HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
What's your latest food quest? Share your adventure

Skirt Steak Slicing?

LMT Oct 17, 2009 03:44 PM

Why is it that almost every recipe I've seen with skirt steak calls for it to be sliced thinly, against the grain? I just made a pan-fried skirt steak with a wine-butter sauce that was served as a traditional steak. That is, the person eating it sliced it as they would a strip teak (or filet, or ribeye, etc.). It was excellent.

It was no more "chewy" than a strip steak, yet the flavor was delicious. For me, the texture was good as well. I'm curious on some thoughts here (do you agree or not?). Do you think recipes suggest this because skirt steak is usually made in some type of soft taco-style preparation?

Just curious.

  1. tommy Oct 17, 2009 03:57 PM

    it's chewy if cut with the grain, and most people don't know how to slice steak, so as someone writing a recipe it makes sense to suggest to slice it across the grain. skirt lends itself to this type of presentation as well, which is likely part of the thought process.

    cutting a skirt steak incorrectly will have a much greater impact that cutting a ribeye, or certainly a filet, incorrectly.

    1. todao Oct 17, 2009 07:18 PM

      I prefer to slice skirt steak across the grain but slightly on the oblique and paper thin.

      2 Replies
      1. re: todao
        monavano Oct 18, 2009 06:52 AM

        I do the same-against the grain and a slight angle for skirt, and flank steak too.

        1. re: monavano
          todao Oct 18, 2009 10:36 AM

          Thanks for noting the angular cut. I had forgotten to include that important part of the process (to expose more meat surface) in the description.

      2. jfood Oct 17, 2009 07:28 PM

        jfood has probably served 50 skirt steaks over the last two summers, he loves them. Before the marinade, he lays them flat and cuts into individual portions, 5-6". Then the marinade and onto the grill. A few minutes per side, some rest on the plate and he serves in a single piece on the plate. he lets the gusts cut as they please.

        Now if jfood were to slice he would absolutely slice against the grain and on a severe angle. The latter would be even more severe than the angle he uses on the flank steaks he also loves.

        11 Replies
        1. re: jfood
          tommy Oct 18, 2009 06:35 AM

          that severe angle will effectively lengthen the grain in each piece, rendering them more tough and chewy than if you didn't cut at an angle. it looks pretty, but i don't think it's very functional if you're looking for tender meat.

          1. re: tommy
            jfood Oct 18, 2009 06:47 AM

            Very good point tommy. the other end of the spectrum would be verticle cuts on a plate. jfood would take that trade while others might not.

            in any event he serves them as a whole chunk of steak, not cut at all.

            1. re: tommy
              todao Oct 18, 2009 10:41 AM

              I agree with your point, tommy, but as long as I maintain paper thin slices when slicing across the grain the effective lengthening of the meat fibers doesn't seem to make the meat intolerably chewy. The chewiness does become an issue if the slices get too thick however.

              1. re: todao
                tommy Oct 18, 2009 10:51 AM

                certainly stick with what works for you! i'm just adding some science to the discussion.

                1. re: tommy
                  phantomdoc Oct 20, 2009 01:00 PM

                  To make a sandwich I make several cuts across the grain, and then with the grain but do not go all the way through. I then flip the steak over and repeat the process. Makes it easy to take a bite and easy to chew while maintaining the single piece of meat.

            2. re: jfood
              Scargod Oct 19, 2009 08:09 AM

              So, you've outdone me by five. But how many hangers have you cooked?Kidding...
              Of these 50, did the tenderness vary? Tender is a bit subjective in my book. Some of us don't have sharp teeth any more! Perhaps no teef! I had some veal that was fork cutable...
              I don't mind a little bit of chewing so I haven't had too many skirt steaks (cooked rare-med-rare), that I have objected to, without slicing it thin. How about you? (Others, too) Has tenderness varied so much that you had to slice it thin?

              1. re: Scargod
                jfood Oct 19, 2009 08:19 AM

                Only 2 hangers but maybe tonight if butcher has one.

                The tenderness has been pretty consistent. Jfood marinades them for at least 8 hours in a glad bag in a bottled marinade name Wasabiyaki (he kids you not). When jfood eats skirts he seems to take smaller pieces thanwhen he eats a PH or strip.

                As far as the rest of your questions, ne molar gets a crown next week leaving only one molar as original equipment. Steak always med-rare and jfood has never needed to slice against the grain to serve. Flank steak of course is a different discussion.

                1. re: jfood
                  bagelman01 Oct 19, 2009 08:46 AM

                  To really confuse hounds...................
                  If it's an outside skirt, I slice against the grain, an inside skirt I slice with the grain (it's not as chewy).
                  Either way, that's my slicing in my individual dinner plate. Like jfood, I cook them in 6" lengths and serve 'whole'.

                  I marinate in a vinegarette

                  1. re: bagelman01
                    bushwickgirl Oct 20, 2009 10:12 AM

                    A serious inquiry: what's the difference between inside and outside skirt?
                    I'm assuming it's the in the same location on the animal but beyond that...

                    1. re: bushwickgirl
                      Scargod Oct 20, 2009 12:46 PM

                      Coulda swore there were some posts here and now, not. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/2771... may muddy the water.
                      I think the consensus is the inner skirt is tenderer. That's what Wikipedia says...
                      They are in the same location, sorta. The inner is inside the outer. That's four pieces of skirt per animal. Then there's the single "hanger" steak below.

                    2. re: bagelman01
                      CDouglas Oct 20, 2009 04:58 PM

                      For reference here is a post where inside/outside skirt was discussed. Good pictures showing the difference.


              2. mcel215 Oct 18, 2009 06:54 AM

                When I was a kid growing up, my parents served skirt steak all the time.

                It wasn't in vogue at the time, just one of the cheapest, tastiest cuts of steak. No one knew to cut it on the bias back then. It is a little chewier, when not cut against the grain. But, it doesn't affect the flavor one bit. ; )

                1. d
                  drlee_susquespine Oct 20, 2009 09:45 AM

                  I've been eating skirt steak longer than it's been cool (any south Texans will agree, it's the traditional tex-mex fajita meat). It's more in the prep. You have to beat it pretty good and marinate well and cook hot and fast.

                  Show Hidden Posts