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Skirt Steak

Any tips? I've tried it out and loved it, but I'm still working on my barbeque skills on this one. Seems to get more tender as it cooks, which I guess makes sense, since it's the same cut as brisket, right? Is this a matter of personal taste, or is there a right level of "doneness" for this cut?

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  1. Most emphatically it is not brisket:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skirt_steak

    I have had it cooked rare, I don't know if that is 'correct' but it is my taste. Some cuts, if you cook them well done, turn into a hockey puck. I don't know if this is the case here.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Louise

      I think the short answer is "yes -- skirt steak quickly turns into a hockey puck".

      The more complete answer is that when we talk about "low & slow" cooking making a brisket "fall apart tender" what we are really saying is that the embeded collagen melts away. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brisket

      Skirt steak has nearly no fat and no real collagen either -- its from that odd "middle of beast" portion of the animal that is neither chest (brisket) nor belly (flank) in packer terms it is the "plate" -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skirt_steak vs http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flank_steak vs http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brisket

      My guess is the ONLY way to actually tenderize it is through ENZYMATIC actions: http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN... but I know that when I get really well prepared fajitas that have been expertly cut/trimmed/sliced they are not excessively tough. The other possibility is that some grocers are selling hanger steaks as skirt steak -- and the appearanc eis so close that only an expert butcher would know the difference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanger_s...

      1. re: renov8r

        Actually once - you've seen both hanger steak and skirt steak, I think they are pretty easy to distinguish - skirt steak is thinner, longer and narrower than hanger steak as far as I can tell.

    2. Skirt Steak has nothing to do with brisket. It is a long, thin steak that is up to 3 ft long and probalby not more than 1/2 inch thick and maybe 5 inches wide. There is a very noticeable grain running width wise. The longer you cook it the tougher it gets, I don't think it should go much past rare or at the most medium rare. When I cook it, it takes barely 2-3 minutes per side for about rare plus (slightly more than rare).

      It sounds like you are talking about a different cut of steak.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ESNY

        Agree about the cooking of skirt steak - one of my favorite cuts. If I have time, I like to marinate in olive oil. red wine, fresh herbs that I have around - particularly oregano, garlic etc. It's a great cut for last minute work night dinners when you want to have something v. quick to cook.

      2. skirt steak is similar to flank or hanger steak. Most people marinate to help break down the fibers as they are pronounced. It is usually cooked quickly and I believe traditionally used for fajitas. However, I think this is another one of those cuts where you can also cook it forever in the slow cooker and it will be tender; anything in between will be tough.

        1. I am making skirt steak, or arrachera tomorrow for lunch/early dinner for Cinco De Mayo.... Get your butcher to run the trimmed skirt steak through the tenderizer he should have behind the counter(the machine in back with the pins or gears) It will really improve the tenderness.

          I marinate mine in fresh squeezed lime juice(2 limes) , minced garlic, minced/seeded jalapenos, kosher salt, and black pepper for a couple of hours before grilling. I grill it for about 4 mins per side at the most, and then let it sit 10-15 mins before slicing. Always tender and great. I learned the above recipie/technique from some coworkers from mexico I used to work with as a cook back in the day...

          As always great meat starts with a vistit to a great full service butcher shop. I have to give credit where credit is due. Thank you Polancics Meat & Tenderloin, Ottawa, IL.

          1. I think you have to understand some steer anatomy to appreciate skirt steak. On the hanging side, the skirt is a flap that is part of the animal that contains some of the organs (not important which). It is the same as the flap you see on a cut of pork spareribs. While the steer hangs aging, the skirt is exposed to the air and ages much faster than the rest of the side. If left until the side is ready to cut for retail, it is usually spoiled...dry, dark red, shriveled. Consequently, meat packers will go thru the plant and remove the skirts from the side before the skirts spoil. In the olden days, they would keep the skirts or give them to their friends. With the popularity of fajitas, they are now rather popular and expensive. Often, the skirt is cut from the side before properly aged, and it will be rather tough. The best skirts are deep red, and look almost spoiled. I prefer them marinated in teriyaki, but that is just a preference. When you buy skirt steak from a retailer, you takes your chances. If well aged and marinated, definitely cook rare or medium.