There are cases when the same beef cut has more names around the world and bavette steak is no exception. The bavette name actually comes from one of the most common French steak labels ” bavette d’aloyau ” which translates as ” bib of the sirloin ” or sirloin flap steak. However, many people are not even aware of this wonderful piece of meat and there is no coincidence that we’ve personally called it the little gem.
People often assume that bavette steak is the same as a flank, skirt steak, or hanger, which is not. Therefore, we think it’s about time to give more attention to this beef cut. In essence, it has some magic that comes from its tremendous marbling, tender texture at a lower price, and not only.
Why confusing the bavette steak with a flank steak
The bottom sirloin flap cut is not widely known as bavette steak, at least not within the american vocabulary. But if it happens for anyone to travel to France, then one will find several types of bavette steaks, including the “bavette de flanchet”, or flank steak. Therefore, this must be the reason for creating confusion even more among people who remain with the idea that bavette steak is in reality the same with a flank. These two beef cuts are quite similar but not one and the same.
So recalling from the american vocabulary, bavette (an extension of the T-bone and Porterhouse steaks) is the flap cut. This piece of meat is officially part of the short loin (or sirloin), and it does position next to the flank primal. At the same time, it is slightly thicker with more marbling than flank, keeping its juiciness in this way, without a necessary touch of a marinade. So, anytime when one sees “bavette d’aloyau” on a French menu, he/she should know for sure that you are getting a flap and not a flank cut.
Tips for preparing and cooking a bavette steak
This beef cut becomes even more magic due to its versatility. It can be delicious across a variety of preparation methods and we are going to touch a couple of the ones that we consider truly essential.
Beyond anything else, start by taking the meat out of the fridge at least 20 minutes ahead of your cooking. Resting the steak at the room temperature makes it tender later on.
1. Trimming the excess of fat and the silver skin
Although bavette steak has a thicker layer of fat than a flank or a skirt, it can be easily trimmed together with the silver skin, before moving further to any seasoning or marinating. It is preferable to do so because one will enjoy even more the deeper flavor of the fiber itself that goes into combination with the seasoning and its slimmer layer of fat. One can easily season it with salt and pepper (here is a different manner of seasoning ) or go even further to the marination process.
2. Soaking it into a marinade
Generally speaking, the marination, can give effortlessly a great flavor without requiring any advanced meal planning. There is something specific about bavette steak, which is the loose distribution of its fibers in comparison with other steaks. It means that this beef cut, by its structure, will absorb really well one’s favorite rubs and marinades.
3. While cooking a bavette steak
One detail to note here is that bavette steak is not homogenous in terms of thickness of the meat cut. Typically it’s thicker in the middle part and thinner at the ends. This aspect counts pretty much while cooking it because it’s important to take care of each of its ends (the thinner part will finish cooking faster than the rest of the steak).
So on the one hand, one should avoid overcooking the thinner ends and achieve the same rareness throughout the bavette, by flipping the ends off of the pan/cooking surface while finishing to cook the thicker part.
On the other hand, one should be careful as well to not cook too much the middle part, past the medium-rare stage, otherwise, its texture will be rubber-like. So the safe internal temperature that USDA recommends (for any beef cut), is 145°F. However, one can adjust this standard to a personal preference of medium-rare, having an internal temperature of 130°F – 140°F.
A. More on the cooking methods
The bavette steak needs high, dry heat, such as grilling, broiling, pan-frying, or stir-frying cooking methods.
Pan-Searing or pan-frying of the bavette steak
A well-preheated cast-iron skillet could be a great and simple way of cooking a bavette steak. It can take up to 5-7 minutes with more checks depending on the desired level of doneness. As we’ve mentioned within another article, we advise you to flip de steak more often because in this manner, one “will keep an eye on the entire piece of meat and get a good crust in the end.” Let’s not forget about an incredibly useful tool here, a kitchen thermometer that helps a lot in being aware about the internal temperature of the meat.
When grilling and searing could go hand by hand
One can choose to:
- firstly sear, and then grill the bavette steak, otherwise named “sear then bake/grill” method
- or vice versa (going from an indirect to a direct cooking way) which is called “reverse searing”
The former implies nothing more than obtaining a wonderful crust on the outside by searing the cut and then moving the bavette steak on a warm grill (that’s not directly heated by the flame or it is much lower heated). The warmer grill is meant to continue much slower the process of cooking from the inside to the outside, having already the brownie look for the meat. At the same time, one should keep an eye on the thinner sides of the cut because they could be easily overcooked/ dried out at this stage.
The latter method has behind the principle of cooking the meat lower and slower (having a context of grilling or cooking in the oven at first) followed then by a higher heat way such as searing, where the sizzling pan comes into action. We think that reverse searing is much more manageable and the cooking degree is much better controlled, especially with this kind of cut. One starts with the grilling at 275°F until the internal temperature touches a value of about 115-120°F and then sears the bavette for about 1-2 minutes per each side until it reaches the level of doneness that one craves for.
B. A note for our reader– about internal cooking temperature
We are not going to debate about how one could consider the USDA official standard for checking the doneness of the steak. However, we encourage you to have a deeper understanding of this, through one of our articles (the section discussing the essential cooking tips for cheaper cuts).
4. Resting and slicing times
At this stage, we would rather advise you to not directly jump into eating. Please don’t, until your bavette didn’t have enough time to rest for at least 5 minutes.As a matter of fact, slicing against the grain a rested steak has clear reasoning behind (for not losing the best of its juices), and we assure you that all will be worth it.
Our final thoughts
Last but not last, bavette remains such a magic and cheep piece of marbling meat that makes it stand out no matter if one lives in the US or France.
At least, we tried to set the record straight and leave less confusion on the difference between a flap and a bavette steak 🤪. In the following, one could visualize even more what we were talking about. Enjoy it.