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Beef Fajitas - want to use more tender cut than skirt steak...

Hi guys!
I want to make fajitas tomorrow and although they always turn out pretty good when I use the typical skirt steak, I am willing to spend the extra $$ on a more tender cut of meat. I know DH likes rib-eyes - can I just use that?

What recommendations do you have for other cuts and is there anything additional to keep in mind if straying from the chewy, less-tender cuts? (Such as marinating time, slicing, etc.)

Thanks!!

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  1. Filet mignon works if you like it - I'm not really a fan myself, as I find it too lean and rather flavorless. Hanger steak is quite tender if you don't overcook it - that might work well.

    I don't think of ribeye as being a particularly tender cut (though I love it). You might consider flank steak or flap meat for something new, although neither are really more tender than skirt.

    1 Reply
    1. re: biondanonima

      My first though was flap meat but definitely not really considered a particularly tender cut but would be great in fajitas.

    2. During the Summer I grill a lot of flank steak. When there are leftovers, I slice it thin and use for fajitas.

      I have never made skirt steak so I don't know how it compares to flank steak but flank has always worked out well for me. Sliced thin and against the grain.

      1. Flank, flap, sirloin. All great deals at Costco.
        Flap is the new flank at our house ;-)

        12 Replies
        1. re: monavano

          Sirloin Flap Meat is amazing. Almost as flavorful as skirt but more tender.

          But always remember to grill whole, rest, and then cut across the grain for serving. Don't pre-cut like a stir-fry. That guarantees added toughness.

          Not all Costcos have the Flap.

          I wouldn't recomment a rib-eye. You could grill one whole and then slice for service, but I think it lacks the intense flavor and frankly I think the texture is wrong for this use.

          On the other hand, I once asked the server at Lawry's, probably the #1 Prime Rib place in LA, what they did with all the leftovers, and he grinned and said, "Tacos, man!" So what do I know?

          1. re: acgold7

            DH grilled up a flap last night, and it was sublime. I ate way too much!
            Oh, and I used a soy and butter sauce that I made for wilted chard and shrooms.

            1. re: monavano

              <...drool...>

              I usually get the flaps by the four-pack in the cryo when Depot has them on sale. They mark them down as they approach their pull date so we generally get them for three or four bucks a pound. Sometimes I freeze a couple but often we just blast through them over the course of a couple of weeks.

              I grill them whole and the first time we did one my 17-year-old saw it and asked what it was. I told him it was skate wing. He bought it for a couple of minutes before he caught on and called me an a**hole.

              1. re: acgold7

                I wish my local Depot had sirloin flap.

            2. re: acgold7

              Flap is my 2nd favorite steak cut, after hanger. Whole Foods usually sells flap though in my experience it's often mislabeled.

            3. re: monavano

              I've been buying flap at Costco but it's near the same price as strip steak

              1. re: scubadoo97

                Yes, flap meat at Costco has gone way up lately - I'm sure part of it is increased popularity, but all beef prices have been rising.

                1. re: biondanonima

                  Actually flap's been that price for the last few years. Those NY strips are just a great deal. Especially when they look like this

                   
                    1. re: scubadoo97

                      Interesting. At our end of the country, at Costco the NY strip is about $1 more per pound than the Flap, within the same grade. If you move up to the Choice strip, it's about $1.50 more.

                      1. re: acgold7

                        At whole foods flap is sold at sirloin prices

                        1. re: acgold7

                          If you Google "Boxed Beef Prices" the latest trade price for each cut will be listed. I have found R.D. to be about 20% - 25% higher than the trade price (their markup).

                          Currently trade price for 180 choice strip is $6.10 and 185A choice flap is $4.50 so your Costco price spread is pretty much on the mark.

                          At this time of the year, the trade price of 180 choice strip is normally high $4 to low $5. Me thinks grilling is going to be an expensive endeavor this summer when the typical 25% Memorial Day price jump kicks in.

                          Might be worth stocking up now, dry, portion & and vacuum seal for the summer.

                2. I prefer arrachera (flank steak). Don't overdo the acid in the marinade, or marinate too long (1 hr. Is sufficient). My favorite is pineapple juice since it's both an acid, and has tenderizing enzymes. Grill fast, and hot and pull @ mid-rare. Tent loosely and let rest (15 mins.). Slice thinly on the bias, and against the grain.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: letsindulge

                    Arrachera is flap meat, not flank steak.

                    ETA: Many sources refer to arrachera as flank or skirt steak. But at the carnicerias I frequent, it's flap meat.

                  2. If you have a lot of time try using flaken cut short ribs.

                    1. We like to use sirloin.

                      1. I slice up a grilled NY strip after resting

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: hal2010

                          That would work. I still like the idea of using filet mignon. The good thing about filet mignon is that it will accept any flavor that is added to it. You could do whatever fajita spice you like on sliced up FM and cook it real fast over a very hot flame. Leave it a bit pink. Sounds delicious to me, but perhaps expensive.

                          Just for fun, I yahoo'ed "filet mignon fajitas" and there's a bunch of hits. didn't know people were already doing this.

                          1. re: rudeboy

                            Wow, an expensive taco right there.....

                            1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                              Sure - I guess it depends on: 1) Number of people eating; 2) How much meat vs other items; and, 3) How much money you have!

                        2. You may want to try hanger steak. It is difficult to find because there is only per animal attached to the diaphragm. I had did for the 1st time at a restaurant in Phoenixville, PA. it was well prepared and delicious. Here is a statement from wikipedia.

                          "Hanger steak resembles flank steak in texture and flavor. It is a vaguely V-shaped pair of muscles with a long, inedible membrane down the middle. The hanger steak is usually the tenderest cut on an animal and is best marinated and cooked quickly over high heat (grilled or broiled) and served rare or medium rare, to avoid toughness."

                          We had hanger steak last week for dinner at home. I do not remember encountering an inedible membrane. It was marinated with homemade teriyaki sauce.

                          It may be necessary to special order this cut of beef from a meat market. My wife buys it when it is available from Whole Foods once in a while for a special occasion.

                          Buon appetito!

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: ChiliDude

                            If and when I can get my hands on hanger steak, I don't use it in fajitas!

                            1. re: monavano

                              Absolutely. That's for eating straight up.

                              As usual, wiki is a little off. It's not the tenderest cut on the animal, but it may be the best combo of tender and flavor when properly prepared.

                              If CD didn't encounter the cartilaginous membrane, it may have been trimmed out already. You can't miss it if it's there.

                              Interestingly, the wiki article does point out that the Brits call it skirt, the Texas a form of fajitas, and in Mexico it is eaten as Tacos. If that part isn't wrong too.

                              1. re: acgold7

                                I think around where I live in the U.S., hangar has taken on a more desired cut status. It's no longer for the butcher's family!
                                Happens all the time ;-(

                                1. re: monavano

                                  Like beef short ribs here. Everyone is smoking them. Hell, filet mignon is cheaper on a $ per bite basis.

                          2. Flat iron
                            Flap meat
                            Hangar
                            Tri tip, if you can find it

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                              Wegmans had 2 angus tri -tips marked down from $12.99 a pound to $6.99 a pound yesterday... the first one was very tender on the grill last night( leftover sandwiches soon), second one in is in the freezer!

                              1. re: Raffles

                                I've never had tri-tip, I should give it a try. I've always read it's best grilled and I don't do much grilling but love sirloin cuts so would probably enjoy it.

                                1. re: fldhkybnva

                                  Good luck on finding Tri-Tip. We in De almost never see it in the meat coolers. We found it twice in Sams club and only 2 of em left one time, yup, we bought them both. Very disheartening.

                                  1. re: Nanzi

                                    If you or anyone you know has a business license, try Restaurant Depot. They always have it.

                                    Edit: Stand corrected. None at my local RD this week. Costco Business has it, but none of those in your area. Oops.

                                    But everyone has flap and it's cheaper.

                                    1. re: acgold7

                                      Checked the Philadelphia RD today, No flap. MGR said they do get requests for them but not enough to merit bringing in large quantities. Must be a regional thing.

                                      He did let me open 2 cases of Excel Angus & I scored 3 real nice 0x1 choice striploins that were borderline prime @ $7.40 lb. which I think will be a bargain soon.

                              2. Lots of good suggestions already -- I especially like the short rib and hangar steak ideas -- but if you want to go the economic route, how about Top Round?

                                Pop the top round into the freezer (wrapped of course) for about an hour (depending on the thickness) to make it easier to slice thin, then slice it thin, marinate as you normally would (or would not), then grill as you normally would.

                                1. A very informative thread. You can't go wrong with ribeye, which of course is the original for Philly cheese steaks. I have had mixed results with skirt steaks, both the inner and outer, but when they are good, maybe half the time, they are extraordinary. The best I have had were in Mexico from beef from Argentina. The U.S. imports very little beef from Argentina, that's a different story.

                                  1. Hit any cut with a Jaccard and then marinate in a little "fresh" pineapple juice or other tenderizer and your good to go.

                                    1. Well, now we're all wondering, ThePiglet: what the hell did you do?

                                      1. I like the suggestion of flatiron. Think I'd follow my strategy for steak and eggs: grill the whole steak(s) to medium-rare, cool to room temp, then slice and re-grill. Marinating could be done before either step; my choice would be after it's all sliced, briefly. Oh, and I just remembered that Trader Joe's has marinated flatirons, but they're a lot more expensive than what the Kroger affiliates sell their plain ones for.