Many people are not sure what skirt steak and flank steak are, or even what differences they have. This blog post will tell you all about skirt steak vs flank steak so that you can decide which cut of meat would be best for your next barbecue!
What is skirt steak?
Skirt steak is made from the diaphragm muscle of a cow. It’s made up of more tough muscle fibers than the flank. The tough composition means that it can only be cooked as rare or medium-rare.
It also needs to be cut against the grain to efficiently pull apart its tough fibers. It can be seared or grilled, which is great for fajitas and stir fry. Anything well done and it won’t be practically inedible, but seared is best cooked or grilled. Skirt Steak is often served as default by restaurants and butchers. It carries a much more intense flavor than flank steak.
What is flank steak?
It’s usually sold as an entire muscle, and this will typically weigh around 2 pounds. It carries an intense and rich beef flavor but goes well with marinades. Cooking quickly and at high temperatures is the best way to get the most out of the meat. It goes well grilled or seared and even prepared as reverse-seared flank steak.
This tough cut of meat has an intense beef taste and can be made to soften in marinate it with a marinade. It also can be eaten in a sandwich or salad or a large portion of the steak can be cooked in a bowl of ice cream, then added into a large piece of steamed meat.
What is the difference between skirt steak and flank steak?
I think you’ll agree that skirt and flank are two of the coolest cuts on a cow.
First, they work really hard because both muscles do most of the heavy lifting during their lifespan.
Second, these tough pieces contain less fat than more common beef cuts like ribeye or tenderloin—which is good for your cholesterol level!
Thirdly, each cut has its own unique flavor profile: while skirt can be too strong for some people’s tastes; it also provides plenty of dose-yumminess to other folks who crave a burger with an extra kick in every bite; whereas flank might not pack as much punch but will surely satisfy any BBQ enthusiast out there looking for something tasty without being too intense.
Fourthly, skirt and flank cook differently: the skirt is best for pan-searing or grilling over high heat; whereas flank is perfect for braising because it’s more tender than skirt steak.
Fifth, flank steak is wider and thicker than skirt steak.
How to grill flank & skirt steak
Skirt and flank steaks are tough cuts that require plenty of time. Aim for an internal temperature of 130F for both steaks when grilling them.
Look to sear the steak in the middle to add some beautiful grill marks to the sides of the steak. Aim to be more tender than flank or skirt, so target a 130F rating for each steak when it is being grilled.
For the best results, there’s a great way to make sure you aren’t using indirect work of indirect grilling as the flesh is so tough it can’t penetrate it through the meat, just because it is so difficult to penetrate the flesh.
Differences in Grain Structure
Three beef steaks have clearly defined grain structures: the muscle fibers are long and running in a single direction. For all these steaks, slicing against the grain is absolutely critical.
The difference is so profound that unless you work the flank over with a Picard, there isn’t much point in marinating a flank as the flavors will barely penetrate the surface. The muscle fibers on the skirt are more ‘open and loose” compared to the fibers on a flank.
This means that the skirt can soak up marinades a whole lot better than the flank, especially if it’s cooked properly, it can soak more easily and more easily.
Where Do The Flank and Skirt Come From?
A flank steak typically weighs between 1.5 and 2.5 pounds. The skirt steak is actually the diaphragm of a steer. A bavette steak is an excellent flank steak substitute for a flank steak.
The flank and skirt steak are often less expensive than ribeyes and are great value cuts. The flatness of the flank steak often causes people to confuse it with a flat iron steak, which is an incredibly tender steak from the chuck subprimal.
Skirt Steak Vs Flank Steak – Which is Better?
Skirt steaks are less tender than flank steaks. If you cook and cut them right, they’re less tender, but if you cook right, that’s not an issue.
Skirts cooks faster, offer more flavor, and they’re usually less expensive than flank. It’s a close decision, but we’re declaring skirt steak to be the winner of this showdown with this cut of meat.
Best Skirt and Flank Steak Recipes
Why cut the steak against the grain?
You might have seen a lot of BBQ writers discuss cutting against the grain. This won’t ruin the meat but will help keep it tender and make it easier to slice into thin slices.
Both flank and skirt are made up of very tough muscle fibers. The tough fibers can make eating and serving meat hard work when it is broken down. This is when you need to separate and break down these fibers more efficiently by cutting them into the grain.
This will help to break down the fibers and keep them as tender as possible.
My Final Thoughts.
Flank steak meats are tapered and thin, making them ideal for dry pan cooking techniques like Asian stir-frying or grilled (like the strips in carne asada). The long side muscles of the flank are better suited for cross-grain dry heat cooking techniques.
They also have a nice beefy flavor. Skirt steaks on the other hand, which are from the diaphragm muscle and cut across two primal cuts, have a lot of luscious fat running along one side which gives it a rich flavor that just doesn’t compare with flank steaks—even though many people call them the “poor man’s ribeye.”