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Skirt steak??

Is a skirt steak a flank steak?

I see it on menus always, and I always get a different answer!

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  1. Similar, but not exactly the same. Here's a beef cuts ID diagram from OK State's animal science dept: http://www.ansi.okstate.edu/resource-...

      1. re: Angelina

        The skirt steak is not labeled on the above diagram. It is part of the 'short plate', in front of the flank.

      2. while, I do not see skirt steak on the diagram I think if I recall one of my butchers (at our local market with many beef vendors) telling me, that the skirt steak is from around the throat area. Skirt steak has a ton of flavor, and is not as lean as flank. like flank, it should be cut across the grain. it is a must for authentic tacos or frajitas.

        1 Reply
        1. re: lyn

          The skirt steak is not labeled on the above diagram. It is part of the 'short plate', in front of the flank.

        2. according to my butcher it is the diaphragm.

          1. OK steer-geography aside the skirt steak is a great cut of meat. You can either marinate (lots of other threads about choices) or just season and cook 3-4 minutes per side on the grill for medium rare. As opposed to flank I do not slice it but serve in chucks. The flanks I either marinade or season and grill longer than skirts since it is a much thicker cut and then I do slice against the grain.

            1 Reply
            1. re: jfood

              I agree. Skirt steak is my favorite cut of meat. A good one, anyway. One that is well marbled. It can be grilled or fried in a very hot cast iron skillet (salt and peppered first) for a verrrry short time. It's best rare. It's tasty and chewy and must be cut against the grain or it's like eating rubber bands.

              Great with just a big green salad and garlic bread.

            2. The skirt is a strip of the diaphram, the muscle that separates the lungs from the stomach. On a hanging side, the skirt is exposed to air while aging. If left on until side or quarter cutting, it is so aged as to be almost rotten. The practice in meat packing plants is to remove the skirt while the side is still aging. Before the fajita craze, skirts were taken home by the meat cutter or given to friends. They were, consequently, cheap. No more. For years I got free skirts from a friend who was a wholesaler. The problem lies with the judgment of the person removing the skirt. Very often it is removed too soon, and has little flavor. A good skirt should look just awful...deep red and dry in spots. Some fat is good, and it should be marinated and cooked quickly.

              4 Replies
              1. re: OldTimer

                great information. I never knew any of that... except that I've had skirt of hugely varying quality. Now I know one reason why that may have been.

                if only skirt were still as cheap as it was even 5 or 6 years ago...

                1. re: adamclyde

                  I wish that it were cheaper as well. However, it's a lot cheaper than the more "normal" steaks. That's what I say to myself when I buy it. Look over at the $10/lb. rib eyes. Skirt steak is nearly half that.

                2. re: OldTimer

                  So, one question I have is; is skirt steak the same as hanger steak?

                  1. re: chowetta

                    No. They're both from the diaphragm, but the skirt is split with the sides, so that there are two whole skirts to a cow. The hanger is a part that "hangs" in the middle, and there is only one to a cow. The skirt is from the plate, which is ahead of the flank.

                3. If you like carne asada and want to cook it yourself in a Mexican fashion, it's always good to go to a Mexican butcher and ask for 'arrachera', the Mexican term for skirt steak, which they will slice very thinly if you like. Best way to use is to marinate for about an hour in a paste made of white onion, lime and salt and then throw on a very hot grill approx one minute per side. Yum!
                  Flank is not the same but often substituted when skirt is not available.

                  1. I made skirt steak and flank steak for fajitas, and both were tough.

                    1) Do I slice cross grain, or diagonal to the grain?
                    2)for skirt steak what is the max time for marinade? Does anyone have a good carne asada marinade?

                    3)I live in an apt and don't have a grill. I have a cast iron skillet. Will meat be tender on top of stove?

                    4) Is meat put in dry pan or w/ oil?

                    any help greatly appreciated.


                    1 Reply
                    1. re: gpete

                      1) definitely slice across the grain - not with it. Do it at a bias (not perpendicular to the table) and it will help too. The point is to cut or break up as many "threads" of meat, thus making it more tender and less chewy.

                      2) the time in the marinade depends totally on your marinade. If you are using a marinade high in oil and low in acid (lemon, vinegar, etc.) then you can marinade much longer - like a day. If it is high in acid, much less longer.

                      2a) my carne asada goes something like this: chop a handful of jalapenos, 4 cloves of garlic, juice two lime, add in plenty of salt and freshly cracked pepper. Stir it all up with minimal oil (like 1-2 TB). Spread it over the skirt steak. It only needs an hour with that, since it is higher in acid. I actually only marinade it long enough for my coals to get ready. probably 40 minutes. Then grill it (or pan sear it in your case) super hot. Get a great sear on both sides and it is done.

                      3) yes, you can get tender skirt in a skillet. Get the cast iron hot - let it get hot for 5 minutes prior. Then, add in a small amount of oil and the meat directly afterwards. (Turn on your exhaust... it will smoke). Get a great sear on both sides, then remove it and let it rest without touching it for 5 minutes (you can loosely cover with foil). Cut it on a bias against the grain and it will be tender. With skirt, it can't be well done. Do it medium rare.

                      4) as mentioned above, a pan with just enough oil to prevent sticking will be fine. if you oil the meat, and your cast iron pan is sufficiently seasoned, that could be enough. I use a tad more for insurance.

                      good luck!