Bavette Steak is one of those cuts of beef that doesn’t get near the glory it deserves.
Part of the reason is that it gets confused often with flank or skirt steak, but bavette steak is an entirely different cut of beef.
When cooked and sliced properly, it’s one incredibly tender and delicious cut – and a personal favorite of mine for the meat in a fajita dinner.
In this article, we’ll break down bavette steak, what it is, where it comes from, how it tastes, and then we’ll share a few of our favorite bavette steak recipes at the end.
What is Bavette Steak?
Bavette steak, also known as flap steak, comes from the sirloin primal of the animal. More specifically, it’s a cut that comes from the bottom sirloin – and extremely close to where a flank steak cut comes from. Because of this, they often get confused.
Bavette and flank steaks have similar taste profiles and are nice substitutes from one another since they come from a similar part of the steer – but they are not the same cut.
Since the bavette steak is located adjacently to the flank, it often comes with tremendous marbling and a nice, tender texture.
In fact if you look closely, this cut’s grain and muscle fibers are quite loose looking – there’s clear space in between grain fibers, especially compared to some other beef cuts. This is actually a nice feature in the sense that rubs and marinades tend to really seep and soak into the cut.
One of the reasons you might not have heard of bavette steak before is because there’s a relatively small amount in each animal. In fact, 2-4 pounds is a pretty common maximum size to get out of a bavette cut.
Because of that, it can be somewhat difficult to get ahold of bavette unless you live in a larger city or have access to a reliable butcher.
Where to Get Bavette Steak
Even though bavette is a relatively difficult cut of beef to get ahold of, it’s not impossible to find if you really want to get some. In fact, a few online outlets sell high quality cuts of bavette and will deliver it right to your doorstep.
One such operation is Snake River Farms. They are a family owned, farm to market operation that delivers the highest quality American wagyu beef right to your doorstep if you live in the USA. It just so happens that they have an American Wagyu Bavette Steak on their menu, and while pricey, I can personally attest to the quality of this cut.
How to Prepare Bavette Steak
Before seasoning, you’ll want to trim any excess fat. With this cut, there typically isn’t a large amount of excess fat to speak of, but it’s a good idea to trim it off before you put a dry rub or marinade on.
Bavette Steak is a versatile cut that can be delicious across a wide variety of preparation methods. Most commonly, it’s seasoned with a dry rub or just simply salt and pepper.
It’s also very accepting of marinades as the openness of its fibers really allows the beef to soak up seasoning and marinade.
When looking for the best bavette steak, you want to make sure to pick a cut that has solid marbling throughout the meat.
How to Cook Bavette Steak
One thing to note about bavette is that it typically has a thicker end and a thinner end. It’s important to pay attention to which side is which while you cook because the thin end will finish cooking faster than the thick one.
This might work out in your favor if you’re cooking fajitas for a group of people with different preferences for how rare or well done they prefer their beef. But if you’re trying to cook to the same rareness throughout, you may need to flip the thin end up off of your cooking surface while the thick end finishes off.
Just like with any other meat, you want to cook bavette until it reaches a safe internal temperature. For beef the USDA recommends an internal temperature of 145°F, but commercially steak is very commonly served medium rare at an internal temperature of 130°F.
It’s super important to let your steak rest for around 10 minutes before slicing after you’re through cooking it. This will allow the juices to redistribute evenly throughout the beef.
Also, it’s incredibly important to make your slices against the grain. This will help greatly to make sure the bites you serve are extra tender and have the right texture.
With that in mind, here are a few of our favorite methods for cooking bavette steak.
On the Grill
My favorite way to grill bavette steak is by using a direct to indirect method. Like you would with many other steaks, this just means searing the outside for a nice crust over direct heat first.
After that, you can move the food to a different portion of your grill (often a warming rack) that’s not directly heated by the flame. On a warming rack, your food will continue to cook on the inside without over charring the outer part of the steak.
Like we mentioned before, pay attention to which side of your bavette steak is the thin side and keep an eye on it while you sear. It’s definitely more prone to get overcooked quickly.
Bavette steak is a great option, no matter which type of grill you have. They are perfectly suited for gas grills and also do great on charcoal or wood fired grills. On a charcoal or wood fired grill, the beef will definitely pick up some delicious extra smoky flavor.
In a Cast Iron Pan
Other than a good old fashioned grill, a cast iron pan is definitely my second favorite piece of cooking equipment. And it’s perfectly suited to cook bavette steak.
On a practical level, cooking this cut in a cast iron pan is incredibly simple. Here’s a quick video showing just how easy it is:
For those unfamiliar, the sous vide cooking method is one in which your food is vacuum sealed in a plastic bag and is cooked in warm water until the food reaches your desired internal temperature.
It might sound strange if you’ve never done it before, but it can lead to spectacular results. The “catch” is that it’s ideal to have handy equipment around. You’ll definitely need a vacuum sealer machine, and a sous vide machine is also ideal but not required.
One of my personal favorites with bavette steak is to reverse sear. That is, slow cook it sous vide until it reaches 130°F, then take it out of the bag and place it on the cast iron pan or grill for a quick sear.
What is Bavette Steak Used For?
We’ve gone through a lot of information up until this point, but now it’s time for the fun part! Bavette steak is an extremely versatile cut and can be prepared in a variety of different ways.
- It’s great on it’s own with a special sauce (like chimichurri)
- Steak fajitas (my personal favorite, recipe below)
- Steak enchiladas
- Stir Fry
- Beef and Broccoli
- Steak salad
That’s just to name a few! Pretty much any recipe you’d use flank steak, skirt steak, or carne asada for – you can sub bavette steak.
Bavette Steak Fajitas Recipe
Here’s our favorite bavette steak fajitas recipe. This one keeps things pretty simple, so it’s a great way to introduce yourself to this fine cut of beef!
Bavette Steak Fajitas Recipe
- 1 pound bavette steak
- 8 corn or flour tortillas
- 1 avocado sliced
- 1/2 yellow onion sliced with the grain and a half inch wide at the widest point
- 1 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- 1 lime sliced (optional)
Bavette Steak Fajita Seasoning
- 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tbsp cumin
- 1/2 tbsp oregano
- 1/2 tbsp paprika
- 1/2 tbsp chili powder
- 1/2 tbsp kosher salt
- Mix all seasoning ingredients in a small bowl. Coat the bavette steak with the seasoning mixture, ensuring to coat the entire cut of beef evenly and thoroughly. Feel free to substitute your favorite fajita seasoning.
- Let the seasoned bavette steak rest at room temperature for an hour.
- Sear both sides of the bavette steak over high heat. Use either a grill or a cast iron pan. If using a cast iron pan, preheat for about a minute then add olive oil. Let the olive oil heat up for another 1-2 minutes. Add the steak, searing on each side until a brown crust begins to form. After searing, lower the heat to medium and continue to cook until desired doneness is achieved. Bavette steak typically needs about 2-3 minutes to finish cooking after searing.
- Take the bavette steak off of the pan to rest for 15 minutes.
- Add onions to the pan. Add a little extra olive oil if needed. Sauté until the onions start to get soft, then turn off heat.
- Slice the bavette steak into thin slices. Be sure to cut against the grain to achieve the best tenderness and texture and make the slices easy to eat.
- Serve immediately on corn or flour tortillas. Add onions and avocado slices. Squeeze lime wedges over the steak and add any additional toppings as desired like shredded cheese, salsa, guacamole, sour cream, garlic butter, etc.
The next time you come across a cut of bavette steak, I hope you scoop it up. It’s one of the best and most versatile cuts of beef you could ever work with, and once you master it you’ll be able to serve mouth watering bavette steak meals to your friends and family.
What’s your favorite bavette steak recipe? Let us know in the comments section below!