Flank steaks and skirt steaks are both great cuts of meat. When the two meet in the grocery store, which one will you choose? Read on to learn about these two different types of steak and we’ll help you make your choice.
Are you planning on grilling this weekend? What are your thoughts on flank steak vs skirt steak? Both cuts of beef are great for the grill, but it is important to know the differences between them. Flank steak comes from the abdominal muscles of a cow and can be flavorful if cooked properly. Skirt steak is more tender than flank steak because it comes from the diaphragm. It also has a distinctive flavor that is enhanced by marinating in an acidic liquid like lime juice or wine vinegar before cooking.
The difference between flank steak and skirt steak is the shape, thickness, and where they come from on the cow. Flank steaks are thinner than skirt steaks with a uniform thickness that comes from the back of the cow just below its ribs. Skirt steaks come from diagonally across this area so it is thicker in some parts and more narrow in others. From a culinary perspective there is not much difference as both can be grilled or pan-fried to create a wonderful meal.
What is flank steak?
Flank steak is flavorful and economical. While not as tender as other cuts of beef, it can be tenderized with marinating or by slicing it across the grain after cooking.
Flank steak is a large cut of beef from the lower abdominal area beneath the loin muscle (the large muscles on either side of the spine). It’s a long cut, so you might see a line of white connective tissue down its center, which should be removed before cooking. The grain direction runs parallel to the fibers in the meat—not across them–at an angle of 45 degrees or less, making it more chewy than some steaks . In fact, flank steak must be sliced perpendicular to the muscle fibers in order for them to shorten, which results in tenderized meat.
Flank steak is an excellent choice for marinating and then broiling or grilling. After cooking, slice across the grain before serving. The slices should be no more than 1/2-inch (1.3 centimeters) thick, when possible. If you want flank steak that’s fork-tender , consider braising it in liquid over low heat or using a sous vide water oven at 130 degrees Fahrenheit (54 degrees Celsius) for up to four hours.
The word “flank” refers to anything coming from the side of an animal–and that’s exactly where this cut comes from; it’s on the side of the cow. Flank steak is a long cut of beef, taken from either side of the backbone, which can be grilled or broiled, sliced thin for fajitas or Philly cheesesteak sandwiches , or braised to make Swiss steak . It’s also commonly used as an alternative to hanger steak in Korean barbecue dishes like bulgogi (thinly sliced meat) and galbi (short ribs).
Flank Steak Recipes:
– Grilled flank steak with spicy peanut sauce
– Flank Steak Tacos with Chipotle Mayo Sauce
– Braised flank steak with tomatoes and cilantro…
What is Skirt Steak?
Skirt steak is a long cut of beef from the belly of a cow. This cut has a very tough and chewy texture due to its large area and abundance of connective tissue and because it’s surrounded by layers of fat and muscle. Additionally, the fibers that make up this cut run in all different directions which can contribute to further toughness. It is for this reason that skirt steak should always be marinated before cooking as it helps break down those tough fibers making for a much more tender piece of meat. The thickness as well as size of your grind will depend on how you like your steaks but we recommend around ¾ inch thick and 1 ½ inches wide because these measurements yield the perfect thickness and size for beautifully grilled and tasty skirt steak.
– What’s the best way to cut your Skirt Steak?
Before we get into that, it’s important to note that you should always trim any excess fat from your beef prior to cooking (you don’t want extra grease dripping onto your coals). If cutting it yourself, make sure to cut against the grain; this means you’ll be cutting perpendicular to the lines in the meat which will ensure all those long stringy pieces break up and become tender with cooking.
If having someone else do it (and I highly recommend this), what most butchers will do is they will run their knife the center of one end then parallel to the grain, making one cut. Next they will take that same knife and run it along the remaining length of the steak against the grain then ask you how thick you’d like your steaks (make sure you take into consideration how this piece of beef is shaped). After that, they will take their sharpest knife and slice right through the middle of your newly formed pieces in order to create two equal halves. Now you can easily see which way runs parallel to the grain so simply turn either piece over onto its uncut side. Starting at one end, cut very thin strips towards yourself – this should give you meat slices all running in the same direction.
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How to Cook Flank Steak
The most common ways to cook flank steak are broiling, grilling, roasting or pan-frying with oil or butter. Each method has its own positives and negatives but we’re going to look at them all in this one article for your convenience!
Before we get started, there are a few things to keep in mind when cooking your steak. First off, make sure your grill is clean and hot before starting. You can do this by placing a hand under the grate for 5 seconds only. If it’s too hot for you to handle, it’s ready. Next, season your flank steak generously with salt and pepper both on the top side of the meat along with any additional spices or herbs that are your favorite. Make sure not to over-season! Last but not least, let it sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes prior to cooking so that it cooks even throughout instead of from outside all the way to inside where it might be slightly undercooked.
Broil – Flank Steak
The first method is broiling which is cooking your meat by the direct application of intense heat from above. It can either be done on a pan or on a grill. The only difference here is that with a grill you’ll be applying some oil or butter onto the steak before putting it underneath your preheated broiler for about 3 minutes per side, then transferring it to indirect heat for another few minutes before serving if needed. If cooking with a pan, make sure to brush with oil or butter and place in an oven set at 500F for 7 minutes with the oven door slightly open before turning down to 400F and continue baking for an additional 5-7 minutes depending on thickness.
Grill – Flank Steak
The next method is grilling, cooking by the direct application of heat through radiation or conduction from an open flame or hot coals. This method is best done on a gas grill, but if you own an outdoor charcoal grill then I suggest using that instead since it’s more cost-efficient and provides better results than propane does for this type of meat.
The only difference when grilling flank steak is to start off with some oil or butter along with your preferred seasoning before placing over direct heat for 4 minutes per side while flipping every 20 seconds. Then move your steak to indirect heat until it reaches your desired doneness (about 2-4 minutes). Just like when broiling, if needed you can cook the steak in the oven set at 400F for 5-10 minutes.
Pan-Fry – Flank Steak
Last but not least is pan-frying, the process of shallow frying or sauteing in a pan with oil or butter over direct heat usually by swirling the steak around the fry pan. The most important part to remember here is that you want to use high heat and cook your steak for 4 minutes per side before cooking in the oven at 400F for an additional 3-4 minutes depending on thickness.
There are many other ways for you to cook flank steak if these methods don’t fit your style of cooking, but these 3 will provide some of the best results out there!
How to Cook Skirt Steak
Skirt steak can also be cooked through different methods including grilling, broiling, sautéing, baking/roasting, slow cooking (using a crock pot), smoking, barbecuing or even stir frying. This cut of beef is best cooked medium-rare and should ideally measure 135 F in the center when tested with a meat thermometer.
Skirt steak is also widely used in the preparation of fajitas and other Latin American dishes.
Grilling Skirt Steak
Grilling provides an excellent way to cook skirt steak. Add a little beef broth and Worcestershire sauce for extra flavor before grilling skirt steak. You can experiment with different marinades for this purpose as well, such as Italian dressing or any fruit-based marinade (such as orange juice). Grill skirt steaks on both sides until they are cooked through thoroughly, leaving them tender inside with a tasty brown exterior.
Broiling Skirt Steak
Broil skirt steak in the oven by heating it at 425 degrees F temperature using broiler pan rack provided of cooking spray (or using non-stick cooking spray) and cook it for around five minutes on each side for medium rare, or longer if you like it more well done.
Sautéing Skirt Steak
Sauté skirt steak in olive oil to keep it tender and flavorful when cooked. Coat the bottom of a heavy sauté pan with 1/2 to 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil. Make sure that you heat up the oil beforehand so that when you add the meat, it immediately starts to sizzle. Pan fry both sides of skirt steak until they are nicely browned, but not cooked through yet. Remove from heat so that beef remains pink inside when served. You can also add other ingredients such as onions and bell peppers to add more flavor.
Baking/Roasting Skirt Steak
To roast or bake skirt steak, use a roasting pan with rack provided. A roasting pan is used for cooking larger cuts of meat such as beef and lamb roasts and turkey. Make sure you preheat oven to 350 degrees F before placing the pan in it so that the fat on the beef starts to render which helps in keeping it moist while baking or roasting. You can also add other ingredients such as onions and bell peppers to add more flavor while baking or roasting steak in the oven. In addition, adding a few spoonsful of broth can keep skirt steak moist when cooked this way too. Place broiler pan on the lower rack of oven with meat on top of it. Skirt steak should be cooked thoroughly so that the internal temperature is 135 F or higher when tested with a meat thermometer .
Slow Cooking Skirt Steak
Slow cook flank steak using crock pot by adding some beef broth and Worcestershire sauce for extra flavor. Cover and cook until meat becomes tender, usually over low heat for five to six hours or more. You can also add other ingredients such as onions and bell peppers if desired before slow cooking skirt steak in crock pot.
Smoking Skirt Steak
Cook skirt steak using smoker grill by first soaking it in water mixed with salt (1 per cup). Next, make a coat of your favorite dry rub and apply it to the beef. Smoke it for around three hours at 200 degrees F temperature in a smoker grill, turning once after an hour. Remove from heat when meat is cooked through thoroughly.
Barbecuing Skirt Steak
Baste barbecued skirt steak with sauce made from honey, soy sauce and chili powder before placing the beef on hot grill. Cook until juices run clear when tested with a fork, usually for around five minutes per side. Serve immediately alongside vegetables such as zucchini and yellow squash or corn on the cob . You can also add other ingredients such as onions and bell peppers if desired before preparing beef this way too. This recipe makes four servings of barbecue-style skirt steak.
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What is the difference between skirt steak and flank steak?
Flank steak vs skirt steak: Skirt steak is a long cut of meat, flavorful but also tough. It’s usually marinated or made into dishes that are cooked for longer periods of time, like braises.
Flank steak vs skirt steak: Flank steak is a leaner cut with more texture and is best when it has been grilled quickly over high heat.
Flank steak vs skirt steak: The skirt steak comes from the inner part of the beef diaphragm (inside (against) the chest cavity). It does not contain much fat and offers little in the way of marbling; therefore, this cut needs to be either marinated or cooked very quickly by broiling or stir frying. Because it is such a thin muscle/tough cut of meat, it should NOT be cooked to (or past) medium rare. If you have a strong preference for your beef to be cooked medium or well done, please select a different cut of meat from the cow.
Flank steak vs skirt steak: The flank steak is part of the abdominal muscles that are generally worked the least. When more expensive cuts meet up with ones that are less-used, they will “trade places” on grocery store shelves. The result is that you pay the same price for both cuts, but one piece has had more exercise and needs longer cooking time to become tender while the other piece has had less use so it’s naturally more tender and can be cooked quickly over high heat or made into stir fries. A good way to tell if something labeled as “flank steak” is what it says it is is to look at the grain of the meat. If it has a “line” running down the center, it’s probably flank steak.
How to grill flank steak vs skirt steak
Grill flank steak
Flank Steak A simple marinade for this flavorful cut of beef will make your taste buds sing
Serves Two Marinade 1/4 cup soy sauce 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 3 garlic cloves, minced 1 teaspoon brown sugar 2 teaspoons grated ginger 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper Steak 1 pound flank steak Sauce 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 2 tablespoons soy sauce 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar 1 lime, juiced
In a medium bowl whisk together the marinade ingredients. Place steak in a resealable plastic bag and pour the marinade over it. Seal bag and place in refrigerator for at least an hour, ideally overnight. In another small bowl, whisk together all of the sauce ingredients. Remove steak from the marinade and grill on high heat until just cooked through, about 4-5 minutes per side depending on thickness. Let rest 5 minutes before slicing across the grain into strips to serve with sauce drizzled over top.
Grilled Flank Steak Marinade: Combine soy sauce, vinegar, oil garlic ginger brown sugar; pour over steak in large bowl. Marinate for 1 hour, turning occasionally. Prepare grill. Remove steak from marinade; discard marinade. Grill steak 4 inches above medium coals or broil 4 in. from heat for 10-12 min. on each side or until meat reaches desired doneness (for medium-rare, a thermometer should read 145°). Let stand 5 min.; thinly slice across the grain to serve.
Grilled Flank Steak Sauce: Combine soy sauce, lime juice and brown sugar in small bowl; set aside half of sauce mixture for serving with steak. Heat oil in heavy small skillet over high heat. Add reserved sauce mixture to skillet; boil until slightly syrupy, about 10 sec. Drizzle sauce over sliced steak; serve with reserved sauce.
Nutritional facts per serving: Calories 346, Protein 38g, Carbohydrate 5g, Dietary Fiber 0g, Total Sugars 2g, Total Fat 18 g, Saturated Fat 6 g , Cholesterol 71 mg, Sodium 1167mg.
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Grill skirt steak
This is a very simple article that will help you grill skirt steak with ease. The only tools you need are your favorite marinade, some aluminum foil, and some salt, pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, or anything else you want to season it with after cooking. And of course the skirt steak itself!
To begin, I put about 1 tablespoon of coarse kosher salt in a small bowl and dumped about 2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper into another small bowl. Then I separated the “meat side” from the membrane side of my skirt steak by inserting my fingers underneath the white membrane and pulling apart gently. Be sure not to tear the membrane itself because it must be used as a handle to hold onto while eating the steak!
Now I got out my favorite marinade and poured it onto both sides of the skirt steak. This is a garlic-soy blend that I sometimes use on salmon. It smells great, tastes outstanding, and helps keep the steak moist during grilling. There are many other types of marinades you can use from lemon juice with seasonings to teriyaki sauce or anything else you prefer all by themselves. After coating each side with sauce, let them sit for about 5 minutes before placing them on your grill. You can even make a simple glaze by mixing some barbecue sauce into melted butter if desired. Heat up your grill to about 400-450 degrees Fahrenheit, place the steak on the grill, and close the lid.
Now you’ll want to grill it for about 6 minutes or so per side depending upon how hot your gas or charcoal grill is. On medium heat I usually get a good crust by flipping my steak at least once during cooking unless of course I am using marinades that are high in acid content like vinegar or lemon juice which will make the meat more tender if left alone while grilling. Skirt steak can quickly become tough under high heat so be sure to adjust your timing accordingly with different types of cooking equipment! Finally, if you want to season your skirt steak after cooking simply sprinkle some garlic powder, salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, or whatever else you might enjoy onto both sides of the steak after removing it from the grill. Rub them in with your fingers, place the meat back onto the grill about 3 inches above indirect heat for about 5 minutes to absorb spices and give them time to cook evenly with the meat juices before serving! I hope these tips will help make grilling skirt steak easy enough for anyone to do at home without any problems whatsoever!
Enjoy your meal!
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If you are looking for a steak that will make your taste buds sing, the choice is clear. Whether it’s flank or skirt steak, both offer tenderness and flavor due to their thin nature. We’ve learned that there are some differences between flank steak and skirt steak, but which is better? It all depends on what you want to cook it for. If your desire is a quick meal with no fuss or frills, then the cheaper flank steak may be just right for you. However, if you want something more elegant than average fare like fajitas or stir fry dishes, go ahead and buy yourself one of those pricier skirts! Flank steak vs skirt steak: Either way you cut it, both types of meat offer an affordable option when cooking beef in your kitchen.