Churrasco steak would be in the steak hall of fame if there was such a thing. It’s SO full of flavor, it’s inexpensive, and it cooks quickly making it perfect for a large crowd.
In this blog, I’ll explain how to grill the perfect churrasco steak, using my favorite marinade. It’s the technique that’s important here so if there’s a marinade you like better, use that. But don’t sleep on this chimichurri marinade, it’s excellent!Jump to Recipe
What Is the Difference Between Churrasco and Skirt Steak?
Churrasco steak as it’s known in Portuguese and Spanish, refers to the full-of-flavor technique of grilling thinner cuts of meat over an open flame. This mouthwatering meat is commonly accompanied by a chimichurri sauce, either red or green, or both.
Churrasco steak holds a cherished place in the hearts of food enthusiasts across Spain, Portugal, and various regions throughout South America, and recently in the backyards all across North America. Skirt steak on the other hand, isn’t a technique at all.
Skirt steak is actually a cut of beef, as opposed to a technique used to cook it. Generally speaking, skirt steak is used with the churrasco steak grilling technique; though other meats like flank steak or picanha can be used.
There are actually two different types of skirt steak: inside and outside skirt. Check this blog for the difference between inside and outside skirt steak.
How Long Should You Cook Skirt Steak on the Grill?
Skirt steak grills quickly on a properly preheated grill. And by quickly, I mean QUICKLY.
You should plan for no more than three minutes per side, and that’s for an exceptionally thick grilled skirt steak. In most cases, two minutes per side is plenty as this steak is best served medium rare.
How Do You Keep Skirt Steak From Getting Chewy?
Skirt steak is one of my favorite cuts of beef for a number of reasons, but it can get chewy if you’re not careful.
There are two ways to avoid this. First, by cooking it to the proper temperature. Medium rare (about 128°F) as indicated by a reliable quick read thermometer is the sweet spot.
Second, properly cut the steak. You’ll want the final cut before taking a bite to be across the grain. So if for example you were going to use this steak in a taco, you’d want to cut long strips across the grain.
If you’re simply taking bites with a fork, you’d want to cut pieces with the grain, then cut individual bites of steak against the grain. This will reduce the chewiness of the meat tremendously.
Can Churrasco Steak Be Cooked On The Stove?
In short, no. Because “churrasco” is a technique using open flame it can’t be done on the stovetop. Having said that, you can do something really close, here’s how:
I see recipes all the time that claim to be churrasco steak, done on a grill pan on the stove top. I always scratch my head at that.
The goal is to gain an overall char on the steak, not make sexy grill marks and that’s what a grill pan will do. Instead, use a flat surface griddle and sear the steak on that. This will produce a MUCH BETTER char than a grill pan.
Five Tips For The Perfect Churrasco Steak
Marinade: Skirt steak is very porous and does well with marinade. I love to use this authentic chimichurri as a marinade, it provides both a deep and bright flavor.
Steak Temperature: For thicker cuts of meat, I always recommend leaving them on the counter to come up to room temperature before going on the grill. Skirt steak is so thin, it will overcook by the time it chars if you put it on the grill at room temperature.
So, go right from the fridge to the grill with churrasco steak. You’ll still see people offering the same one size fits all advice about allowing the meat to come to room temp before grilling it, that’s bad advice for a thin cut like this.
Flipping: One flip, that’s all that’s needed on this thin cut of steak. That’s not the case for all cuts of beef, but it is for this one.
Grill Temperature: Get your grill grate ripping hot before adding the steak. Don’t place the steak on a grill that isn’t already preheated. This will ensure a great char.
Meat Preparation: Oftentimes skirt steak is sold at the grocery store with a thick piece of silver skin attached. Either trim that yourself (it’s easy) or ask your butcher to do it.
How To Make Churrasco Steak
Prep Time: 15 mins | Cook Time: 5 mins | Serves: 4
Step 1: Place the skirt steaks in a shallow vessel (or zip top bag) and coat with one cup of authentic chimichurri. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator, allowing them to marinate for 2-4 hours.
Step 2: Fire up the grill and allow it to preheat to high heat. Then, shake off any excess marinade from the steaks and place them on the grill over direct heat and grill them for 2-3 minutes per side.
Step 3: Remove steak from grill when desired char and internal temperature is reached, as indicated by a reliable instant read thermometer. I recommend medium rare.
Step 4: Allow steaks to rest for 3 minutes before slicing and serving hot with remaining authentic chimichurri and red chimichurri. Salt and pepper as desired.
- 4 lbs outside skirt steak trimmed
- 2 cup authentic chimichurri sauce divided
- 1 cup red chimichurri sauce
- Kosher salt and pepper to taste
- Place the skirt steaks in a shallow vessel and coat with one cup of authentic chimichurri. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator, allowing them to marinate for 2-4 hours.
- Fire up the grill and allow it to preheat to high heat. Then, shake off any excess marinade from the steaks and place them on the grill over direct heat and grill them for 2-3 minutes per side.
- Remove steak from grill when desired internal temperature is reached, as indicated by a reliable instant read thermometer. I recommend medium rare.
- Allow steaks to rest for three minutes before slicing and serving hot with remaining authentic chimichurri and red chimichurri. Salt and pepper as desired.