How To Cook Grass Fed Skirt Steak
Skirt steak can be a difficult cut to decipher at first. Sometimes confused with flank because of its similar properties, there are really two distinct cuts from the diaphragm of the steer.
The outside skirt steak is from the plate section, below the rib and between the brisket and flank, and usually comes with the membrane still attached, which needs to be trimmed before cooking.
Inside skirt comes from the flank—it's narrower and thinner than the outside skirt, and comes with the membrane removed.
While outer skirt is traditional for fajitas, it's the inside cut that you will find at most butchers today (I've only picked up an outside skirt while in Texas), so it will serve as the basis for the rest of this post and recipes.
There are really only two important steps to fantastic skirt steak, the first being grilling. The best skirt steaks I've had all come off a grill or an incredibly hot cast iron pan. Skirt steak loves, and needs, intense heat.
Since it's a very long, flat steak, there's a lot of surface area to develop an outstanding crust, but this shouldn't be done at the expense of overcooking the inside, which is easy to do given the thinness. The solution is a blazing hot fire to sear the steak quickly before it cooks all the way through.
The grill is the best place to build up this type of heat, where a chimney full of lit coals piled close together can get you up to 700°F of direct heat. Also, the grill provides the best surface area for this very long steak—my piece of skirt actually had to be cut in half to fit on a 22 ½ inch Weber kettle.
Over this blazing heat, a skirt steak (salted and rested, of course) will sear in a matter of minutes on each side, while finishing medium rare to medium on the inside. You don't want to cook the skirt over medium,or you'll start running into the off-putting chewiness factor.
Like any steak, once the skirt is done grilling, it's going to need a ten-minute rest. Then comes the second most important part of skirt steak success: the slicing.
We already know meat should be cut against the grain, but this couldn't be more true for skirt steak; its long muscle fibers will be incredibly chewy if not cut properly.
To slice the steak, first cut each piece of skirt into a three-to-four-inch section with the grain. Then, slice each of those sections into thin strips about ¼-inch thick against the grain. This will ensure you have the shortest muscle fibers, creating nothing but a tender, flavorful steak.
I'm totally happy with skirt steak done with salt, pepper, and a little oil. This is how I usually prepare it for salads, where I like to use the dressing to add the flavor at the end as opposed to a marinade. This arugula salad with a cilantro-lime dressing is the perfect pairing for some well-cooked skirt.
Grass Fed Skirt Steak Salad
Grilled Skirt Steak over a bed of arugula, cherry tomatoes, and slices of parmesan cheese.
Skirt Steak Fajitas
wrapped in a soft corn tortilla with tomatoes and cilantro!
Skirt Steak Grilled
Grilled fast on a very hot grill, crusty on the outside, pink and juicy on the inside.