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Grilled Stuffed Flank Steak

August 28, 2009


Another night, another “What should we have for dinner?” conversation…  It’s been 3 nights since we’ve eaten dinner at home and it was high time we cooked something.  Especially since last night we had popcorn and candy for dinner when we saw Inglorious Basterds.  Oops.

My dad got me a subscription to Cook’s Illustrated (thanks, Dad!) and I have literally been reading each issue cover to cover.  The people on the metro probably think I’m crazy (that’s where I do most of my reading), but at least I’m not one of the weirdos that listens to my ipod and sings out loud.  I stumbled across a recipe for “The Best Grilled Flank Steak” and knew we’d eventually have to try it.  While discussing what to have for dinner, the boyf mentioned he wanted to grill something, so we opted for the flank steak.  We headed over to the Cheesetique for some good provolone and prosciutto, and hit up Let’s Meat on the Avenue for the flank steak.  The Cheesetique is trouble.  Absolute TROUBLE.  The kind of trouble that makes you spend $4o on cheese you don’t need and then leave in a giddy stupor wondering what just happened.


The above cheese is the only one I bought that we needed– the provolone.  We also got some fresh mozzarella, parmegiano reggiano, gruyere, a little baggie of bleu, and half a pound of brebirousse, a soft smelly sheep’s milk cheese.

Next we headed to the butcher shop, were we stayed on-task and bought flank steak and nothing else.  The butcher at Let’s Meat on the Avenue is a great guy– not only did he give me twine with which to tie up my flank steak “pin wheels,” but he even butterflied the sucker for me!  Plus the flank steak is about $5 cheaper per pound than that at Whole Foods.  Win, win.

We got home and I set to making the stuffed flank steak.   And here’s what happened:


First, pound ‘er flat.  Careful if you use a hammer because you might put holes in it.  Kudos to you if you have a meat pounder-tenderizer-thingy.  I don’t, hence the hammer.


Next up: chopped parsley, garlic, shallots and olive oil all over the flank steak.


Then it’s time for the prosciutto.  If you’re smart you’ll buy a little extra so you can snack on the job.


Last, but not least, the provolone.  The kind we got was aged, salty and had a “bold” flavor.  It’s worth it to fork over the extra cash for higher-quality provolone and prosciutto because it really make the dish more flavorful.

Then I wrapped it up, starting with the side closest to me and tied it shut.  Then I skewered the flank steak roll and sliced it into circles.  The end result resembled flank steak lollipops.  They were awesome.  Awesome.


Grilled Stuffed Flank Steak

(Recipe from Cook’s Illustrated)

2 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)

1 small shallot , minced (about 2 tablespoons)

2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves , finely minced

1 teaspoon sage leaves , finely minced

2 tablespoons olive oil , plus extra for oiling grate

1 flank steak (2- to 2 1/2-pounds) (see note)

4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto

4 ounces thinly sliced provolone

8–12 skewers soaked in water for 30 minutes

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

Combine garlic, shallot, parsley, sage, and olive oil in small bowl. Following illustrations below, butterfly and pound flank steak into rough rectangle. With steak positioned so that grain runs parallel to edge of counter and opened side faces up, spread herb mixture evenly over surface of steak. Lay prosciutto evenly over steak, leaving 2-inch border along top edge. Cover prosciutto with even layer of cheese, leaving 2-inch border along top edge. Starting from bottom edge and rolling away from you, roll beef into tight log and place on cutting board seam-side down.

Starting ½ inch from end of rolled steak, evenly space 8 to twelve 14-inch pieces of butcher’s twine at 1-inch intervals underneath steak. Tie middle string first; then working from outermost strings toward center, tightly tie roll and turn tied steak 90 degrees so seam is facing you. Skewer beef directly through outermost flap of steak near seam through each piece of string, allowing skewer to extend ½ inch on opposite side. Using chef’s knife, slice roll between pieces of twine into 1-inch-thick pinwheels. Season pinwheels lightly with kosher salt and black pepper.

Build a modified two-level fire by arranging all coals over half of the grill, leaving the other half empty.  Position cooking grate over coals, cover grill, and heat rack until hot, about 5 minutes.  Grill is ready when side with coals is hot.

Grill pinwheels directly over hot side of grill until well browned, 3 to 6 minutes. Using tongs, flip pinwheels; grill until second side is well browned, 3 to 5 minutes longer. Transfer pinwheels to cooler side of grill, cover, and continue to cook until center of pinwheels registers 125 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 1 to 4 minutes (slightly thinner pinwheels may not need time on cooler side of grill). Transfer pinwheels to large plate, tent loosely with foil, and let rest 5 minutes. Remove and discard skewers and twine and serve immediately.

34 Comments leave one →
  1. Vanessa permalink
    March 31, 2014 12:49 pm

    I made this for dinner last night and it was simply fantastic. You could taste all of the freshness in the recipe. Served it with green beans, French baguette and a great bottle of cab. What more can I say then anyone reading this should definitely try this recipe!

    • June 12, 2014 1:57 am

      I’ve never been more turned on by food, thank you 😀

  2. Sherri permalink
    April 14, 2014 9:27 am

    This looks delicious! I can’t wait to try it. I also got quite excited reading your post (which I stumbled upon through Pinterest) when I realized you are a local blog and were doing your shopping down in Del Ray! So nice to recognize the names of the shops and not have you telling me about some gourmet shops somewhere in CA.

  3. lauren permalink
    April 15, 2014 9:59 am

    Can u make it in oven??

    • Tram permalink
      July 8, 2014 12:22 am

      I second this! This looks delicious but I do not have a grill.

      • October 1, 2014 4:18 pm

        Sorry for the delay in response! Several people have asked the same question, and I’m copying and pasting my response here. Enjoy!

        I would brown the pinwheels in a dutch oven (or pan that can be used in both the oven and stove) on the stove and then transfer into the oven at 350 for maybe 8-10 minutes. Also since you won’t be moving them around as much as you would be on the grill, you probably don’t need the skewers; just make sure each pinwheel is secured with butcher’s twine.

    • July 19, 2014 3:40 pm

      I’m going to try it tonight. Brown it first then finish it up in the oven until it reaches 125. It may not get the same smokey flavor that grilling provides, but I think browning it will suffice.

  4. Tiffanie permalink
    September 29, 2014 6:26 pm

    I agree with the oven comment: Is that possible? I just don’t trust my grilling skills to make this on the grill. BTW: I am giddy for you over your cheese purchase and I don’t feel bad about not having a meat tenderizer knowing a hammer will do just fine.

    • October 1, 2014 4:17 pm

      Yes, it is definitely possible to make it in the oven! I would brown the pinwheels in a dutch oven (or pan that can be used in both the oven and stove) on the stove and then transfer into the oven at 350 for maybe 8-10 minutes. Also since you won’t be moving them around as much as you would be on the grill, you probably don’t need the skewers; just make sure each pinwheel is secured with butcher’s twine. Let me know how it turns out!

  5. Donna sexton permalink
    January 8, 2015 8:39 pm

    Was it tender? I find flank steak to be tough

    • January 8, 2015 9:06 pm

      I thought it was tender, as long as you don’t over-cook it!

  6. kelby dodson permalink
    January 19, 2015 9:54 pm

    i did this with sirloin and it was amazing. However, with the sirloin steak there are different segmented parts unlike the flank steak so even if you butterfly it perfectly there will still be “holes” when you roll it up. (and i didnt have butchers twine). So to compensate i put the pinwheels on a baking sheet and put them in the oven on 400 for 4 minutes, then finished them off in the broiler for 6 minutes and they were amazing! i did throw a few drops of marinade on each pinwheel before putting them in the oven. Added to the flavor and did not detract from the fresh herbs.

  7. Renie permalink
    March 24, 2015 9:15 pm

    This looks amazing, I can’t wait to try it. I’ve gone keto and this will fit into my lifestyle perfectly! Thanks!

  8. April 11, 2015 9:14 pm

    If you cut the pinwheels, doesn’t
    All the cheese melt & come out?

    • June 26, 2015 3:57 am

      No, because the provolone doesn’t get as melty and runny as something like cheddar or mozzarella. Enjoy!

    • Susan M Vetter permalink
      May 23, 2019 9:02 am

      I have tried this several times over the years, and, YES, the cheese melts all over the grill and drips down. It must be me, because everyone else seems to have success with it! I have even bought the pre-made ones in the meat section of the supermarket…same thing! Guess I’m just not destined to make these. I’m glad so many others have had success!!

      • Carrie Filtz permalink
        March 15, 2020 5:04 pm

        Thy doing it in the oven. Since there’s no slats in a cast iron/oven safe pan. There should be minimal drainage of the cheese. 🥰

  9. Kristin permalink
    June 7, 2015 9:42 am

    Yeah, this needs to happen in this house so badly. We have a bit of a stomach bug right now, but really this entire family “needs to totally get up all in that quickly!”

  10. Joanna permalink
    January 28, 2016 3:27 pm

    Hi what if you don’t want to cut them into pinwheels could you bake it in the oven whole then cut?

  11. brandon permalink
    February 3, 2016 7:57 pm

    what was the temp on the grill? I’ve got a big green egg and that’s one of the bigger pieces of the puzzle here.

  12. Sonya permalink
    April 2, 2017 7:27 pm

    We LOVED this too! As soon as I read about you buying some really nice aged provolone, I knew that you would have a similar experience! They had this recipe in the Cook’s Illustrated Entertaining 2011 Summer issue, along with a variation that uses spinach and pine nuts instead of the prosciutto. Kenji mentioned using Asiago in that one for his article, so while he didn’t say anything about the Asiago in the actual recipe text, I used Asiago with the spinach variation and LOVED it. The funny thing was that my husband and I both strongly preferred one of the variations over the other (he loved the original with prosciutto and provolone, I loved the spinach/pine nuts variation with Asiago), and found the other one’s favorite kind of “meh”, which I suspect was because of the different flavors of the cheeses. Anyway, this recipe was the BOMB, just amazing decadence on a plate, and it deserves a lot of love 🙂

  13. Otis permalink
    April 19, 2017 7:00 pm

    Rather than use a hammer, use a wine bottle or rolling pin as it is less likely to tear the meat. another useful trick is to put the meat in a plastic baggy (ziplock) that you have sprinkled with water. If you cut the ziptop and two edges off, it makes a nice thick film that is perfect for pounding any meat

  14. Sonya permalink
    June 17, 2017 9:05 am

    What string do we use to tie it

  15. mary permalink
    May 28, 2018 2:05 pm

    I’ve made this a lot over the years and it is delicious !! it’s one of my family’s favorites


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