Have you met my friend the skirt steak? It’s a weeknight-go-to for us.
Most people think of cooking skirt steak with fajitas and Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches, but there’s so much more.
Skirt steak is wonderful cut of meat with a bold beefy flavor. One of the reasons we love it for weeknights is because it cooks really really fast, and it tastes great cooking it on the grill or a skillet.
Personally, I think the skirt steak is an unsung hero among steaks. It reminds me of when you’re a kid on the playground picking people to be on your kickball team. You pick all of the cool kids first (that’s the filet, strip and ribeye for this analogy), and the person you pick last turns out to be the star player. That’s the skirt steak.
What is skirt steak?
The skirt steak comes from the “plate” primal cut of beef, which is just below the ribs. It’s a long and flat cut of beef. Sometimes people call it a Philadelphia Steak because it’s usually used in the sandwich, but in the Midwest, it’s usually known as a skirt.
The Skirt Steak is from the diaphragm muscle of the cow, and that’s a really hardworking muscle. As we’ve talked about before, hardworking muscles are usually tougher, and that’s definitely true for the skirt steak.
However, don’t let “tough” stop you from using this cut of beef. You can make it a tenderer cut of beef simply by how you cook skirt steak and cut it.
When you purchase a skirt steak from us, it will be rolled-up like this.
When you unroll it, you’ll see a long and flat piece of beef.
There will be fat on both sides and also a thin membrane that you can easily remove with a knife. Don’t stress about removing all of the fat or membrane. It will literally melt away as you cook the skirt steak.
Plus, fat equals flavor! Leave a little fat if you want an even bolder beefy flavor.
How to Cook Skirt Steak
It’s easy to grill or pan sear a skirt steak. The secret for both methods is to cook skirt steak fast over high heat.
I’m not really sure why, but we usually end up pan searing (not grilling) skirt steak, and I really like that method since it caramelizes the outside a little and locks in the flavor.
To sear on the stove, start with a really hot skillet and add a little vegetable oil. While the oil is heating, generously season your beef with salt and pepper.
When the oil is really hot (just before it is smoking), place your meat in the pan. Let it sear for about three minutes, and then flip it and sear it on the other side for about three minutes.
I know that this may not seem like a long time, but remember this is a thin piece of meat. You don’t want to overcook skirt steak. After searing it, remove the meat from the heat and let it rest.
Great job! You’ve just cooked the skirt steak correctly. Now, the most important part is to cut it correctly to make sure it’s tender.
Skirt steak should be cut in thin pieces against the grain. Some cuts are more forgiving if you cut with the grain, but not the skirt steak.
Make sure to cut it against the grain. This will help shorten the meat fibers and make it tenderer when you eat it.
Easy Skirt Steak Recipes
Here are a few of our favorite go-to skirt steak recipes from around the web:
- Brazilian Skirt Steak with Garlic Butter
- Fiesta Steak and Rice
- Jamaican-Styled Jerky Steak Bowl
- Philly Cheesesteak