America's Test Kitchen LogoCook's Country LogoCook's Illustrated Logo

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.

Published Mar. 1, 2022.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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

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

  • 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.


This is a members' feature.