Which piece of meat usually catches your eye at your local supermarket? Some of you might prefer the chunky rib eye, while others may admire the fatty marbling on the NY strip. However, these meat cuts are expensive; therefore, not everyone can afford them daily groceries.
Nevertheless, there are many other meat cuts you can go for if you’re looking for flavorful protein without burning a hole in your pocket. For example, the skirt steak is one of the most versatile beef cuts ignored on supermarket racks.
It comes from the lower rib muscles of the cow, not far from the abdomen, and has long grains with an intense beefy flavor. Excited to know more about the meat cut? Check out this detailed answer to what is skirt steak for all the information you need.
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What is Skirt Steak?
Skirt steak is a beef cut from the area underneath the lower rib section of the cow. Also known as the diaphragm area, the part produces mid-range meat cuts that aren’t very fatty or highly lean.
The telltale feature of skirt steak is the well-defined long muscle fibers that give it a tougher texture compared to other steaks. Similarly, it is an oddly-shaped steak with a long and narrow profile. That’s why it is best served sliced thinly after cooking.
There are two types of skirt steak, the inside skirt, and the outside skirt. Both are more or less the same when it comes to flavor but differ in tenderness and size.
The Inside Skirt Steak
If you’re looking for an expensive steak to incorporate healthy proteins into your everyday diet, the inside skirt is the ideal option for you. It comes cheap because most people don’t prefer it because of its tough, chewy texture.
Nevertheless, all it requires is a bit extra love and attention while cooking, and it turns out to be as delicious as any other expensive meat cut.
The inside skirt comes from the inner area of the 6th-12th rib. It is leaner than its outside counterpart and measures around 5-7 inches. Besides that, it is half as thick as the outside skirt, which makes for quick cooking and easy prep.
The Outside Skirt Steak
Most skirt steak lovers prefer the outside cut over the inside skirt steak. That’s because the outside part is larger, thicker, and more tender.
Usually, the outside skirt steak is sold whole according to its weight and cooked whole as well. After cooking, it is important to cut the skirt steak against its grain to make sure the bites are easy to cut.
This makes it the perfect steak for recipes like fajitas, tacos, and beef bulgogi.
Besides that, the outside skirt steak is covered with a white membrane you’ll need to remove before marinating it. But, you can ask your butcher to remove the sinew for you to save your prep time.
Although you can remove the membrane yourself as well, you might end up peeling off some of the meat underneath if you’re an amateur.
You might not notice the difference between the inside and outside skirt steak as a new buyer. That’s why make sure to ask the butcher about the location of the cut so you can get your preferred steak.
Is Skirt Steak Nutritious?
If you’re going for skirt steak as an affordable protein option for your family, you must be concerned about its nutrition content. The good news is, skirt steak is a lean piece of meat packed with beneficial proteins and low on fats.
A typical skirt steak may have around 22 grams of protein with only 4 grams of saturated fat. Compared to other fatty steaks with a silky texture, skirt steak is a healthier option.
How to Cook Skirt Steak?
Cooking skirt steak is quite tricky, attributing to its lean and tough texture combined with the long muscle grains. If you cook it the wrong way, you’ll end up with a rubbery, chewy meat dish.
The best way is to marinade the steak with enzyme-induced ingredients. These include soy sauce, citrus juices, and Worcestershire sauce. After that, heat your pan to the right temperature and sear it for around 2-3 minutes on each side.
Remember, skirt steak does not need to be cooked for long. Overcooking it will ruin its texture and make the meat difficult to bite into.
Once you’re done cooking, slice your skirt steak against the grain. Slicing parallel to the grain will produce tougher bites that’ll be difficult to chew.
Another pro tip for cooking skirt steak is to dry off the moisture before placing it on the hot pan. Pat off any juices from your marinade before cooking to get a crispy crust with a smoky flavor.
If you cook it with all the extra moisture, it will produce steam on your pan, which will give you a soggy, soft crust.
That concludes all the basic facts you need to know about what is skirt steak. While purchasing a skirt steak, make sure to pick the right cut according to your recipe.
Besides that, be careful while cooking meat and not overcook it to ruin its natural meaty flavor. Just pay attention to the details, and you’ll be able to cook anything from a stir-fry, nachos topping, fajitas, and much more using this modest meat cut.