grilled thai coconut lime skirt steak

June 4, 2015  |  Main Course
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Wanna see a really bad sketch? Read on to find out some easy tricks to get great results with skirt steak and to see my terrible drawing. You’d never know I was an art major.

Grilled Thai Coconut Lime Skirt Steak Recipes {Paleo and Gluten-free} on by Katie Webster

Skirt steak is so flavorful and inexpensive and easy to prepare if you keep a few things in mind. It’s very thin, so it is easy to overcook it. And you have to cut it across the grain to make sure it isn’t too tough. Don’t worry I am here to walk you through it, and I’ve come prepared with artwork!


  1. Find the Grain and then go against it:

Usually you can find skirt steak in criovac packages. Since flank steaks are so popular now and so expensive, skirt seems to be more readily available and a lot more affordable. When you take skirt steak out of the package, it’ll likely need to be unrolled or unfloded. When you do that, you’ll first notice that it can be very long. Like twice the length of your cutting board sometimes! The trick is to cut it into short manageable steaks, about 4 inches in length. Doing this will serve two important purposes.

A, since the steak will be thicker on one end than the other, you’ll have smaller sections of relatively evenly thick meat. Some will be thinner than others and will require a shorter cooking time, and/or a cooler spot on the grill.

B, it will give you a smaller piece to slice once it has been grilled. Which brings me to my terrible drawing. {Please ignore the fact that I chose to make this masterpiece with a dried out marker from my girls’ art bin.}cutting-skirt-steak-against-the-grain

Look at terrible drawing #1. The grain in a skirt (unlike a flank) runs across the width. To make your bites of steak more tender, once it has been grilled, you’ll want to cut through that grain (picture #2.) In other words, you have to cut the steak first crosswise into steaks, grill it, then slice it lengthwise into strips. If you hadn’t done step one before grilling, then step two would require you to slice the steak in ridiculously long unmanageable two cutting board length long sections. Am I making sense? Oh, Jeez. Don’t leave me. I’ll talk about that more in #5.


  1. Marinate the heck out of the steak:

Contrary to popular belief, marinating doesn’t really make steak more tender. Go ahead scroll right down to the comment section and put up your dukes if you want. But I have read many a geeky culinary science books and issues of Cooks Illustrated and listened to hours of the splendid table, and I can verify that marinade only permeates the outer layer of the meat, so it only really breaks down the outer cells of the steak. The texture difference will be negligible.

But the flavor, THE FLAVOR, that will be where the impact is! This Coconut Lime marinade is like a flavor bomb! It will take the grassiest of grass fed steaks and transport them to a Coconut, Lime, Ginger Paradise. I used Thai fish sauce, which just a glug or two really pumps up the overall savory nature of the recipe. I served this with lime wedges, toasted peanuts and a generous drizzle of Sriracha on top.



  1. Don’t overcook the steak:

You’ll want to drain and dry the steak off before you grill it. As you know, moisture is the enemy of caramelization, so you’ll want to blot these dry with paper towels before they hit the grill.

Cooking a skirt steak requires full attention. It happens so fast, you can easily over do it. And with grass fed meat, you can make the meat seize up really fast because it is leaner. The front edge of my gas grill or the outer edges of the kettle grill is where I position my thinnest cuts, and over the hotter areas is where the thicker ones go.

Thai Skirt Steak on Healthy Seasonal Recipes by Katie Webster | Paleo, made without refined sugars or grain

  1. Quarter Turns aren’t just for beauty points:

On the first side of grilling, cook the meat part way, then slide your spatula under the meat and rotate the meat 90 degrees. Not 180. Just a quarter turn. This will move the meat over the heat so that if there is one side that is cooking too fast, it will even out. And it will give you that food stylists dream hash mark.


  1. Let it Rest and then Slice Against the Grain:

It is really important with grass fed meat that you give it a nice rest after it comes off the grill. This will allow the meat to settle down, the fibers to relax and the moisture to redistribute through the steak. If you skip this, the juices will spill out onto the cutting board, and the meat will be dry and tough.

Look back at drawing terrible #2 to see how to cut the steak. (That’s supposed to be a carving knife!) So you’ll be cutting from cut end to cut end, through each fiber.


grilled thai coconut lime skirt steak

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 4 hours, 30 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Serving Size: 3 1/2 ounces each

grilled thai coconut lime skirt steak

Coconut Lime marinade gives skirt steak Thai flavor. Here are a few tricks to get tender juicy results for your grilled skirt steak.


  • ½ cup lite coconut milk
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lime zest
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons Thai fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons grated ginger root
  • 1 pound beef skirt steak, preferably grass fed, cut into 4-inch lengths
  • ½ teaspoon coarse kosher salt


  1. Whisk coconut milk, coconut sugar, lime zest, lime juice, fish sauce and ginger in a small bowl. Place skirt steak in a 1 gallon resealable bag. Pour marinade over the steak. Press out air and seal bag shut. Refrigerate the steak 4 to 12 hours.
  2. Preheat grill to high heat.
  3. Drain steak and discard marinade. Pat steaks dry and sprinkle with salt. Oil grill rack and immediately place steaks on the grill. Cook 2 minutes and turn a quarter turn to create hash mark. Continue cooking 30 to 90 seconds more on first side. Flip steaks over and continue cooking 2 ½ to 5 minutes on the second side to desired doneness, 5 to 8 minutes total depending on thickness of the steaks.
  4. Let steaks rest on carving board at least 4 minutes before cutting lengthwise across the grain.
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Make it a Meal:

Cucumber and Napa Cabbage Coleslaw

Gluten-Free Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

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  1. I don’t know why I’ve never tried skirt steak…I guess I was never sure what to do with it. But I do now – this recipe is a cornucopia of flavors!
    Kate recently posted…Spinach VichyssoiseMy Profile

  2. Your tutorial for this perfectly grilled skirt steak rocks! I also think the drawing should go on your fridge 🙂 I bet the marinade is SO flavorful. We are big beef eaters in my house so I’m pinning this recipe to my healthy beef recipe pin board to try this summer!
    Katie recently posted…Farro Vegetable Salad [+Produce for Kids Campaign]My Profile

  3. This looks stunning! I honestly never cook steak becasue in all seriousness I don’t know how and If I am going to eat steak I Want it to be yummy! Loving this recipe and all your great tips 🙂

  4. i dont eat beef but i will definitely share this with my other friends, because it is a very resourceful post 🙂
    dixya recently posted…Three Things ThursdayMy Profile

  5. I love everything about this. I love skirt steak. I love these flavors. And I seriously appreciate the tutorial. thanks for this, will definitely be trying it.
    Christine recently posted…Old Redhead’s Watermelon Basil Rum CocktailMy Profile

  6. I probably wouldn’t think of pairing Thai flavours with a steak like this but I love all of these ingredients so will definitely be giving this a try!
    Laura recently posted…Courgette pizza with ricotta and paprika oilMy Profile

  7. Ooh this looks so good! I’m not one to cook steak that often but I sure am inspired to try out this recipe.
    Thalia recently posted…Dark Chocolate and Malt Custard Filled DoughnutsMy Profile

  8. That skirt steak is perfection and I can’t wait to make it asap!
    Mike recently posted…Blueberry Avocado and Spinach Power SmoothieMy Profile

  9. Not a big eater of red meat, but your skirt steak looks ever so tempting that I want to give it a try too. I love the idea of using coconut milk as the marinade.
    Angie recently posted…Green Smoothie Raspberry PopsiclesMy Profile

  10. Looks so good, however, I have not heard of “coconut sugar.” Will I find it in the supermarket or do I have to go to an Asian grocery?? Want to make it this weekend. Thanx

  11. I love the sound of this recipe and am eager to try it. unfortunately I do not have a grill. Do you have any suggestions to modify the cooking for stovetop or oven?

    • Hi Tracy. Do you have a grill pan? I think that’s your best bet if you do. But you may need to add a minute to each side for cooking times. If not, the next best thing would be to try the broiler, though I haven’t tested it so I don’t have a recommendation for times.
      Katie recently posted…kale and beet green galette with fetaMy Profile

  12. Oh my stars! Have you ever heard that expression, Katie? It’s very southern and it can be used when you’re surprised (pleasantly in this case). This recipe looks so delicious! Thai flavors are some of my favorites and the marriage of skirt steak and coconut and lime is one made in heaven!
    Bill recently posted…Blueberry Lemon Buttermilk SorbetMy Profile

  13. Can’t wait to try this recipe, it sounds so yummy! Thank you for posting, it’s inspired me to write my own

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