How to Trim Skirt Steak Once it’s home, all you’ve got to do is remove some of the excess fat from the exterior, and you’re good to go. Follow our step-by-step guide for more detailed instructions on how to prepare a skirt steak for the grill.
Lay it out and split Whole skirt steaks are about two feet long and come rolled up. You’ll want to unroll them on a large cutting board, your sharp boning or chef’s knife at the ready. Lay the steak fat-side up, then split it down the middle cutting along the very conspicuous grain to get it into more easy-to-manage one-foot-long pieces.
Slide under the fat
Slide your blade underneath some of the exposed fat, being careful not to go too deep. The meat underneath that fat has a rough, ridged surface, so it’s very easy to accidentally cut some of it off. Better to take the fat off in thin layers so that you don’t accidentally over-trim.
Work your blade along the steak parallel to the cutting board, always making sure to cut away from your hand. Or, if you’d prefer, cut toward your hand…a single accident should set you straight for life.
Flip and pull
Even though most of the tough membrane in an inside skirt will have been removed for you, some remnants may remain. Flip the skirt steak over to its non-fatty side and pinch the surface of the meat to locate the membrane.
Peel it off
Once you’ve got the membrane, it should be easy to peel off in large swaths. As with the fat, there’s no need to go crazy here—just get most of it, and the rest will melt away as the steak cooks. With skirt steak, under trimming is always better than over trimming.
Pound skirt steak into evenly shaped pieces
Skirt is a long, tapered piece of meat, and pounding it will give it a thinner, more uniform shape that’s easier to cook and to slice. Pound the meat with the flat side of a meat mallet or bottom of a frying pan until the steak is about 1/4 inch thick. That may seem thin, but the steak pulls back together as it cooks. Pounding also tenderizes the meat by breaking down connective tissue. Scoring after pounding is another way to tenderize, and it keeps the meat from shrinking too much as it cooks. The downside of scoring is that you may end up with a less juicy piece of steak because the cuts will let more juices out. To score, etch shallow, crosshatched cuts in the steak about 1/2 inch apart with the tip of a sharp knife.
Add a Coffee Chili & Brown Sugar rub
Unlike more tender cuts of meat with subtler flavor (like filet), skirt steak has full flavor that comes through loud and clear. And it benefits from full flavorings. Make a dry rub from:
- Half cup ground coffee
- Quarter cup brown sugar
- Tbl spoon mustard Powder
- Tbl spoon crushed coriander seeds
- Tbl spoon sea salt
- Tbl spoon ground black pepper
- Tbl spoon chili flakes
- Tble spoon spoked paprika
Dredge the skirt steak in the dry rub and rest for 20 minutes
Flash the steak in a hot pan
There are two important rules when you’re cooking skirt steak—cook it at high heat, and cook it quickly. Because the meat is thin, it’s quite easy to overcook it. Searing the outside is important: you’ll get good flavor outside and meat that isn’t overcooked inside. Sear the meat quickly in a sizzling skillet or over the red-hot coals of a grill. Both ways work well; just remember not to cook the meat beyond medium rare. Past that, the steak dries out quickly. Hot meat will continue to cook even after it’s off the heat, so it’s better to undercook skirt steak by a half a minute or so. You should see a very rosy pink center when you cut into the meat. Stay away from broiling skirt; most home broilers can’t deliver the intense jolt of heat you’re looking for. Let the meat rest for a few minutes before you serve it. Searing the steak forces the juices to the center of the meat. The resting period allows the juices to seep back into the rest of the meat so you’ll get a juicier, tastier result. Keep the steak under a tent of foil so it stays warm. Cut skirt steak in thin slices. You can slice it either with or across the grain, but whichever way you slice it, slice it thin. Some people find that skirt sliced against the grain is more tender and less chewy. Try it both ways to see which you prefer.