Formerly tossed aside, bound for ground beef, or reserved for butchers themselves to eat, the under-appreciated flank and skirt steak have been sneaking their way onto more plates and even restaurant menus as we begin to see the value of nose-to-tail eating. In this Farmer Girl Cooks Meat article, we’ll give you the lowdown on why flank steak and skirt steak are fabulous choices, not only for their excellent taste, but for their easy and quick preparation as well.
Flank and skirt steak both come from the belly area of our steers. This hardworking location means these can be chewy pieces of meat, which also means these cuts are the perfect marinating cut. The skirt steak is long, thin and cooks quickly. Skirt steak is best served rare; it gets tough quickly if overcooked. It’s a pretty lean cut; there isn’t a lot of fat to keep it from getting all fibrous and chewy as the heat blasts it.
Like skirt steak, flank steak needs a good marinade, to break it down, but is also quick and easy to cook. The secret to a tender flank is to slice it super thin. In fact, if you’ve ever wondered what “slice against the grain” means in a recipe, flank steak provides the perfect tutorial: its muscle structure is very evident–the long lines stretching down the cut are the “grain.” All you need to do is cut perpendicular to them. Voila! These steak cuts are traditionally used in fajitas or sandwiches like Philly cheesesteaks, which are both great ways to acquaint yourself with these yummies if you haven’t yet sampled their flavorful charms.
8 Steps to Grilling a Perfect Skirt and Flank
Serving Size: 1 to 2 servings
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 10 min.
1.) Marinate. By marinating the flank or skirt steaks, you are helping ensure a tender and delicious outcome. Marinate the steak for three to 24 hours in the fridge.
2.) A marinade is simply 3 parts oil + 1 part vinegar/acid + seasoning. 2. Bring to room temperature.Take your marinating steak out of the refrigerator half an hour before cooking, depending on how thick your steak is. A cold steak will cool off the grill and the key to a perfectly-seared steak is cooking it at a high temperature for a short period of time. The colder the steak is when it hits the grill, the longer the steak will take to cook.
3.) Heat your grill.To get a good, quick sear, allow plenty of time for the grill to get hot. High heat cooks faster and the less time your steak cooks, the more tender it will be. Another reason we want high heat is that it’s the only way to produce the Maillard reaction, which is the chemical process responsible for forming that flavorful brown crust on the exterior of a steak.
4.) Oil grill grates. Since grass-fed skirt and flank steaks are leaner, they are more likely to stick to the grill or pan. Brush some oil on the grates prior to grilling. Doing so prevents the steaks from sticking to the grill and provides a bit of moisture.
5.) Sear over high heat. To develop that flavorful crust, sear your steak over direct heat. Flip the steak when it releases from the grill grates (about two to three minutes). Flip and sear the other side. As soon as it releases from the grill grates, remove that steak from the grill!! These steak cuts are so think there really is no need for additional grill time. REMEMBER, carryover cooking will raise the temperature another five degrees after the steak is removed from heat!! (In previous steak articles, we advise you to finish cooking your steak on low heat after you sear. For these thin steaks, this step is not needed ? just the sear!)
6.) Rest. Tent your perfectly grilled steaks with tin foil and let rest for five to 10 minutes. Carryover cooking brings the steak to the desired finish and allows the juices to redistribute throughout the steak.
7.) Slice against the grain. If you cut with your knife parallel to the grain, you end up with long muscle fibers that are tough for your teeth to break through. Slicing thinly against the grain, however, delivers very short pieces of muscle fiber that are barely held together and ensures the tenderness you have worked so hard to retain.
There you have it! I hope you enjoy this Flank and Skirt Steak Recipe!