What Is a Skirt Steak?

Dubbed a meat lover’s dream, a skirt steak is thin and easy to cook. The steak is commonly used in restaurants to prepare Mexican or Southwestern fajitas, Philly Cheese Steaks, and Asian stir-fried beef dishes because it’s flavorful and tender when cooked correctly.

This beef cut is more affordable than filet or ribeye steak. The skirt steak is versatile for varied preparation styles and gives an intense flavor, no matter your recipe.

Sear in a hot skillet or pan to bring out the beef’s juicy steak flavor. Whether you chop or season your meat or not, cook the steak over high heat for quick cooking.

Learn everything you need to know about skirt steak and how to prepare it in this article.

What Exactly Is Skirt Steak?

Skirt steak is a long, thin, lean cut of meat with an intense flavor that features prominently in many culture’s cuisines. Cuts are about 20-24 inches long and 3-4 inches wide, with visible grains. Since it is a tough piece of meat, it works best when cooked rare or medium rare and should be cut against the grain for the best texture.

Other Names for Skirt Steak

While the most popular name is the skirt steak it’s also known as Philadelphia (Philly) Steak or Beef Plate. It can also refer to the dish for which it’s the central meat, such as Tex-Mex Skirt or the fajita.

What Part of the Cow is Skirt Steak?

Obtained from beneath the rib area, the skirt steak is cut from the diaphragm or short plate primal section of the beef cow. It can be either an inside or outside cut and has marbling for a rich, beefy flavor.

Varieties of Skirt Steak

The two types of skirt steak include the inner and outside skirt. They differ in texture and tenderness. The outer skirt is more even, longer and thicker than the inside skirt, making it ideal for commercial use in restaurants and sale in grocery stores. It’s tender with a finer texture.

The muscle fibers within the inside skirt shrink during cooking and thus become thinner. The inside steak gives a chewy bite, so it works best when cut to a smaller thickness and marinade. However, both beef cuts are tasty.

What Does Skirt Steak Taste Like?

The skirt steak is big on flavor due to its unique marbling. Its fatty muscles give it a distinct, beefy yet buttery flavor. Some people compare it to the rich flavor of liver, but with better consistency.

The steak has open grains and ridges that work well for marinades—it soaks spices and herbs to ooze more intense flavor.

Where to Buy Skirt Steak Online

The inside steak is easier to find at local butchers and supermarkets than the outside skirt. You can do a quick search online to determine what online meat markets have to offer. Look out for weights, cuts, and prices, and do comparisons to get the best value for your money.

Assess the ethics used to rear the animals and the quality assurance of the source. Some top places to buy skirt steak online include:

  • Omaha Steaks
  • Snake River Farms
  • Crowd Cow

Cooking Methods

Sear your skirt steak cuts in a hot skillet pan, a grill, or a regular pan over a stovetop. Make sure that the surface of your steak is dry for better crusting. Dry the steak before marinating with salt and pepper.

Cook over medium heat for flavorful, well-browned doneness, but don’t overcook. Do the cooking over fast, high heat for more juice and maximum tenderness. Cooking to rare or medium rare levels is optimal.

Nutrition & Calories

Skirt steak contains vitamins B6 and B12, niacin, selenium, zinc, phosphorus, riboflavin, iron, and choline. A serving (3 oz) of the steak has 200 calories, 55 mg of sodium, 7 mg of zinc, 3.6 g of SAT fat, 2.07 mg of iron, and 25 g of proteins.

Recipes for Skirt Steak

You can prepare skirt steak cuts in various ways. Some popular recipes include:

Brazilian Golden Garlic Butter Skirt Steak

First, cook the skirt steak lightly on medium heat, then cover it in melted golden garlic butter mixed with parsley or any other herb to marinate. Let the steak marinate for a few hours to enrich it in the aromatic flavors. Grill or pan-fry the beef cut to create a brown crust.

Skirt Steak Fajitas

If you prefer fajitas, prepare Spanish onions, tequila, and other herbs or spices you like as a marinade for your beef cuts. Let the beef marinate for at least two hours and then grill to perfection. Make sure that the crust browns. Fill warm tortillas with the cubes of fajita meat and your favorite toppings.

Skirt Steak Marinated with Beer

If you’re a beer lover, you’ll love your steak marinated in your favorite beer. Cut garlic, orange, and onions to mix with the beer for marinating the beef cut. Cook it in a hot skillet. Turn until it forms a brown crust, for perfect doneness.

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About the author

Adam can tell you the difference between a flank steak and skirt steak and any other cut of meat. He loves sharing his knowledge of steaks with everyone, ensuring you get the perfect steak every time.