Skip to main content

A Steak You Should Be Grilling (But Probably Aren't)

Bavette steak is an under-the-radar cut that's inexpensive and seriously beefy-tasting.

Most cooks are familiar with flank steak, rib-eye, and filet mignon. But if you’re a steak lover, there’s another important cut that you shouldn’t overlook, whether you’re looking to fire up the grill or sear on the stovetop.

We’ve long been fans of bavette steak (a French moniker that is an abbreviation of “bavette d’aloyau,” or “bib of the sirloin”). Not only is this outstanding cut from the belly of the cow inexpensive, but it’s also satisfyingly meaty and tender when you cook (and slice) it right.

Sign up for the Cook's Insider newsletter

The latest recipes, tips, and tricks, plus behind-the-scenes stories from the Cook's Illustrated team.

Bavette steak's coarse fibers make it an excellent candidate for marinating and grilling, as they allow liquid to penetrate the meat and trap little bits of flavorings such as minced garlic or ginger so that they don’t burn over the fire. But the steak’s rich, meaty flavor can also stand on its own with nothing more than a quick sear and a sprinkling of kosher salt. In fact, it’s so flavorful that it’s our go-to (in combination with boneless short ribs) for grinding into burger meat for the ultimate beefy-tasting patties.

Bavette steak is situated near the area of the cow where flank and skirt steak are cut, and it shares these two steaks’ distinctive loose, longitudinal grain. 

Here are a few pointers to keep in mind when shopping for and cooking bavette steak:

Shopping

Note that in the Northeast, bavette steak is often sold as “flap meat” or “sirloin steak tips.

Cooking

  • Grill or sear the steak to medium (130 to 140 degrees), which shrinks the diameter of the fibers and makes them more tender while still retaining enough moisture for the meat to taste juicy. (Any rarer, and the muscle fibers will be overly tough and chewy.) 
  • To maximize tenderness, cut the steak thin against the grain.

0 Comments

Try All-Access Membership to Unlock the Comments
Don't miss the conversation. Our test cooks and editors jump in to answer your questions, and our members are curious, opinionated, and respectful.
Membership includes instant access to everything on our sites:
  • 10,000+ foolproof recipes and why they work
  • Taste Tests of supermarket ingredients
  • Equipment Reviews save you money and time
  • Videos including full episodes and clips
  • Live Q&A with Test Kitchen experts
Start Free Trial
JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.