Flat Iron Steak



Flat Iron Steak

Developed by the research teams of
University of Nebraska and the University of Florida, the flat iron steak is
gaining in popularity with  restaurants across the United States. You can thank
the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association for funding research to make this
tasty, tender economical steak available to us today.

The beef cut is actually a top blade steak derived from the tender top blade
roast. The roast is separated into two pieces by cutting horizontally through
the center to remove the heavy connective tissue. 

Flat Iron Steak, How it Got Its Name. Facts and


We finally know (sort of) the origins of name “Flat Iron Steak”. We were quite
pleased to be contacted by Chris R. Calkins, a scientist at the University of
Nebraska who explained about the steak’s name.

“I am the scientist who led the project that
characterized beef muscles and lad to the development of the flat iron steak. It
was developed through a cooperative effort with a national meat processor and a
local restaurant chain. The name is an old industry term that has proven to have
a lot of charisma with consumers. We have been unable to trace the source of the
name. In its current use, it refers to a particular piece of meat cut in a
specific way. This new form in no way resembles “an old flat iron” in shape – or
in taste. It’s one of the two most tender muscles in the beef carcass and has a
rich, succulent flavor that most consumers appreciate.”

Lore and Details of This Quest

As self-respecting sleuths, we don’t
want to be purveyors of urban myth.  The quest for finding the history of how
this steak was named started by an email from Stephen when he asked us to help
find the lineage of the name of the flat iron steak.

First we performed the requisite web search, something Stephen had no doubt
spent hours at long before asking us.  Then we were off on a book search at the
local chain bookstore.  We located the book  “The Complete Meat Cookbook” by
Aidells & Kelly. The author made a vague reference that the steak was named
because of the resemblance to the old flat iron.  Although this historical
reference was not conclusive, it was the only one we could find.

In additional readings, our curiosity was peaked about the Flat Iron Building in
New York City.  We found it once housed a well-know steak house and that
encouraged us to wonder……….?

Later we contacted the chef from a very old, very well-know steak house in San
Francisco, California but he was unable to shed any light on our culinary

Today, November 20, 2001 Stephen has provided us with yet a new theory.
According to Stephen, a  gentleman named Bill from a meat market in Napa,
California had a very different historical perspective.  According to Bill, “the
French were the first to discover the Flat Iron Steak, not too long ago. This
steak, which has a thick gristle and sinew plate running through the center of
it, must be trimmed to remove this undesirable gristle. The gristle is so tough,
the French got to calling it “iron hard,” and since it is flat…voila.”

Well, now it is March, 2002 and we have our answer.  The quest was a good one.
If any readers have other interesting questions you’d like to have answered,
please write us and we’ll research them for you.