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Flat Iron Steaks 101: How to Grill Juicy Flat Iron Steaks with Red Wine Sauce

Posted by mmillet on May 9, 2014

Flat Iron Steaks 101: How to Grill Juicy Flat Iron Steaks with Red Wine Sauce

You may have heard (or tasted) the recent buzz about flat iron steaks. There is definitely a good reason for all that hubbub!

The flat iron steak, also called a Top Blade Steak, has been popping up all over ever since it was "developed" in 2002 by a research team at the Universities of Nebraska and Florida. (Sign us up for that job!) Up until then it was just sent through a grinder and literally turned into hamburger meat.

In general, the flat iron is very similar to other flat steaks (like flank or skirt). In specifics, it's not only incredibly tender and heavenly tasting but also versatile and extremely easy on the wallet.

The first key to a successful flat iron steak is to not over-think it. As long as you don't over-think or overcook it, a good quality steak will always prevail. Our best advice is that flat iron steak should not be cooked past medium temperature or it will get a bit tough. The steak is in its prime at a rosy pink medium-rare. If, heaven forbid, you make the mistake of turning a flat iron into beef jerky, you will end up with some very unhappy campers.

Just stick with us and follow our tips and we'll keep you on the yellow brick road to Delicious Steak City.


PREP TIME: 30 to 45 minutes to let steaks marinate
COOK TIME: about 1 hour
RECOMMENDED PELLETS: Hickory, Oak or Mesquite


2 (1-pound) flat iron steaks or tri-tip steaks
4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Traeger Prime Rib Rub
3 tablespoons canola oil
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 1/2 cups dry red wine


1. Start the Traeger on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes).

2. Make sure the steak you pick is high quality. You want red meat that smells fresh and has good fat marbling. Season the steaks on both sides with the Worcestershire sauce and let it marinate for about 30 minutes. Don't forget to let your steaks come to room temperature before you start grilling. (about 30 to 45 minutes of counter time.)

3. Sprinkle the steaks with the Traeger Prime Rib Rub on both sides. Smoke on the Traeger for 45 minutes.

4. These steaks would be perfectly delicious all by themselves but we love the finish of rich Red Wine Sauce. While the steaks are smoking get started on that sauce. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt.

Add the garlic and oregano and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Whisk in the wine. Simmer until the sauce reduces by half, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.

Remove the skillet from the heat. Strain the sauce into a small bowl, pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible.

Discard the solids in the strainer. Cut the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter into small 1/2-inch chunks and whisk in the sauce a little at a time. Season the sauce, to taste, with salt and pepper.

5. Oil your steaks to make sure you get a good sear. Flat irons, like most steaks, should be cooked quickly and on high heat. The longer the steaks sit cooking on the grill, the more moisture that is lost.

6. After your steaks have smoked, remove them to a plate and turn the heat up to High. Let the grill preheat for about 20 minutes to make sure that it is really hot. Not only does that high heat make those beautiful grill marks, but the dark caramelization is what seals in the juices and tastes pretty darn good too.

There are two paths you could take to get a good sear. You can either cook the steaks in a 10-inch cast iron pan - make sure you preheat the pan on the grill - or just cook them directly on the grill grate. We did both just for the fun of it.

Use tongs to move the steaks around on the grill and try to move them as little as possible - flipping them only once if possible.

Because of the smoke time and the thickness of the flat iron steaks, you only need to cook them about 2 minutes per side so don't walk away from that grill or else you will end up with over-done steak. REMEMBER - it's a whole lot easier to throw a steak that's under-done back on the grill and cook it for longer than it is to try to un-do an overcooked steak. Hail to the pink!

If using an instant-read thermometer follow the temperature guide below:

Rare = 125 degrees F
Medium rare = 130 to 135 degrees F
Medium = 135 to 140 degrees F
Medium well = 140 to 150 degrees
Well = 155+ degrees F

For a "handy" trick on how to know steak doneness without a thermometer, check out this post.

7. Let them rest! Transfer the steaks to a cutting board and tent them with foil. Allow them to rest for about 10 minutes before slicing.

8. Slice the flat irons thinly across the grain. Why does this matter? Simply because in slicing against the grain (or against the direction of the muscle fibers) you are shortening the muscle fibers making each piece more tender and overall more enjoyable to eat.

Most flat iron steaks have a line of gristle running right down the middle. Some people like to slice the flat iron into two separate steaks to avoid it, but it’s up to you.

Flat Iron Steaks 101: How to Grill Juicy Flat Iron Steaks with Red Wine Sauce

9. Lastly, drizzle the sauce over the steak and enjoy while warm.

Flat Iron Steaks 101: How to Grill Juicy Flat Iron Steaks with Red Wine Sauce


Flat Iron Steaks 101 Recipe.docx (14.19 kb)