The Skirt Steak Should Be Added to Your Beefy Repertoire

by Jim Casey

Add the skirt steak to your beef-loving repertoire.

Skirt steak is one of the most misunderstood cuts of beef. It’s constantly confused with the flank steak and hanger steak. In fact, I’d be willing to guess that every article about skirt steak mentions flank steak—and the differences (flavor profile and bite) and similarities (long, flat cuts).

I guess this article is no exception—since I did mention the flank—but I’m not gonna dwell on the confusion. Let’s celebrate the skirt. And decide if it’s right for you (spoiler: it is).

I’m not a butcher, just a dude who loves steak. The bone-in ribeye will always be king for me. The filet mignon is my regal queen. The NY strip? It doesn’t do much for me. Doesn’t mean I won’t eat one if it’s on my plate, but I don’t seek the strip the same way I do a ribeye or filet.

If you’re nodding your head in agreement, keep reading. If your go-to steak is the NY strip, don’t bail yet. The skirt has a lot to offer the strip lover.

Let’s use some baseball parlance for the skirt. Say you’re a MLB pitcher with three quality pitches: fastball (ribeye), slider (filet), and change-up (strip). That’s your beefy repertoire, and you live and die by it. Nothing wrong with that. You’ve had a good career in the pros—and on the grill.

Skirt the Strip

But what’s that? You have a fourth pitch? Oh, you throw a junky forkball (skirt steak) every now and then when you’re making fajitas?

The skirt gets a lot of love as the steak of choice for fajitas. It’s great covered in lettuce, cheese, sour cream, and guacamole. But I’d eat shoe leather covered in those toppings. The skirt also gets a lot of recipe love topped with a chimichurri sauce. Hell, I love a good sauce. And the Argentinians know a good one (I like it on my mutton).

No more! The skirt stands on its own today. No toppings, no sauce.

The skirt streak is now my third pitch. It’s no longer my junky forkball. It’s my change-up. Bye-bye strip.

The skirt steak has a beefy, robust, almost-gamey natural flavor. Don’t be afraid of gamey. It’s not venison gamey (which I also enjoy). But compared to the butter-like filet, the skirt is gamey. And that’s what I love about it. Where the NY strip fails me (flavor), the skirt steps up its game.

Three things make it a winner in my book.

First, minimal prep work. Second, simple to cook. Third, flavor.

Give the skirt a 30-minute marinade (see below). Then, fire up your grill to 500 degrees, and cook the steak for three minutes on each side (medium rare).

By nature, the skirt steak is tough, so do not overcook it. There’s no room for error, here. Six minutes on the grill is plenty.

Slap it on a plate. Slice it against the grain. Enjoy.

It’s that simple.