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Flank Steak Pinwheels


Ye Old Newbie
One of my cigar buddies made this and posted it on FB which got me pumped to make it as I hadn't made them in quite a few years. When I make them, I don't add any more meat (capocollo, salami, soppressata, prosciutto di Parma)...I'm not a meat w/meat guy...so my version is with a basic veggie mix and cheese. The other thing was I didn't get the flank steak from my local butcher. I was in BJ's Wholesale Club and in their meat department they have a pre-packaged, vacuumed packed, flank steak from some Southern meat producer. I figured, what the hell...it looked good and it was almost 1/2 the cost.

I started out with this pre-packaged flank steak by trimming off most of the big amounts of fat. This piece wasn't thick enough to butterfly, so I broke out the meat smasher and pounded the hell out of it to make a rectangle shaped piece of steak. My way of doing this is to take a 2 gallon Ziplock baggie and trim off both sides to make a long piece of plastic. I do this because the baggie is thicker than plastic wrap, so when you're beating the hell out of it, it doesn't rip apart. I do this when I pound veal cutlets & chicken breasts too. The meat slides underneath it easier as it expands and the clean up is quicker.

Then I started to dice the portobella mushrooms & onions and got the baby spinach leaves ready to saute by rinsing them. Liberally salt & pepper the meat before spreading out the layers. I sauteed the onions & baby portobello mushrooms separately in olive oil. Make sure you dice the mushrooms very small so it's easy to roll the steak. I then quickly saute the spinach leaves in garlic, olive oil & butter...don't over cook them or they'll turn to mush in the pinwheel. NOTE: If you do want to add some cold cuts, do that BEFORE adding any veggies or cheese.

First the portobella mushrooms....see how small.

Then the diced caramelized onions....

Then the sauteed baby spinach leaves. After I spread them out I added some extra minced garlic...you can't have too much garlic when it come to beef!

Now you cover that with some sliced provolone cheese. I like a sharp version, which really isn't all that sharp being that it's a sandwich cheese, because it needs to stand out against the steak flavors. Thickness is an issue too. You want it thicker than you'd put on a sandwich, but not too thick because it has to roll up well.

Now you roll it. Start out by pre-cutting eight 12"-14" (that depends on the length & width of your flank steak) pieces of cotton cooking string so they're ready to go when you need them. Also, start soaking 8 bamboo meat skewers in water. You have to give it that first major tuck to start out the rolling process as it needs to be tight. You'll also notice I didn't run the veggies or cheese right up to the edges so nothing will squeeze out of those edges after tying it up. Once you are satisfied with your roll (roll & re-roll if you have to so you get it just right), lay out the string on your cutting board with equal spacing...place the meat on top of the string and start tying. Don't be afraid to pull them tight, but not too tight to cut into the meat. Cut off the excess string close to the knot.

Now you take the soaked meat skewers and insert them about 1/2" from the end flap right next to each string. That way when you cut the slices, the skewer helps keep the pinwheel closed along that leading edge with the string. Once that's done, you cut the slices equidistant between the strings.

They come out looking like this. I cut them thick, about 1 1/2" to 1 3/4" each. If you prefer them thinner, just cut up more string and place them closer together.

To cook them, I prefer to do it in a cast iron pan...some folks prefer to grill them. Here's where the type of provolone cheese comes into play again. The sharper the cheese, the more dense it is and the less likely to run out if you grill them on the BBQ. And the thickness plays a part in this as well, the thicker you have the cheese sliced, the more stays inside the pinwheel....but slice it too thick, then it's a bitch to roll. But whatever type cheese you use or how thick it's sliced, the cooking of these in a pan eliminates the cheese from running out of the pinwheel.

Start out the cooking process by drizzling them with olive oil and seasoning each side with sea salt & fresh cracked pepper. I prefer to use the McCormick's Peppercorn Medley with the built in grinder because it's way more fragrant and flavorful when cooking with high heat.

I sear each side for about a minute to a minute and a half minutes in a very hot pan....

Then I take the pan and put it in a 450 degree oven for 6-8 minutes...depending on how rare you like them.

That's what they look like right out of the oven. At this point let them rest for a few minutes before diving in. I forgot to take a photo of the cut piece but they were freakin' delicious! But I will next time I cook a few. Which brings me to my last point. If you make this and don't cook them all, freeze the remaining uncooked slices. All I do is cut the ends off the bamboo skewers and put each one on a freezer bag. They thaw faster than you'd think, maybe 2-3 hours, and still taste very good.

This whole process took me about an hour, so it's not an all day affair....especially when you consider that you have another night's dinner down the road from what you don't cook the day you prepare it.

Well worth the effort.
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Wishing I was as cool as Phil
When I was at the butcher shop, we'd recommend wrapping them in foil before putting them on the grill to help keep the cheese inside.


Well-Known Member
Looks good. I used to make something similar, but used Caciocavallo. Sharp provolone works just as well. A little different flavor, and a bit creamier, imo. Now I want some; NOW being the operative word. Guess I'll do it for Christmas. I've been wanting to try some form of a roulade with a Flat Iron Steak. Might experiment on that.