What is the difference between flank steak and skirt steak? Flank steak and skirt steak come from the underside of the cow and are known for their rich, beefy flavor. However, they have different textures and cooking methods that can make them better suited for certain dishes.
Are you a steak lover who is always on the lookout for new cuts to try? If so, you’ve likely seen flank steak and skirt steak on menus or in the grocery store. While these two cuts may look similar, they have key differences that can impact their taste and texture.
Let’s take a closer look at the differences between these two popular cuts of beef.
In This Article
What Is Flank Steak?
You have probably heard of flank steak if you are a steak lover. Flank steak is a popular cut of beef that is known for its intense flavor and tough texture.
It is a lean cut of meat that comes from the abdominal muscles of the cow.
Flank steak is a versatile cut of meat that can be used in a variety of dishes, from fajitas to stir-fry to steak sandwiches.
Flank steak is a long and flat cut of beef that is about 1 to 2 inches thick. It is a relatively tough cut of meat, so it is best cooked quickly over high heat.
Flank steak is often grilled or broiled, but it can also be pan-seared or roasted in the oven.
Because of its toughness, it is important to slice flank steak against the grain to help break up the muscle fibers and make it easier to chew.
When it comes to flavor, flank steak is known for its intense beefy flavor. It is a popular choice for marinating because it can absorb flavors well.
Some popular marinade options for flank steak include soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and balsamic vinegar.
What Is Skirt Steak?
You might have heard of skirt steak if you are a steak lover. Skirt steak is a cut of beef that comes from the diaphragm muscles of the cow.
It is a long, thin, and flat piece of meat that is rich in flavor and has a coarse texture.
Skirt steak is known for its intense beefy flavor and is often used in Mexican and Latin American cuisines.
Skirt steak is a tough cut of meat that requires proper cooking techniques to make it tender and juicy.
It has a lot of connective tissue and is best cooked quickly over high heat.
Skirt steak is an excellent choice for grilling, searing, or broiling. It is also great for marinating as it can absorb flavors well.
The texture of skirt steak is coarse and fibrous, which makes it different from other cuts of steak.
It has a distinct grain that runs along the length of the meat, and it is essential to cut it against the grain to make it tender.
Skirt steak is best served rare to medium-rare, and overcooking it can make it tough and chewy.
Skirt steak is a flavorful and versatile cut of meat that can be used in various dishes. It is commonly used in fajitas, tacos, and stir-fries.
Skirt steak is also great for sandwiches, salads, and appetizers. It is a popular choice for those who love bold and intense flavors in their steak.
Flank Steak vs Skirt Steak
When choosing between flank steak and skirt steak, there are some key differences to keep in mind.
Here are some of the main factors to consider:
Texture and Toughness
Both flank steak and skirt steak are tougher cuts of meat that benefit from tenderizing.
Flank steak is thicker and wider than skirt steak, making it more difficult to tenderize.
Skirt steak, conversely, is thinner and more delicate, making it easier to tenderize.
However, both cuts can be made more tender by marinating them before cooking.
Flank steak has a lot of intense beefy flavor, while skirt steak has a slightly more delicate flavor.
Both cuts benefit from marinades. Like the bavette steak, it can enhance the steak’s natural flavors.
Grilling and Cooking
Both flank steak and skirt steak are great for grilling, but they require different cooking times and techniques.
Flank steak is thicker and can be cooked to medium-rare or medium, while skirt steak is thinner and should be cooked quickly over high heat to avoid overcooking.
Both cuts should be cooked against the grain to help break down the muscle fibers and make the meat more tender.
Marinade and Tenderizing
Marinades can be used to tenderize both flank steak and skirt steak. A good marinade will not only help to tenderize the meat, but also add flavor.
For flank steak, a marinade with acid (such as vinegar or citrus juice) can help to break down the muscle fibers and make the meat more tender.
For skirt steak, a marinade with soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce can help enhance the meat’s natural flavors.
Overall, both flank steak and skirt steak are delicious cuts of meat that can be cooked in a variety of ways.
When choosing between the two, consider the texture, flavor, and cooking method that will best suit your needs.
How To Cook Flank Steak
Flank steak is a lean cut of beef that is best cooked quickly over high heat.
Here are some tips to help you prepare a delicious flank steak:
- Before cooking, tenderize the meat by pounding it with a meat mallet or scoring it with a knife. This will help break down the muscle fibers and make the meat tender.
- Marinate the flank steak for at least 30 minutes before cooking to add flavor and further tenderize the meat. You can use a store-bought marinade or make your own with ingredients like soy sauce, garlic, and ginger.
- Ensure the grill or pan is hot before adding the meat when grilling or searing the steak. This will help create a nice crust on the outside while keeping the inside juicy.
- Cook the flank steak for 3-4 minutes per side for rare or 5-6 minutes for medium-rare. Use a meat thermometer to check the steak’s internal temperature – it should be 130-135°F for medium-rare.
- After cooking, let the flank steak rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing it against the grain. This will help the juices distribute evenly throughout the meat.
Enhance your steak cooking skills: Best Skillets For Steaks
Here are some delicious flank steak recipes to try:
- Grilled Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sauce
- Marinated Grilled Flank Steak
- Grilled Flank Steak with Garlic Soy Sauce Marinade
How To Cook Skirt Steak
If you’ve decided to cook skirt steak, you’ve made a great choice. Skirt steak is a flavorful and versatile cut of meat that can be cooked in a variety of ways.
Here are some tips for cooking skirt steak:
- Marinate the steak: Skirt steak can be a tough cut of meat, so it’s important to marinate it to help tenderize it. You can use a store-bought marinade or make your own with ingredients like soy sauce, garlic, and lime juice. Marinate the steak for at least 30 minutes, preferably for a few hours or overnight.
- Preheat your grill or pan: Skirt steak is best cooked quickly over high heat. Preheat your grill or pan to medium-high or high heat before adding the steak.
- Cook to medium-rare: Skirt steak is best cooked to medium rare, with an internal temperature of 130°F. Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature of the steak.
- Sear the steak: To get a nice crust on the outside of the steak, sear it for a few minutes on each side before finishing it off over lower heat.
- Cut against the grain: Skirt steak has long muscle fibers that can be tough if not cut properly. To make the steak more tender, cut it against the grain.
- Try stir-frying: Skirt steak is also great for stir-frying. Cut it into thin strips and cook it quickly with vegetables and a flavorful sauce over high heat.
With these tips, you should be able to cook a delicious and tender skirt steak. Enjoy!
Flank Steak Recipes
If you’re looking to cook the flank steak, there are many delicious recipes. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Marinated Flank Steak: Marinating your flank steak can help to tenderize the meat and add flavor. Try marinating your steak in olive oil, soy sauce, garlic, and herbs for a few hours before grilling or broiling it.
- Grilled Flank Steak: Flank steak is great for grilling and easy to cook to perfection. Season your steak with salt, pepper, and any other spices you like, then grill it over high heat for a few minutes on each side until it’s cooked to your liking.
- Braised Flank Steak: Braising is a method that involves slowly cooking meat in liquid until it’s tender and flavorful. Try braising your flank steak in a mixture of beef broth, red wine, onions, and herbs for a few hours until it’s fall-apart tender.
- Stir-Fried Flank Steak: Flank steak is also great for stir-fries. Cut your steak into thin strips, then stir-fry it with vegetables and a flavorful sauce for a quick and easy meal. No matter how you cook your flank steak, let it rest for a few minutes before slicing it against the grain. This will help to keep the meat tender and juicy.
Skirt Steak Recipes
If you’re looking for a cut of meat that’s versatile and packed with flavor, skirt steak is an excellent choice. Here are some delicious skirt steak recipes to try:
- Grilled Skirt Steak: One of the easiest and tastiest ways to prepare skirt steak is on the grill. Simply season the steak with salt and pepper, and grill it over high heat for a few minutes on each side until it’s cooked to your liking. Serve it with a side of grilled vegetables for a delicious and healthy meal.
- Skirt Steak Fajitas: Skirt steak is the classic cut used in fajitas and for a good reason. Its bold flavor pairs perfectly with the spices and vegetables in this popular Mexican dish. Simply marinate the steak in lime juice, garlic, and chili powder, then grill it perfectly. Serve it with warm tortillas, sautéed peppers, onions, and all your favorite toppings.
- Marinated Skirt Steak: Skirt steak is an excellent candidate for marinating. Its thin, flat shape lets the marinade penetrate the meat quickly, resulting in a flavorful and tender steak. Try marinating skirt steak in soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, and ginger for a delicious Asian-inspired meal. Or, go for a classic Italian marinade of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and herbs.
No matter how you prepare it, skirt steak is a delicious and affordable cut of meat that’s perfect for grilling, cooking, and marinating.
Try out these recipes and discover the versatility and flavor of skirt steak!
Choosing Between Flank Steak and Skirt Steak
When choosing between flank steak and skirt steak, there are a few things to consider. Both cuts are rich and beefy, but they have some differences that may affect your choice.
One of the main differences between these two cuts is the grain. Skirt steak has a looser grain than flank steak, so it tends to be more tender.
However, it has more connective tissue, so it should be cooked to rare or medium rare for the most tender texture.
Flank steak, on the other hand, has a tighter grain and less connective tissue, making it more forgiving and easier to cook to your desired doneness.
Another factor to consider is where the cuts come from on the cow. Skirt steak comes from the transversus abdominis muscle, which is located inside the chest cavity.
Flank steak comes from the abdominal muscles, specifically the bottom abdominal area of the cow.
This means flank steak is thicker, wider, and heavier than skirt steak, which is a longer and thinner cut.
Regarding marbling, both cuts have some fat, but flank steak tends to have more marbling than skirt steak.
This can make it a more flavorful cut, but it also means that it can be a bit more fatty. If you prefer a leaner cut of meat, skirt steak may be the better choice.
Finally, consider the preparation method.
Skirt steak should be cooked quickly over high heat, while flank steak can be cooked over high heat or low and slow.
Skirt steak is best served rare or medium-rare, while flank steak can be cooked to medium or medium-well.
In summary, when choosing between flank steak and skirt steak, consider the grain, where the cut comes from on the cow, marbling, and preparation method.
Both cuts are delicious and versatile, so it ultimately comes down to personal preference and how you plan to cook them.