Grilled Marinated Skirt Steak
This Skirt Steak is melt-in-your-mouth delicious with a tender and juicy texture. A simple trick to get the best-tasting skirt steak recipe is marinating the meat prior to grilling or pan-searing. A quick garlic and lime marinade infuses plenty of flavor while tenderizing the steak for an amazing dinner!
Say hello to the best grilled steak recipe—Marinated Skirt Steak with Garlic and Lime! Cooking skirt steak doesn’t need to be intimidating, but don’t let its reputation of being lean and tough deter you. This post has my no-fail recipe to cook this steak perfectly each time!
Cooking at high temperature quickly ensures the meat retains moisture without drying out. This particular cut is suitable for grilling, broiling or pan-searing in a cast iron skillet. My favorite way is to grill skirt steak whole and slice thinly after cooking. Great for a steak salad, tacos, sandwiches, and more!
What is skirt steak?
Skirt steak is a long, lean, and tough cut that’s prized for its robust beefy flavor. Although less tender than center cuts like ribeye or filet mignon, it can be buttery tender and flavorful when cooked properly. What’s more, it’s affordable with a price that’s half of a prime-grade steak.
It benefits from short marinating to tenderize the meat, and then quick grilling at high heat to medium-rare doneness. You won’t believe how tender it is! If you don’t have a grill, you can find how to cook it in a cast-iron pan below in the recipe notes.
How to cook skirt steak
- Season the steak on both sides with salt and pepper.
- Marinate with garlic, lime juice, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, ginger, Italian seasoning, green onions, and olive oil.
- Grill for 2-3 minutes each side until the desired doneness is reached.
- Rest the meat for 5 minutes before serving.
That’s it! Super easy! See the cooking process photos below:
What’s the benefit of marinating?
A skirt steak marinade has two benefits: boosting flavor and tenderizing the meat.
This recipe uses a garlic-lime marinade together with some other seasonings and herbs. Acid from the lime juice helps to tenderize the meat by breaking down tough proteins; garlic and ginger add exquisite flavors to the steak.
A short marinating time (30 minutes to 2 hours) is what you want, as the acidity from the marinade could make the meat mushy over longer periods.
Top tips to tender and juicy skirt steak
- Use a marinade: acid from lime juice tenderizes the meat by giving the steak a “pre-cook” before it hits the grill.
- Salt makes meat juicy: salt dissolves some muscle proteins and creates a natural brine. Salt your steak generously before marinating.
- Bring to room temperature: let your steak sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking helps prevent the outer layers of the meat from overcooking.
- Pat dry before cooking: after taking the steak out from the marinade, use paper towels to wipe off the extra moisture since excess moisture inhibits browning and tenderizing.
- Cook over high heat: this will keep it tender on the inside, and nicely seared on the outside at the same time.
- Cook to medium-rare: for a tough cut like skirt steak, it’s best to cook it to rare or medium-rare for the most tender texture. Don’t cook your skirt steak beyond medium.
- Rest your steak: this step allows the juice to redistribute within the meat before serving, making it more tender.
Cooking Time and Temperature
Skirt steaks are commonly about ½ to 1 inch (13-25mm) thick, and the cooking time varies slightly depending on the desired doneness. For the most tender results, use high heat and cook to medium-rare.
For ¾-inch (2cm) cuts, grill at 400°F (204°C) for 2-3 minutes PER SIDE. This will give you tender and juicy medium-rare steak. Overcooked or well-done skirt steak will turn out tough and chewy.
How do you know it’s done?
Test the thickest part of the steak using an instant-read thermometer, and here are guidelines for steak doneness:
|Skirt Steak Doneness||Internal Temp|
|Rare steak||125°F (52°C)|
|Medium rare steak||130°F (54°C)|
|Medium steak||140°F (60°C)|
|Well-done steak||160°F (71°C)|
Note that the temperature will rise a few more degrees while resting. The USDA states the safe internal temperature for beef is 145°F (63°C) or medium, even though it’s not always observed.
Difference between skirt steak and flank steak
Skirt steak is sometimes confused with flank steak. In spite of some common features, there are significant differences between the two. Both are long, oblong tough cuts of steak with strong beefy flavor.
Skirt steak has more tough fibers with an even more intense, beefy flavor than flank steak. It’s also thinner and narrower, so it cooks much faster. They are interchangeable in most recipes but require different cooking time.
How to prepare skirt steak
It usually comes rolled up from the grocery store or butcher (see the image below). First, unroll it on a large cutting board and place it fat-side up. Split in the middle if it’s too long to manage.
Slide the blade of your knife underneath the fat, and cut along the steak, parallel to the cutting board. Trim the fat off in thin layers, and under that fat lies the nice and lean meat! You’ll notice that there are still some channels of fat underneath, and they will keep the meat tender during cooking.
The membrane from the other side is usually removed, but in case any small bits remain, pinch the surface of the meat to peel it off.
What is skirt steak good for?
Skirt steak is best seared or grilled quickly over high heat after a short marinating, and it’s also delicious in a stir fry. It’s the classic cut used in steak fajitas, and can also be used in recipes such as Steak Tacos, Steak Salad, Steak Sandwich, Mexican Skirt Steak and Carne Asada Skirt Steak.
How to Serve Skirt Steak?
The classic way to serve is to cut it into thin slices. Although most steaks are sliced against the grain, you can cut the grilled marinated skirt steak along the grain because of its special shape. Pair it with potatoes, rice, tortillas, and vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts and parsnips.
Marinated Skirt Steak for Grilling
Skirt Steak Marinade
- 2 tablespoons garlic, minced (about 4-5 cloves)
- 1/3 cup lime juice, (78ml) about 1-2 limes
- 1/3 cup soy sauce, (78ml)
- 1/3 cup olive oil, (78ml)
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, (30ml)
- 1 tablespoons ginger, minced (2cm piece)
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning, (12g)
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- pinch of red flakes, optional
- Fresh thyme or rosemary, chopped (optional)
- 1 1/2 pounds skirt steak, (680g) trimmed of excess fat (see instructions)
- ½ teaspoon black pepper, (1.6g)
- 1 teaspoon salt, (6g)
- chopped parsley, optional for serving
- lime wedges, optional for serving
- Trim the fat: Prepare your steak by trimming off the fat. Also, peel off any remaining membrane from the surface of the meat.
- Season both sides of the skirt steak generously with salt and pepper.
- Make the marinade: In a resealable plastic bag, add garlic, lime juice, soy sauce, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, ginger, Italian seasoning, green onions, and optional red flakes and herbs.
- Place the steak in the bag, close the bag and shake to coat the meat evenly from all sides. Let it marinate for at least 30-60 minutes at room temperature. (Marinate the steak in the refrigerator if not cooking within 1 hour)
- Prepare the grill: Preheat grill to medium-high heat 400-450°F (204-232°C). Grease the cooking grates with the oil to prevent sticking. (Make sure the grates are hot enough before putting the steak on.)
- Grill the steak: Once the grill is ready, remove the steak from the marinade and wipe off the excess liquid with paper towels. Place the steak on the grill, cover and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Open the grill and flip the steak. Cover and grill the other side for 2-3 minutes.
- Check doneness: Insert an instant meat thermometer into the thickest part of the steak. Remove from the grill at 120°F (51°C) for rare, 125°F (52°C) for medium-rare, and 135°F (57°C) for medium. (As the temperature will rise a few degrees while resting.)
- Rest the Meat: Remove your steak to a cutting board and let it rest covered with aluminum foil for 5-10 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute through the meat.
- Slice thinly and serve.
- Avoid piercing or cutting into the steak while cooking, as the juices will escape causing the meat to dry out.
- To cook it in a cast-iron skillet or frying pan on the stove:
- Place the skillet on medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon oil (15ml) when the skillet is hot.
- Add the steak and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes to the desired doneness.
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