Flank Steak and Skirt Steak are tough beefy strips that are best consumed straight off the grill. In addition, a lot of chefs overlook them. However, there is still a difference between flank steak and skirt steak.
They are both and strange-looking, and most of the time people interchange them. So, what is the actual difference between them if there are any? Many people wonder about flank steak vs. skirt steak because they are similar.
Their toughness is the main difference between the two. Flank steak is more tender than skirt steak, and its flavor is more intense. That means it can easily be cooked if you want it rare or medium-rare, and searing is usually the best cooking method for it. If you want a well done or tender steak, then you must choose flank.
What is the difference between skirt steak and flank steak? Find out now.
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Flank Steak vs. Skirt Steak
Flank steak comes from the cow’s bottom abdominal area. Since it is the abdominal, the muscle content is rich and there are tough muscle fibers.
How does this affect the meat? This makes the meat cut very tough and lean.
There is a tendency for it to be thicker and wider compared to a skirt steak, and it is more on the tough side. The toughness of the meat makes it important to slice it thinly against the grain.
The flank steak has a beef flavor that is intense and rich. However, it goes very well with marinades because it becomes tender.
The best cooking is method for this is to do it quickly and with a high temperature. This one goes very well with seared or grilled.
It is normally sold as the whole muscle, and this practically weighs about two pounds.
Skirt Steak vs. Flank Steak
Skirt Steak comes from the cow’s diaphragm muscle. It is not so far from the cow’s abdominal area, where the flank comes from.
It is tough, long, and lean, and this is the reason why so many confuse it with flank steak.
You cannot be caught off guard if you want ‘inside skirt’ or ‘outside skirt’. The truth is that there isn’t a lot of difference between skirt steak and flank steak.
The skirt steak has more tough muscle fibers than what flank has. This one impacts the texture, but it also means that the flavor is more intense.
The composition is very tough which means that you can only cook it rare or medium-rare. Cooking it well done will make it inedible.
Skirt steak is better if you sear or grill it, making it ideal for fajitas or stir fry, and you also must cut it against the grain so you can efficiently pull apart the tough fibers it has.
Why Should You Cut the Steak Against the Grain?
You must have seen many BBQ writers talk about cutting against the grain, specifically when it comes to beef.
Flank and skirt both have a muscle fiber composition that is resilient and tough. If the meat contains tough fibers, serving and eating them could be hard work.
These fibers easily separate and break down more efficiently if you cut against the grain. This will not destroy the meat fibers, but it will in keeping it more tender and easier to chew and swallow. You must also slice it thinly.
Skirt vs. Flank Steak Meat Structure
The major thing that sets them apart is the structure of their grain, and how this impacts the way you must prepare them.
The flank steak has fibers that are clearly defined. This makes the job easier if you are trying to slice it against the grain.
However, the fibers are a bit close together making it difficult for marinade and other flavors to fully penetrate the meat.
The skirt steak boasts a fiber and grain structure that is well-defined, but the main difference is that the fibers are not as tightly knit. Hence, the meat is better for marinades.
Grilling Flank Steak and Skirt Steak
The flank and skirt steaks are both thinly sliced, and flat. Since they are tough, you can best enjoy them rare or medium-rare and seared. BBQ tricks such as indirect grilling does not really work. That is because the flesh cannot be easily penetrated.
You can directly cook it on the grill, and sear it so that there will be beautiful marks on the sides of the meat.
The skirt steak is thinner than flank, so it just needs 3 minutes on each side when you are grilling it. Flank needs about 5 minutes on each side. The internal temperature must be 130 degrees F for flank and skirt steaks. If you do not have a meat thermometer, make sure to invest in a good one.
Skirt Steak or Flank Steak
Most people go for flank even if it costs a little more. In return, they get a larger and tender beef cut that they can use for many bbq recipes. It has a lot of flavor and gives them more fond memories of grilling bbq.
Now that you already know the facts about flank vs. skirt steak, you can plan better for your next bbq. For sure, your guests will be impressed at what you will decide to do as long as you take note of the information here.