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Jun 26, 2008 05:22 PM

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.