Skirt Steak -- what's that?

What is “skirt steak”? I can’t find it at the local chain supermarkets. Does it go by another name that I should look for? Or should I look for another supermarket (which would be too bad because Meijers usually has ANYTHING)?

You can see where the skirt steak is cut from in this chart.

This will show you how the skirt steak cut looks like.


It makes great fajitas!

Here’s a definition:
Skirt Steak

 Cut from the beef flank, the skirt steak is the
 diaphragm muscle (which lies between the
 abdomen and chest cavity). It's a long, flat
 piece of meat that's flavorful but rather tough.
 Properly cooked, skirt steak can be quite tender
 and delicious. It can either be quickly grilled, or
 stuffed, rolled and braised. Recently, skirt steak
 has become quite fashionable because of the
 delicious Southwestern dish, fajitas.

If you’re looking for it for fajitas, you can use round steak, too. Get the thin-cut, not the inch-thick “for swissing” stuff.

Cook it just till the pink is gone–if you overcook it, it gets really tough. And cook it in a really hot pan, in small batches, because round steak “weeps” like nobody’s business. If you dump the whole two pounds of it, sliced, in there, it will just sit there and ooze gray juice, not saute properly.

Fajitas are named that because they are small cuts of the skirt steak… Faja–means sash or skirt in English.

Okay, let me add that I’ve tried skirt steak on many, many occassions. In fajitas, and by itself (“arrachera”). I want to make arrachera, which I know is made from “skirt steak,” but I cannot find anything CALLED skirt steak anywhere.

So rather than really meaning “what IS skirt steak?,” I guess I should have asked “what ELSE is skirt steak called?” or “where the heck can I get it?”

None of the chain supermarkets have anything in their meat sections called skirt steak.

Thanks for all the answers though!

I always used “faja” to mean a Band-Aid® style bandage, but maybe that’s why people gave me such strange looks whilst seeking them!

'Course, for skirt I always used “falda” an the, uh, exotic dancers always knew what I meant!

it comes from homosexual bulls! :smiley:

skirt steak was generally regarded as a “butcher’s cut”, ie one he kept for himself and family because it wasn’t that popular. You’ll probably need to ask for it at the meat department, and be prepared to be told that they don’t have it. A butcher store would be able to help you.

Skirt steak was used for the original fajitas because it was inexpensive. The marinating, slicing and grilling process for fajitas tenderized the meat. Fajitas have become very popular and now skirt steak in no longer inexpensive. Some butchers now sell it as a “specialty cut” for fajitas. If you have any hispanic communities nearby, try a “Carniceria” (butcher shop), you will be delighted with the meats and the other products they have available.

One of the reasons that you may have difficulty locating a skirt steak is because there is only one of them per critter. As mentioned, make a special order for it or drop by your local Mexican “Mercado” and talk to the carnicidore (butcher).

When correctly prepared, the skirt steak has an excellent flavor. Do not accept flank steak. It is often placed right next to the skirt steaks and also looks similar. They are worlds apart in tenderness.

Avoid the clichéd Fajitas and try the Arrechera para parilla mentioned above. Here is a brief recipe.

1-2 Lbs Skirt steak* (thinly sliced across the grain)
2-3 Tbs Lime or lemon juice
3-4 Tbs Vegetable oil
2 Tbs onion powder
1 Tbs Garlic powder
½ Tsp Ground white pepper
½ Tsp Pacifico chile powder
½-1 Tsp Salt
Dash of water
Dash of ground cumin
Dash of oregano (optional)

  • Thin sliced round steak may be substituted

Place all of the ingredients into a plastic bag and allow to marinate for one or two hours. Be sure that the spices are well distributed and the meat is evenly coated. Shake the bag every once in a while during the marination.

Grill over open coals or pan fry until lightly browned. Do not add the entire amount of meat to the pan as it will release its juices and stop the searing process. Use some oil in the pan to get a good sear on the meat. cook off the meat one or two pieces at a time. Remove the meat from the grill or pan and immediately cut into ribbons.

Serve with a simple salsa cruda and pan warmed, fresh white corn tortillas from your local Mercado. A little shredded Monterey Jack cheese, a sprinkling of grated Parmesan, some chopped cilantro mixed with diced white onions and a dab of guacamole makes this into a stellar dish.


Muchisimas gracias! That recipe is exactly what I want to make!

I’m told there’s a big, Mexican barrio underneath the Ambassador Bridge right downtown. I think I’m going to head there tomorrow, hope something’s open, and see if I can get me a cut of skirt steak. I may scope out the restaurants, too; I’ve heard there are some good, authentic Mexican eateries there as well.

My favourite type of steak comes in skirts! :slight_smile: