Skirt steak is a versatile cut of beef that lends itself well to many types of cuisine. It is fairly easy to cook, but has some definite intricacies that can throw you off your game leading to chewy meat.
Skirt Steak Selection
Skirt steak is skirt steak right? Kind of… There is an inside skirt steak and an outside skirt steak, while these types are similar they don’t cook exactly the same.
Inside skirt steak is typically a bit thicker on one end and tapers down and it has a fairly low fat content. This differing thickness makes it a little harder to get a consistent cook. It is the most commonly found, at least in stores around here.
Outside skirt steak is thinner with more fat and also typically has a membrane that needs to be removed prior to cooking. Outside skirt steak is fairly hard to find in many places since it is the preferred cut for many restaurants. Outside skirt steak is in my opinion, easier to cook and serve with a tender outcome.
Cook It Hot And Fast
Grilling skirt steak is quite easy no matter which type you get. The key is a super hot grill! Get your grill as hot as it will go and don’t be afraid that you are going to burn it. Since skirt steak is a thin cut of meat, you want a very hot fast cook to sear the meat on the outside and cook it through quickly without turning it to rubber. You will want to cook it for 3 to 4 minutes per side. You can move it around over the fire to get a nice consistent char on the surface of the meat.
Once the meat is cooked, take it off the grill and let it rest under foil for about 10 minutes before you slice it. This lets it finish cooking and also lets the juices redistribute in the meat to keep it juicy.
Slice It Up
Now it’s time to slice it, this is probably one of the most important steps of all! Skirt steak has to be sliced against the grain of the meat, it just has to. Since it is a tough and fibrous cut of meat if you slice it with the grain you will have long intact fibers that you will be chewing on for days! By cutting against the grain, you cut these fibers into short pieces that are easy to chew.
Be mindful that the grain can change direction so pay attention as you go to ensure that you aren’t slowly aligning yourself with the grain as you cut.
I prefer to cut mine between 1/4″ to 1/2″ thick. I also keep my knife vertical and don’t try for an angled cut. If you cut angled, you have a thin part that has short fibers and the thicker part has longer fibers which leads to more required chewing.
Sauce it Up
Skirt Steak is the type of meat you want to give a little extra TLC to for flavor and tenderness. It’s great when marinated with a simple olive oil, lime juice and salt and pepper mix or you can add extra pow to the meat with a chimichurri marinade. We’ve dressed it up with a tomato and avocado salsa also for great fresh flavor as well.
So here are the basics for cooking a perfect skirt steak.
- Heat your grill as hot as it will go. If using charcoal, be generous and build a nice hot fire.
- Season your skirt steak with salt and pepper or whatever seasonings you plan on using.
- Grill your skirt steak on 3 to 4 minutes per side. This varies by thickness and the heat of your flame so I can’t give you an exact time here. You can move it around a few times if you need to so that it gets an even char.
- Remove the skirt steak from the grill and let rest under foil for about 10 minutes.
- Slice it nice and thin against the grain. This is about the most important step! Slice against the grain!
Give this recipe a try and let us know how you like it.