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Skirt steak has become one of my favorite cuts of beef, right next to ribeye and strip steak. I’ve been eating skirt steak for years; it’s very budget friendly and full of flavor. The “knock” on skirt steak however, is that it can be a tough cut of meat, which is why it’s one of the more budget friendly cuts. It’s also why this cut is generally sliced very thin and often used for tacos and quesadillas, but I digress. Following my method, I promise the most tender skirt steak you’ve ever eaten.
First things first, there are actually two different “types” of skirt steak, the inside and the outside skirt. I detail both here, if you’re interested. The outside skirt is the more desirable of the two cuts, but it’s also harder to find because of limited supply and high demand from restaurants, etc.
Omaha Steaks solves the demand issue as they ship outside skirt steak right to your door. What’s better, they ship the steak pre-trimmed and ready to go which saves a ton of time. Skirt steak is generally sold with the membrane and hard fat all over it. In my blog about the two different cuts you can see how much trimming is required when purchasing these cuts over the counter.
OK, let’s talk about how to cook skirt steak. If you’ve ever looked for methods to cook a piece of skirt steak, you’ve probably run across various marinades, been advised to allow the steak to reach room temperature before cooking, and not to cook it past medium rare. All solid pieces of advice for great flavor, but those methods don’t solve for the tenderness issue. If you plan to thinly slice the meat for taco night, those tips (and maybe a few others) are all you need, carry on. BUT…if you want a hearty steak dinner that will stand on its own next to any ribeye or filet mignon, read on.
OK, just a couple of quick notes before we jump into the step-by-step instruction. First, this is going to seem like a long process, and from a time perspective it is. However, most of the work is hands off when using the sous vide technique like I’ve done with other proteins, like this 36 hour sous vide corned beef. My advice is to drop these steaks into the water bath before work one morning, and you’ll have an amazing (and quick) dinner the following evening.
It took a pretty extensive amount of testing to develop this method but trust me when I say, it’s SO worth it.
Next, there are several ways to sear these skirt steaks after the water bath and before serving. I used a cast iron pan for this blog, but you can achieve the same results using high direct heat from a charcoal grill or some gas grills. If you own a personal high temperature salamander style grill, this is a perfect opportunity to use that as well.
Finally, using this method doesn’t require you to wait any number of resting minutes before slicing. Because of the technique used here I recommend slicing it, across the grain, as soon as you get the sear you’re looking for. Serve it hot, it’s a thin cut and tends to cool down fast.
Perfectly Tender Skirt Steak Recipe
Serves: 4-6 | Prep Time: 7 min | Active cooking time: 5 min | Inactive cooking time: 36 hours
2 14 oz Skirt Steaks
2 tbsp salt, divided
1 tsp pepper, divided
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp avocado oil
Step 1: Set your sous vide water bath to 130–131 degrees F.
Step 2: Remove steaks from packaging and rinse under cold water.
Step 3: Coat steaks with a light coat of olive oil and season both sides with a pinch of sea salt and pepper.
Step 4: Seal steaks in a vacuum bag or zip top bag, removing as much air as possible.
Step 5: Drop into water bath and cover with lid. I don’t use the lid for shorter sous vide cooks but without a lid over 36 hours you’ll constantly be adding water (and causing the temperature to fluctuate) due to evaporation.
Step 6: Remove steaks from water bath after 36 hours and place immediately in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.
TIP: Placing in refrigerator for 20 minutes allows the steak to cool just slightly before the sear, preventing an overcooked steak. I don’t recommend skirt steak cooked to over medium temperature. If medium well is your preference, I recommend just baking a piece of chicken.
Step 7: Place your cast iron pan over high heat and allow it to preheat to 500°F if possible, as indicated with a reliable infrared thermometer. If you don’t have the thermometer, preheat for at least 5 minutes over high heat. The pan NEEDS to be at temperature when the meat hits it or the meat will overcook by the time you achieve the perfect sear.
Step 8: Remove steaks from fridge, pat dry with paper towels on both sides. Coat both sides with a very light coat of avocado oil.
Step 9: Place steak in cast iron pan and sear for one minute on each side.
TIP: When flipping the steak, place on other side of pan. When the cold meat hits the cast iron it will bring down the temperature of the pan directly under the meat. By using the other side of the pan on the flip, you’ll ensure the hot surface needed for searing.
Step 10: Remove steak from pan, season again with pinch of salt (optional) and slice immediately. No rest required on this cut.
Make this recipe:
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- 2 14 oz Skirt Steaks
- 2 tbsp salt divided
- 1 tsp pepper divided
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp avocado oil
- Set your sous vide water bath to 130–131 degrees F.
- Remove steaks from packaging and rinse under cold water.
- Coat steaks with a light coat of olive oil and season both sides with a pinch of sea salt and pepper.
- Seal steaks in a vacuum bag or zip top bag, removing as much air as possible.
- Drop into water bath and cover with lid.
- Remove steaks from water bath after 36 hours and place immediately in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.
- Get a cast iron pan, grill, or salamander style broiler if you have one, and set it to high heat.
- Remove steaks from fridge, pat dry on both sides and coat both sides with a very light coat of avocado oil.
- Place steak as close to heat source as possible and sear for one minute on each side.
- Remove from heat source, season with pinch of salt (optional) and slice immediately. No rest required on this cut.
- Serve with a healthy portion of chimichurri for optimal flavor high.