Grilled Flank Steak with Chile Rub

This grilled flank steak with chile rub relies on a quick and easy dry rub of cumin, coriander, paprika, garlic, and cayenne rather than a long-soaking marinade so you can toss it together at the last minute without hassle. Perfect for tacos.

A sliced grilled flank steak with a bowl of seasoning mix and a knife on the side.

This grilled flank steak recipe with chile rub couldn’t be easier. As the authors explain, “Take a piece of meat, season it well, and put it on the grill. Turn it over a few times. Don’t overcook it. Let it rest before slicing it against the grain.” Seriously, that’s it. No planning ahead. No lengthy marinade. No fancy techniques that require you to fuss with special equipment. (And if you don’t have access to a backyard and a grill, a grill pan will also do the trick.) Just a readily available and relatively inexpensive cut of steak that turns out exquisitely whether you serve it on its own or in tacos. Renee Schettler

*What can I use instead of flank steak?

This recipe is written specifically for flank steak and, obviously, will be the best with that delish cut. However…if you can’t manage it, then a slab of skirt steak will also make the cut. Finally, chuck steak is another option that will come pretty close. All 3 are leaner cuts that need to be prepared in the same way, as long as you slice them thinly across the grain.

Grilled Flank Steak with Chile Rub

  • Quick Glance
  • (7)
  • 30 M
  • 1 H, 40 M
  • Serves 4
4.9/5 - 7 reviews
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  • For the spice rub
  • For the steak


Make the spice rub

In a baking dish large enough to fit the steak, stir together all the ingredients.

Add the steak to the spice rub, turning to coat the meat thoroughly with the rub and pressing with your fingers to help the rub adhere to the meat. If you have the time, cover and toss the steak in the fridge for at least 1 hour and up to 6 hours.

Grill the steak

When you’re ready to cook the steak, let it rest at room temperature while the grill is heating. Build a hot fire in a charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill to high. Using a grill brush, scrape the heated grill rack clean. Lightly coat a paper towel with oil and, holding it with long tongs, carefully rub the oiled towel over the grill rack.

Place the flank steak directly over the flame or heating element grill and let it cook, undisturbed, for about 3 minutes. Rotate the steak 90° and let it cook, undisturbed, for another 3 minutes. Flip the steak and repeat on the other side so it cooks another 3 minutes undisturbed, is rotated 90°, and then cooks 3 more minutes. If you like your steak medium-rare, it should be done at this point [an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest portion of the steak should read 130°F (54°C)]. If you like your steak medium or well done, move the steak to a cooler part of the grill for a few more minutes to cook to the desired doneness.

Move the steak to a cutting board, cover it loosely with foil, and let it rest for 10 minutes. Carve it against the grain into slices about 1/2 inch thick, pile them onto a platter, and serve immediately. Originally published June 10, 2013.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

This grilled flank steak cooks up perfectly. I did use the garlic powder and my paprika of choice was Spanish. The chile rub was great, as was the timing. My steak was done perfectly medium-rare and was quite nicely seasoned.

We found that 1/2-inch slices were a good thickness. The texture reminded me of a sirloin or a somewhat denser strip loin. Now, the amount of cayenne may seem like a lot, but I found it to be quite nice. However, if you have a sensitive palate, you could ease off somewhat, without affecting the final product.

What a flavorful grilled flank steak! The dry rub has a fantastic punch of flavor which tantalized all my taste buds. The rub can easily be doubled for keeping extra on-hand. Grilling the steak gave it an unmatched smoky flavor that further enhanced the seasoning.

The only thing that I might modify the next time I make it is reducing the amount of salt to 1 1/2 teaspoons. I also think that 3 pounds of flank steak could serve more people, perhaps even 6, although the 2 of us never tired of the leftovers.


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  1. The grilled flank steak was a big hit made on a gas grill! For the spice rub, I used coarse kosher salt and felt that the two tablespoons was too much. I would reduce it at least down to 1 or possibly even 1/2 tablespoon. I ground the coriander, used Hungarian Sweet Paprika, and also included the 1 teaspoon garlic powder. The family thought the rub was a bit spicy (I thought perfect!) so you might want to offer a range of 1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of the cayenne pepper. I applied the rub and refrigerated the meat for just over an hour and even at that, the meat was deliciously seasoned. What amazed me the most was the method of turning the meat 90 degrees every 3 minutes. The steak was very evenly cooked, however, the internal temperature was too high at the end of the 3 minute intervals. Next time I think I will keep the grill on high initially and then turn down to either med.-high or medium. Or maybe it could be done on high for just 2 minutes at each interval. This steak makes wonderful chile fajitas in flour tortillas with all the “fixins.”

  2. Oh my god that picture just made my stomach growl with hunger. I feel like I can even smell it. Thank you so much for the recipe, I’m gonna do it next weekend. I’m loving your blog!

  3. Loved the rub! I crushed whole coriander seeds and pink peppercorns instead of using ground coriander and black pepper. I also used a tad less salt than called for and the low end of cayenne. I also broiled the steak since we don’t have a backyard, we can’t grill. A professional chef at the dinner party called it “perfect”. Thanks for the recipe, will definitely use again.

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