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Where can I find fresh cow diaphragm?

trymonlam Jun 26, 2008 05:22 PM

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?

  1. g
    gordeaux Jun 26, 2008 06:36 PM

    you may be looking for skirt steak?

    2 Replies
    1. re: gordeaux
      scubadoo97 Jun 26, 2008 07:22 PM


      1. re: scubadoo97
        chefschickie Jun 26, 2008 07:30 PM

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

    2. w
      Whippet Jun 26, 2008 09:53 PM

      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. p
        phantomdoc Jun 27, 2008 02:11 AM

        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
          tatamagouche Jun 27, 2008 06:30 AM

          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
            dolores Jun 27, 2008 06:34 AM

            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
              lisavf Jun 27, 2008 06:49 AM

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

              1. re: lisavf
                tatamagouche Jun 27, 2008 06:53 AM

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

                1. re: tatamagouche
                  lisavf Jun 27, 2008 07:02 AM

                  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
                    MMRuth Jun 27, 2008 07:04 AM

                    This is interesting:


                    Apparently only part of the skirt steak is the diaphragm.

                  2. re: tatamagouche
                    ricepad Jun 27, 2008 09:33 AM

                    Somebody who wants to show off his anatomy vocabulary.

                    1. re: ricepad
                      gobybicycle Mar 15, 2011 10:33 PM

                      Someone who wants to understand how to cook it.

                2. re: dolores
                  LRunkle Jun 27, 2008 06:49 AM

                  Filet mignon is the ileo-psoas muscle.

                  1. re: LRunkle
                    phantomdoc Jun 27, 2008 07:40 AM

                    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
                      GodfatherofLunch Jun 27, 2008 07:56 AM

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

                3. re: phantomdoc
                  kaleokahu Mar 16, 2011 10:57 AM

                  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. Miss Needle Jun 27, 2008 10:17 AM

                  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. babette feasts Jun 27, 2008 07:48 PM

                    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
                      EdwardAdams Jun 28, 2008 09:37 AM

                      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
                        paulj Jun 28, 2008 04:56 PM

                        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. applehome Jun 29, 2008 11:22 PM

                      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
                        trymonlam Jun 30, 2008 11:27 PM

                        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
                          FoodFuser Mar 16, 2011 09:15 AM

                          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.

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