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Where can I find fresh cow diaphragm?

A friend told me about the crazy good taste of cow diaphragm. I suppose that would be a very difficult offal cut to find. anyone got any idea where i can find it? ordering online maybe? I live in MA, spent my weekend in southern CT and NYC. any place in these places might have it?

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  1. you may be looking for skirt steak?

    2 Replies
      1. re: scubadoo97

        Was gonna say the same thing..... Skirt Steak

    1. It may sound like offal, but the diaphragm is a muscle -- the same one you use to expand your thoracic cavity downwards when you inhale.

      1. Skirt steak is diaphragm. Found in every supermarket. Must be properly cooked. Grilled or fried with garlic. Restaurants frequently call it romainian steak. Mexican carne asada or beef fajita.

        12 Replies
        1. re: phantomdoc

          You guys all sound familiar with the term "diaphragm," which I must admit first made me giggle, b/c I'm very immature. I mean, I'm familiar with the anatomical term in conversations about human breath, but not in conversations about beef. Who calls skirt steak the diaphragm? Butchers? Vendors from a particular ethnic background b/c the word is similar to that in their language? Foodie showoffs (no offense to the OP's friend)? Etc. Just curious about the jargon.

          1. re: tatamagouche

            I'm curious too. What would make someone refer to skirt steak as the cow's diaphragm? It will give me pause when I see it on a menu from hereon, for sure.

            I hope a filet mignon isn't really a cow's esophagus.

            1. re: dolores

              Skirt steak IS the cow's diaphragm just like sweetbread is the thymus gland and ribs are, well, ribs.

              1. re: lisavf

                I understand, but I'm asking who *calls* it that.

                1. re: tatamagouche

                  Yeah, it would be a little odd to call it that in normal conversation. Good to know what it is, but not the usual term of reference, except perhaps in a cooking instructional article or video, which is where I believe I learned of it.

                  1. re: lisavf

                    This is interesting:


                    Apparently only part of the skirt steak is the diaphragm.

                  2. re: tatamagouche

                    Somebody who wants to show off his anatomy vocabulary.

                    1. re: ricepad

                      Someone who wants to understand how to cook it.

                2. re: dolores

                  Filet mignon is the ileo-psoas muscle.

                  1. re: LRunkle

                    When I was growing up, in the 1950's skirt steak was a cheap cut. The term diaphragm appeared on the label in the market under the the name skirt steak.

                    1. re: LRunkle

                      beef navel? - is the traditional cut for pastrami, the navel is sometimes called plate.
                      Go figure!!!!! Who knew?

                3. re: phantomdoc

                  Clarification from butcher's son: The *outside* skirt steak is is *part* of the diaphagm. There is also an inside skirt that is not part of the diaphragm. They are both part of the plate, but are different.

                  My fave: Marinate the steak. Season, roll tightly perpendicular to the grain, and wooden skewer through every 2 inches. Cut individual rolls between the skewers. Season, sear both sides, and finish in 400F oven. Peppercorn sauce or maitre 'd butter optional.

                4. You know, I've read different things about it. One source says the diaphragm is skirt steak. Another says the tougher part of the skirt steak is the diaphragm. And yet another source says skirt steak is the muscle that's attached to the diaphragm.

                  1. I'm not much of a beef eater - is skirt steak the same as hangar steak? In restaurants where we served hangar steak, it came in boxes labeled 'diaphragmatic beef'.

                    Otherwise, if you're looking for odd internal bits that you'd never dreamt of cooking, a good Asian supermarket is the place to go.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: babette feasts

                      In Asian markets, skirt steak is often called "flap meat" and I have seen the same cut in regular and pounded very thin versions. Hangar steak is a different cut and is found inside the carcass, where it "hangs".

                      Whether any of these cuts are actually the breathing diaphragm is unclear to me. A tour of the internet doesn't help much because some assert that it is and others do not. I'm inclined to think of flap or skirt steak as "belly meat" rather than the breathing muscle between the heart and the liver. It just seems to have the wrong texture for that purpose.

                      1. re: EdwardAdams

                        I've also bought 'drop flank' from an Asian grocery. It looks like diaphragm complete with the tough connective tissue. With long cooking it makes a good stew with lots of texture contrasts.


                    2. Bovine myology site from U Nebraska/Lincoln - complete with NAMP/IMPS cut ID's and primal/sub-primal breakdowns and videos (needs macromedia):


                      "The Outside Skirt (diaphragm) is a trimmed, boneless portion of the diaphragm muscle, which is attached at an angle to the 6th through 12th ribs on the underside of the short plate. The outside skirt is removed from the short plate in one piece. The ends are "squared" so that the finished cut is approximately rectangular. The membrane is left attached to the "top and bottom" portion of the cut."

                      Most of the time, we are buying IMPS 121E, which is a skinned version.

                      There is a difference between the outside and inside skirt. The diaphragm is the outside skirt. The inside skirt is the "trimmed, boneless portion of the transversus abdominus muscle, which lies immediately adjacent to the costal cartilage in the short plate and extends into the flank primal." It is IMPS 121D.

                      Also from their glossary:

                      "Diaphragm - the large sheet of muscle and facia that separates the thoracic (chest) and abdominal (belly) cavities. This muscle may be commonly called the outside skirt."

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: applehome

                        just to clear this, the reason that i used the word cow diaphragm in my original question is that, When I was told about this part of meat, the conversation was carried out in a language other than english. so a direct translation of the subject of the matter became: cow diaphragm.
                        So it's Skirt steak and then some. alright. Thanks, guys.

                        1. re: applehome

                          Here just 2.5 years later I must give assert,
                          like Applehome said, you're lookin' for skirt.

                          So pop up that website on bovine myology
                          (best site there is)
                          and slap wireless laptop upon butcher's glass
                          and talk.

                          Best bet is a store that trims meat for Hispanics.
                          They will have desired muscle.

                          And you can walk out with both diaphragm and skirt,
                          providing for night of good steak.