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How do you make skirt steaks tender?

I love the beefiness of the meat but it's almost impossible to cut as well as chew. I bought some the other day, put my rub on them and tossed them on the grill for a few minutes on each side. It was like eating the proverbial shoe. The only way to swallow was to cut pieces small enough. Would a few days in a marinade make a difference?

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  1. It's just a matter of slicing it thinly and against the grain.

    2 Replies
    1. re: caganer

      Especially against the grain.

      1. re: sr44

        In Argentina. Uruguay, and other countries where they are especially popular, skirts are often served on long, narrow wood planks with a serious steak knife to enable the slicing. When prepared correctly from good beef, it is a wonderful experience. Flavorful, and never dry.

    2. Mucho, there is an inner and an outer skirt, and debate about which is preferable. The inner has a more purplish color, and may have a membrane that should have been removed during the butchering process. An overnight marinade is a good idea. Also, choose one with the most fat and marbling, and grill it really hot for a very short time. Goes well with a chimichurri sauce.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Veggo

        I Always choose the one with the most fat. That's the best part. What sort of marinade would not detract from the beefiness? I tried cutting across the grain but found it easier to pull pieces off along the grain. Also love a good chimichurri; just sounds like there's too much prep involved. A co-worker from Argentina used to make a jar for me. It wasn't the spicy kind but tasted great.

      2. Pounding, combined with acid.....citrus, wine, vinegar...

        That's how the Latin cooks handle it.

        Asians will use soy sauce and Baking power.... or Kiwi Fruit/Papaya

        1. I've experienced this with skirt steak before. Removed membrane, rubbed, cooked very hot and fast, cut across the grain and biased, and was rewarded with shoe leather.

          I think long marinades can help but at least in my experience the variance in quslity with skirt is quite large.

          Perhaps I don't know what to look for when purchasing skirt steak.

          1. One of the things I like about skirt steak is its chewiness. It shouldn't be tough as shoe leather, but it should be chewier than most steaks. As said by others, get the fattiest skirt you can find. I marinate it in citrus juices...orange and lime, sometimes grapefruit, sometimes added pineapple if I have it. I barely add any olive oil to the marinade, as the steak is so fatty. Usually some chipotle tabasco and some sugar. I grill it very hot....make sure it has a nice glazed crust, but I have to eat it medium well. I'm OK with lean steaks being medium or medium rare, but fatty stuff has to be more done. Use the best steak knife you have, and cut it across the grain into small pieces before you eat it. I always like a chimichurri. I make mine from 1 bunch cilantro, 1 bunch mint, 1 red onion, a hot pepper, juice of half a lime, and lots of olive oil. I'm making myself hungry now!