Skirt steak is a pretty tough cut of meat. Usually, to tame the tough, we cook tough meat for hours to break it down and make it tender and succulent (ewww…what a word). But skirt steak’s a little different. This rough piece of beef is usually cooked quickly either on the grill or in a pan over high heat. Of all the skirt steak recipes in all the blogosphere (and there’s LOTS of them) I’m going to tell you how to grill it and add even more flavor with a simple chimichurri sauce. Dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes.
First things first…I should probably start by explaining the difference between skirt steak, flank steak and hangar steak. I mean, they all look pretty much the same when you’re staring at them in the meat case don’t they? Skirt steak has the most fat on it (compared to the other two) which allows it to come off the grill nice and juicy. The flank steak is pretty lean and looks the flattest out of the three steaks. It’s got a deep and rich flavor with a more coarse texture than the other two. The hangar steak is the thickest of the three, as well as the toughest. That’s not to say it isn’t delicious, it is, you just need to remember this when you’re handling it.
All three of these cuts love to sit in a good strong marinade…for a long time. Marinades can act as a flavoring agent as well as a tenderizer, depending on what you put in there (did you know that beer is a tenderizer). Sometimes I’ll drop a skirt steak into a tasty marinade, but most often I just like to sprinkle salt and pepper on it and toss it on the grill. Because I’m not that organized and usually don’t plan ahead. The flavor agent I use, when grilling, is a bright and tangy chimichurri sauce.
So how do you cook a skirt steak? Quickly. In fact, that’s how you cook all three of these steaks. Medium to well done is not how you want to be cooking any one of these steaks. If you do, you’ll find that you could re-sole your shoes with them. Medium rare is the most common preparation for skirt steak. On the grill, or in a cast iron pan, I cook it for 3-4 minutes per side. Let the meat sit for at least 5 minutes before cutting into it (or you’ll lose all of the juices…and I mean ALL of them).
To serve, cut the skirt steak (flank or hangar) against the grain so that it’s nice and tender. If you cut the steak with the grain it’s going to be chewy, really chewy. I usually drop the cut meat onto a platter or cutting board and spoon the chimichurri sauce all over it. Then you can drop it into tortillas, along with some other veggies or you can just serve it as is over a bed of spicy green cilantro rice.
So get your grill on and enjoy one of these “other” cuts of beef.
- 2 Cups Parsley (minus the tough stems)
- ½ Cup Mint Leaves
- 2 Cloves Garlic
- ¼ Medium Red Onion (roughly chopped)
- Zest of 1 Lemon
- ½ Cup Olive Oil
- 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
- 1 Tablespoon White Vinegar
- ¼ Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes (depending on heat level you like)
- Pinch of Kosher Salt
- Add all ingredients to bowl of food processor or blender.
- Blitz until everything is smooth.
- Give sauce a taste and adjust seasoning.
- Pour some over meat and the rest into a bowl to serve with the meat.