Not Your Bubbe’s Flanken
Grilled Flanken/ Courtesy Ronnie Fein
Flanken on the Grill
Flanken on the Grill
I don't have time for multi-step recipes anymore and most of the people I know don't either. So, most of the recipes I create are relatively quick and simple.
But. It’s barbecue season and I wanted to figure out a way to make flanken on the grill, because – why not? In the summer, everything tastes better right off the grill.
Like any Ashkenazi Jew over a certain age, I have had my share of soup flanken. It’s soft and succulent, loaded with flavor too, from sitting in broth for hours in a slow simmer.
That requires some extra time.
Flanken, which are short ribs cut across rather than cut parallel to the bone (as in English cut short ribs), are tough and fibrous. If you tried to grill them quickly, as-is, they would be a challenge to chew. They need long slow cooking to get them to tenderness, which is why soup works.
To ready them for a quick crisping over coals, I decided to bake them in a low temperature oven (the way I make brisket) using a good spice rub to infuse flavor into the meat. After that, I could have grilled them as-is, but barbecue sauce gives grilled food a satisfying stickiness and crusty edge along with adding even more flavor.
They were well-loved!
And so, here are recipes for both the spice rub and the barbecue sauce. Even though it is a multi-step recipe, you can make the two parts on separate days and cook the meat a day or so after.
Grilled flanken is a good choice if you’re planning a Fourth of July barbecue – there’s plenty of time to prepare between now and then. You can use the spice rub for any cut of beef though -- sprinkle it on a steak or roast for example. Or to season brisket. Keep the spice rub in a cool cupboard away from the sun. It will last for months. Refrigerate the barbecue sauce. It will last up to 10 days.
The barbecue sauce is spicy hot – omit the serrano pepper if you prefer a milder version (and also use a mild chili powder for seasoning). The sauce is also versatile. Use it for beef, chicken, or turkey parts.
My Grandma would not recognize this flanken dish. But I know she would love it.