How Do You Cook Skirt Steak Perfectly?

Ah, the delicious smell of steak. Just reading the word steak itself can make someone’s mouth watery, the scent of your favorite grilled steak fresh and hot off the pan, served with your favorite sides and your choice of wine.

Who doesn’t love a good steak? Whether you go to a fancy Michelin 5-star restaurant or home cook your favorite steak, a good steak is a good steak, and when you know the perfect kind and perfect cut for you and the best way to cook them, you’ll never get enough steak in your lifetime.

Here, we will discuss a particular cut of steak– the skirt steak– and guide you on the perfect ways on how to grill skirt steak, how long to cook skirt steak, how to make skirt steak tender, and many more.

What Is Skirt Steak?

A skirt steak is cut from the inside of the abdomen wall just below the ribs. Technically, it is cut from the “plate” of the cow located just below its ribs.

Skirt steak is a little rough to look at because of its prominent textured grain, but this cut is long, flat, and tends to be more flavorful and versatile when it comes to cooking.

They can be tougher than other cuts because of a lot of connective tissues and since it inherently comes from the part of the cow that’s more muscular.

A skirt steak can be separated as inside and outside skirt steak. The outside skirt steak is found on the diaphragm muscle, while the inside skirt steak is located on the transversus abdominis muscle, both found inside the chest and abdominal cavity.

Inside Skirt

The inside skirt is usually sold with hard fat and membrane that you need to remove before cooking. It is chewier than an outside skirt and would require tenderization with a mallet and a marinade.

Outside skirt

The outside skirt is usually longer, wider, and 50% thicker than the inside skirt and requires less trimming than an inside skirt.

The outside skirt is what restaurants usually buy to serve, and finding them is hard as there is only one inside and outside skirt per side of beef.

It’s usually hard to tell ordinary people which side a skirt steak is, so do not hesitate to ask if a butcher is available.

How to Cook Skirt Steak

You can cook skirt steak by the traditional grilling, or even by using the oven. Here’s how to cook a skirt steak:

Grilling Skirt Steak

After rinsing the meat under cold water and drying the surface with a paper towel, season the steak and let it sit for 30 minutes before cooking. Why? Letting the skirt steak be at room temperature allows a more even cooking.

Heat olive oil to medium-high in a skillet, then place the steak for three to four minutes. Afterward, flip the skirt steak to the other side and cook for another three to four minutes until you achieve at most a medium-rare to medium center.

Take the skirt steak off the skillet and let it rest on a plate for at least 10 minutes to let its natural juices seep into the whole meat.

Cooking Skirt Steak In the Oven

Are you wondering how to cook skirt steak in the oven? Is it possible? Of course, it is.

Like you would usually do in preparing your skirt steak, pat dry, and season with your choice of seasoning. You can also place the steak in a marinade of soy sauce, garlic, and ginger, allowing it to seep into the meat for 10 to 15 minutes while covered by a plastic wrap.

Afterward, preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and place an empty pan inside the oven.

When you want to cook vegetables with your skirt steak, you can spray another pan with olive oil and toss around mushrooms over medium-high heat until they are browned and start to caramelize.

Add olive oil, onion, butter, salt, and pepper and toss. Add thyme after three to four minutes, stir, remove, and set aside.

Then, take out the empty pan from the oven and spray it with olive oil. Place the marinated skirt steak and put the pan back into the oven for a quick six to nine minutes, or depending on how cooked you want your steak to be.

Don’t forget to flip your steak, but only for half the time, it took for your first side to cook this time.

Place the cooked steak on a plate, and place the cooked and caramelized mushrooms on top of the steak and then serve.

The Secret to Making Skirt Steak Tender

Skirt steak tends to be on the tougher side than most steaks, so it is essential to follow specific steps to make sure that your skirt steak is as tender as possible.

The best way to cook skirt steak to make sure it’s tender is to cook it quickly at high heat to seal the natural juices and break down the fat.

It is best seared in a hot pan. Make sure that the surface of the skirt steak is dry before seasoning or searing because a damp surface will devoid a skirt steak of a nice crust.

While the best way to cook a skirt steak is to cook it quickly over high temperature, make sure not to overcook it. Skirt steaks are usually thinner than most steaks, so do not go over medium-rare or medium doneness, or you’ll risk yourself having a dry and chewy steak.

How to Cut Skirt Steak

Raw Skirt Steak

Skirt steak can be tricky to cut and prepare since whole skirt steaks usually come two feet long, rolled up from the butcher.

A tip on how to cut skirt steak is to unroll it and prepare your sharp boning knife. Then, lay it with the fat side up and split it down the middle to make it easier to prepare.

Grab your boning knife and slide it just under the fat, careful not to go too deep to get through the meat. Take the fat in thin layers so you don’t accidentally trim the meat off, as they can easily be cut off.

Just keep sliding until the end of the skirt steak. If there is some leftover fat, don’t sweat. It’s okay to leave some as they can add to the flavor and juiciness of the steak.

Afterward, flip the skirt steak, locate the remaining membrane, and peel them off by hand, just enough but not too much, like the fat.

Cooked Skirt Steak

For cooked skirt steak, always remember to slice against the grain. This is important for all steaks, but especially for skirt steak to avoid tough, stringy meat.

If the grain on your skirt steak (which is still visible even when cooked) is directed the short way, the default slice is to cut them the long way.