian-inspired meal.

2. Mexican-style Flank Steak Tacos

Season the flank steak with chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and lime juice. Cook on low for 6 hours. Shred the tender steak and serve in warm tortillas with salsa, guacamole, and your favorite taco toppings.

3. Italian-inspired Flank Steak

Marinate the flank steak in a mixture of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, Italian herbs, and minced garlic. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Slice the tender steak and serve with roasted vegetables and a side of creamy polenta.

4. Barbecue Flank Steak Sandwiches

Coat the flank steak with your favorite barbecue sauce and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Shred the tender meat and serve on toasted buns with coleslaw for a delicious barbecue sandwich.

Conclusion

Cooking flank steak in a crock pot is a convenient and foolproof way to achieve a tender and flavorful dish. By following the steps to achieve the perfect texture, infusing delicious flavors, and creating an enticing aroma, you can create mouthwatering crock pot flank steak dishes that will impress your family and friends. So go ahead, fire up that crock pot, and enjoy a delicious and hassle-free meal!

FAQS

Can I Cook Flank Steak In A Crock Pot?

Yes, you can cook flank steak in a crock pot. Slow cooking the steak in a crock pot ensures that the meat is tender and flavorful.

How Long Should I Cook Flank Steak In A Crock Pot?

Flank steak should be cooked in a crock pot for 6-8 hours on low heat. This extended cooking time ensures that the steak is tender and juicy.

What Ingredients Can I Use To Cook Flank Steak In A Crock Pot?

Some popular ingredients for cooking flank steak in a crock pot include onions, garlic, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, beef broth, and spices such as paprika, cumin, and chili powder.

Can I Sear The Flank Steak Before Cooking It In The Crock Pot?

Yes, searing the steak before cooking it in the crock pot can add a layer of flavor and texture to the meat. Simply heat a tablespoon of oil in a pan and sear the steak on both sides for 2-3 minutes before transferring it to the crock pot.

How Should I Serve The Cooked Flank Steak?

You can serve the cooked flank steak sliced against the grain with a side of roasted or grilled vegetables or with a salad. You can also shred the cooked steak and use it in tacos or sandwiches.