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May 27, 2006 11:20 AM

Flank Steak vs. Skirt Steak

  • l

I found information online that flank steak and skirt steak are more or less from the same part of the cow between the ribs and the hip, skirt steak being the diaphragm muscle. But can someone provide more information on the difference flavor-wise and in terms of use? I'm thinking about fajitas -- usually calls for skirt steak but would using flank steak make a big difference?

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  1. I have used both without any problems. Normally the skirt steak I get at the Mexican meat markets is much thinner than a flank steak. Still, if properly marinated and sliced thin after cooking, a flank steak will work just fine.

    1. diaphram would be onglet(hanger). skirt is used for fajitas, carne asada-there is both outside and inside skirt. streaky,thin,fatty, good.

      Flank would be the classic london broil-thicker, meatier, good ;).

      Find a mexican market if ya can. Look for carne ranchera(skirt).

      3 Replies
      1. re: dano

        Skirt and hanger are both parts of the diaphragm muscle. There is only one piece of hanger in the middle, while the skirt stretches on both sides - you wouldn't really expect something the size of an onglet to do the job of a diaphragm on a cow.

        I defintely agree that Flank doesn't work as well for fajitas. As far as carne asada, I've seen all kinds of meat used - my favorite is a thin cut rib steak.


        1. re: dano

          Skirt diaphragm steak is *not* onglet (hanger). Very different cut.

          1. re: dano

            Any idea what 'drop flank' is? I've bought it at an Asian grocery. It is thin, with connective tissue on both sides. It makes an interesting stew if cooked long enough to soften the connective tissue (especially if you like dishes like menudo).


          2. Skirt steak is a fattier, meatier tasting piece of steak. It looks sort of like an accordian with very defined grain and a whole one is maybe 3 inches wide, 2 feet long and not much more than 1/2 inch thick. It is one of my favorite steaks flavorwise and takes only 3 minutes to cook.

            Flank steak is also meaty tasting but much leaner. Similar to skirt, it shouldn't be cooked much more than rare. it needs to be sliced thinly across the grain or it would be terribly tough. All in all, it is a very good, beefy steak that is pretty economical, especially considering the recent press on skirt steak which has increased the price of skirt. In NYC at a butcher skirt steak now sells for maybe $5-8 lb while flank steak is $3-5 lbs.

            I'd think skirt steak would make a better fajita because it is beefier and more unctuous and might shine better through the toppings. If you do decide to use flank steak, cook it whole to a rare/med rare temp and slice very thinly across the grain.

            1. every other sunday is hanger steak at our house. I cut into 4-5" segments and marinate in a bottled sauce called Wasabiyaki for a couple of hours. then i grill medium (4-5 min/side)even though every thing else i cook is med-rare. i do not slice on/against grain but serve as a piece. everyone asks for more. If i were to substitute flank i would marinate longer and shoot for pink inside and slice thin against the grain.