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May 5, 2007 02:06 PM

"Skirt steak" that maybe isn't... what is this beef and what do I do with it?

Help! At the farmer's makret last week I bought this frozen beef that said skirt steak. I read threads about it here and looked at pictures of it at epicurious dot com, and I don't think what I have is the same.

Here's what I have: a stringy, yard-long, roughly three-inch-wide piece of beef with some fat attached. It was folded accordian-like into a vaguely steak-like shape around eight inches long when I got it. Stupidly, I didn't ask the farmer anything about how to cook it.

I marinated it in balsamic with chpped shallots, cumin, s/p, and a trace of olive oil. I was intending to grill it. Please advise, speculate, ruminate on your own mystery cuts (successes OR failures)... TIA!

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  1. Yes, it sounds like skirt steak. Grilling/searing is the best way to cook it. High heat and preferably cooked to medium -rare. Let rest. Slice thin, across the grain and on a bias for the most tender cuts.

    12 Replies
    1. re: monavano

      Thank you so much! Okay, here's the thing: I unfolded it, trying to figure it out & to let the marinade get all over it. Is there any trick to refoding it?

      1. re: Mawrter

        You don't want to re-fold it. It's a very long, thin and stringy cut of meat. Instead, cut it in half and lay each half flat on the grill. Probably wont need more than 1-2 minutes each side due to it being so thin. Again, overcooking will not result in a good tasting steak. Hopefully you're not shy of med/rare!

        1. re: monavano

          Really? This just gets weirder and weirder. It's like as thin as a paillard or veal parm - thinner, actually.

          Thanks again!

          1. re: Mawrter

            Yes, it's very thin. It's generally used for fajitas. Here's a link with a pic and description.

            1. re: Mawrter

              jfood usually cuts the skirt into 3-4 sections, marinades and cooks on medium on a weber for 3 minutes per side. then serve in chunk. one of our favorite cuts.

              1. re: jfood

                Thanks, both of you. It is hard to envision anyone calling what I have a "chunk," no matter how you cut it up... it's already extremely thin.

                1. re: Mawrter

                  With as thin as your cut has been pounded, it's probably best for fajitas as stated about, or rolled. As an aside, Costco carries a couple rolled skirt steak ready to cook meals. One had feta, spinach and roasted red pepper. Another version had mushroom duxelle. You just roll, ties, place on lined pan and pop in 350 degree oven for 35 minutes or so. They are very tasty that way.
                  If you like the merchant at the farmer's market,you may want to request a skirt that is a bit thicker, so it can be grilled. Yours' will still be ok, just sear it quickly and slice on a heavy bias/angle.
                  Let us know how it turns out!

                  1. re: monavano

                    Okay, you all rock !

                    Thanks for all the ideas, hand-holding, interpreatation, etc. The rolling up idea sounds very good for my next attempt.

                    We cranked the grill (weber gas) as high as it would go and did 2-3 minutes per side. I would have like it more seared-on-the-outside/rae-on-the-inside, but that was a grill limitation, not about the goodness of the recipe/advice.

                    AND... I have pictures! Blurry ones, unfortunately. Attached are the two best of the bunch. The other things on the plate are steamed potatoes (olive oil, s/p) and Swiss chard with carmelized onions and garlic (olive oil, s/p).

                    Thanks again - I'm saving this thread for forever! So helpful!

                2. re: jfood

                  The Mexicans have a dish called "arrachera", which starts with skirt steak and makes it into something really tender and tasty. I don't have a recipe, but it might be worth your trying to find one.

                  1. re: ekammin

                    I just made arracheras for dinner tonight. It's sort of like the "real" fajitas. For 2-2 1/2 lb. skirt steak I marinate for 6-8 hours in the juice of 6 limes, 2-3 minced pickled jalapenso, and 6 cloves of garlic, minced. Remove from the refirgerator 45 minutes before cooking, drain, salt, and let sit out. Grill 5-6 minutes per side, or until done, and serve with grilled onions, with or without tortillas.

                    We also like skirt steak without any marinade whatsoever, just a good sprinkling of garlic powder and a little salt before grilling/broiling. If it's good quality meat it doesn't need a marinade - the meat is so flavorful by itself. The chewy texture has its own appeal,

                    1. re: rockycat

                      1/2 c red vinegar, 5 cloves chopped garlic, 1 thinly sliced white onion, 2 tsp crushed in your hand mexicanoregano, 1/4 cup olive oil, 3 T water, 3 juicy limes. Let the meat marinade overnight if you can in a gal size ziploc.
                      Salt and pepper of course right before bbq, and then a very quick turn on the bbq keep it med rare. Serve with chopped cilantro, chopped onion, and sliced serranos and lime along with nice warm flour tortillas. And rockycat is right, the chew is the beauty of this cut of meat, so so good...

                  2. re: jfood

                    Grill fast at high heat. Love that stuff in tortillas. One of my fave marinades is a bunch of lime juice and Cumin nad garlic. I marinade skirt steak over night. V yummy with salsa nad sour cream with green cabbage in a tortilla. awesome for parties since skirt steak is so damn big!

          2. Two suggestions, for this cut that I love. (1) When marinating, I score the meat, cross-hatch, to allow the marinade to penetrate more deeply and to reduce marinading and cooking time. (2) For a marinade, I make a simple red wine "vinaigrette": red wine vinaigre, olive oil, pepper, garlic, and either rosemary or thyme. I find that an hour is enough. Drain and dry it, then salt it (use ONLY coarse sea salt), and into the pan or on to the grill. I usually do it at medium high, in a pan, with a tbsp olive oil, a couple of minutes per side, let it rest and do a red wine reduction with a monter au beurre. Easy peasy, and delicious.

            1. The last time I went to Stater Bros. for meat, I pointed and requested the skirt steak. The butcher replied that it was not skirt steak, but "flap meat." It was a bit thinner than a regular skirt steak would be. Fixed it like I would a skirt, marinade and fast grill, and it was great. But, like they say, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and sounds like a duck, it's a duck! Maybe the same guy changed the name to flap meat that changed pork butt to pork shoulder!

              1. Skirt steak... is that the same as flank steak? Pretty similar, at least...

                My favorite thing to make with flank steak is fajitas (have one in the fridge I intend to marinate tonight). For my marinade, I use a good bit of lime juice, some chopped green onions, some mashed and chopped garlic, oil, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, ground toasted cumin and coriander, and... I think that's about it. Oh yes, some worcestershire and soy sauce.

                Pound it out a bit, marinate overnight, and grill or broil well done (yes, I know... I never cook any other meat WD, but it just seems to work with fajitas). Slice against the grain, and mix in with some sauteed onion, red and green bell peppers. I always serve with sour cream, guacamole, and some homemade salsa.

                1 Reply
                1. re: AbdulSheikhMohammed

                  Damn ASM, you just made me crave steak fajitas.
                  *goes off to marinate some steak*