Wanna see a really bad sketch? Read on to find out some easy tricks to get great results with grilled skirt steak and to see my terrible drawing. You’d never know I was an art major.
Tips on Preparing Grilled Skirt Steak
Skirt steak is flavorful, 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.
1) 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.
2) 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.)
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.
2. Marinate the Heck out of the Skirt 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 healthy coconut lime steak 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
More Healthy Steak Recipes:
This Thai coconut lime grilled skirt steak is so juicy and flavorful! Even better, this easy steak recipe requires less than 15 minutes of hands on prep work!
- 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
- Whisk coconut milk, coconut sugar, lime zest, lime juice, fish sauce and ginger in a small bowl. Place skirt steak into a 1 gallon resealable bag. Pour marinade over the steak. Press out air and seal bag shut. Refrigerate the steak 4 to 12 hours.
- Preheat grill to high heat.
- 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.
- Let steaks rest on carving board at least 4 minutes before cutting lengthwise across the grain.
- Serving Size: 3 1/2 ounces each
- Calories: 302
- Sugar: 13 g
- Sodium: 611 mg
- Fat: 14 g
- Saturated Fat: 6 g
- Carbohydrates: 15 g
- Fiber: 0 g
- Protein: 28 g
Keywords: grilled skirt steak, lime steak marinade, skirt steak recipes, healthy steak marinade