If you are looking for one of the most flavorful cuts of beef, try skirt steak. While it may be considered a tough cut with a few too many connective tissues, it is still among the most ideal cuts of meat for grilling.
What’s more, it is versatile. Whether you crave a tender Philly cheesesteak or some spicy fajitas, this cut is perfect, and it is quite reasonably priced too.
There are quite a few advantages to using this cut, but the experience can go downhill if you don’t know the proper way of cutting skirt steak. This needs to be done in a certain way to get the most out of it, and that’s what we will be detailing in this article.
What’s a Skirt Steak?
The outside and inside skirt is quite similar. They are both long and flat muscles with a grain that is quite thick, and this runs across the entire length of the muscle. These are typically narrow pieces of meat that can range between 20 and 24 inches in length and about three to four inches across once they have been trimmed.
Because there are two skirt steaks per side of the beef—that is, one on the outside and one on the inside—almost every outside skirt from either side of the beef gets sent to a commercial kitchen of any kind. This means that the skirt steak available in a butcher’s shop is most likely the inside skirt.
You will find the outside skirt being encased in a membrane that needs to get discarded before preparing the steak. If this has been dry-aged, then the process of removing the membrane becomes easier since it will become almost like paper and peel away fairly easily.
On the other hand, with wet-aged skirt steak, even the membrane will become wet, thus becoming trickier to get rid of from the meat. A good butcher will sell the steak only after peeling and trimming it.
Difference between Skirt Steak and Flank Steak
Skirt steak and flank steak both come from the cow’s belly, but Skirt is the diaphragm whilst Flank is muscle. Since the diaphragm is one of the most used muscles skirt steak is tougher than flank steak. The toughness means it has more flavor and because the muscle fibers in a skirt steak are less tightly packed than flank, then it more readily absorbs marinades.
Since skirt steak is tougher than flank steak it is easier to cut flank steak than it is to cut skirt. You’ll need an excellent steak knife to slice through skirt steak easily – check our our reviews of the best steak knives and see how the top contenders squared up.
If you want to cut to the chase immediately then we found the Messermeister Avanta Fine Edge Steak Knife to be best of the bunch, you can read our full review of the knife here.
What Does It Taste Like?
A skirt steak tends to have quite an intense beefy flavor. This is even more flavor than a flank steak, which is known to be quite similar in size and shape. This intense beef flavor makes the steak ideal for marinating and can easily take on those flavors.
Nutrition and Benefits of the Eating Skirt Steak
There are about 187 calories and 10.3 grams of fat, of which four grams being saturated and 51 milligrams of cholesterol, in a three-ounce serving of an inside skirt steak. At 22 grams of protein, a skirt steak is a decent source of protein.
The same size serving of an outside skirt steak comes with a bit more calories at 198, with the fat also increasing at 12.2 grams, of which 5.1 is saturated. However, the cholesterol level is slightly lesser at 49.3 milligrams. Even the protein is lesser at 20.6 grams. Both of these skirt steaks tend to be quite high in vitamins B6 and B12, which support our nerve and immune systems.
Efficiently Storing Skirt Steak
Once you get a package of skirt steak from your local butcher or supermarket, you can freeze it for anywhere between three days and a year. The latter works well when the steak is wrapped airtight.
If you have cooked the steak, then it will remain fresh in the refrigerator for about three to four days and about two to three months when kept in the freezer.
Cutting Skirt Steak
With a skirt steak, slicing it is a great option to cut it down. By slicing it, you will create multiple and flexible portions. Slicing steak is considered to be a way of stretching out the cut of meat to feed more people, as you won’t need to buy individual steaks for every single person on the table.
Furthermore, since the skirt steak tends to be tough, this technique of cutting it will make the meat much more flavorful and less chewy. Let us give you some few and helpful tips that will help you cut a skirt steak like a pro every single time.
1. Let the Meat Rest
If you are planning to cook the whole steak before cutting it, don’t cut it right after cooking it. Let the steak rest. Smaller cuts will need only about 10 minutes, whereas larger cuts can benefit from being let to rest for up to half an hour.
All you need to do is cover the steak loosely with a foil, and keep it in a warm spot to keep it warm while it is resting.
The reason why you leave a cooked steak to rest before cutting it is that letting it rest will allow the juices in the meat that hasn’t been sent scrambling by the heat to settle down and then redistribute all around and evenly throughout the beef. This process will create a far juicier and more evenly cooked piece of steak.
2. Use a Sharp Knife
Use a sharp knife to cut through the steak. A blunt knife will give it a jagged and torn effect and be difficult going. Furthermore, a sharp kitchen knife will also save you significant time and effort.
Your knife should cut through the steak just like it would cut through butter. If it requires more effort, it is a sign that your knife needs sharpening.
3. Slice Across the Grain
Slicing against the grain is an extremely important thing to keep in mind. The grains are the long lines of muscle fibers that are quite clearly defined, running from one end to another. Cutting a skirt steak against the grain will yield the most tender slices.
You can cut against the grain by cutting perpendicular to the long parallel muscle fibers present on the steak. By doing so, the fiber present in each piece, where the bulk of any toughness comes in, are kept as short as they can, rendering the steak as tender as possible.
Cutting skirt steak doesn’t require much knowledge and effort. By choosing a sharp serrated knife and going against the grain on the meat, you will cut the steak correctly. We recommend that you stick to this method of cutting every time you buy and cook beef.