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How to Grill Skirt Steak


Grilled Skirt Steak

Grilled Skirt Steak

Photo © Molly Watson

Skirt steak is a wonderfully flavorful cut of beef. It's also fabulous on the grill. It cooks up easily, quickly, and can be sliced to feed 4 to 6 people - or more if you use the meat in fajitas, sandwiches, or as part of a summer dinner salad. Have a bigger crowd to feed? Just grill an extra skirt steak or two (or three). I love cooking these larger cuts that you then slice and serve because they allow for a lot of flexibility of appetite and diet. Hungry meat eaters and those for whom a slice or two is dandy all benefit.

  1. While technically optional, the first step for the best tasting grilled steak is to salt it. I like to liberally sprinkle the skirt steak with sea salt or kosher salt and let it sit for at least 30 minutes at room temperature or up to overnight in the fridge. You can also add freshly ground black pepper and even a bit of cayenne, if you like. In any case, bring the meat to about room temperature, or at least let it sit out to take the chill off before cooking it to help ensure even cooking.
  2. While the meat sits, heat a charcoal or gas grill to high heat. You should be able to hold your hand about an inch over the grill grate for 1 second before it feels too hot. If using a charcoal grill, build the fire to one side so you'll also have a cooler area to move the steak(s) to if it's seared and browned on the outside but not quite ready to take off the grill completely (if you're using a gas grill you'll be able to turn off a burner if need be).
  3. Set the steak(s) on the grill and cook, without moving, until that side is seared and releases from the grill of its own accord, about 3 minutes for medium rare, 4 minutes for medium. Turn and cook on the other side to the same effect, about 3 to 4 more minutes. You can use a meat thermometer to get an accurate temperature, if you like. For rare, remove the steak(s) at 120°F - 125°F; medium rare 125°F - 130°F; medium 130°F - 135°F.
  4. Remove the steak(s) from the grill, cover loosely with foil, and let sit at least 10 minutes. This resting time allows the meat to finish cooking and the juices to redistribute evenly throughout the steak.
  5. Use a sharp knife to slice the steak against the grain and serve hot, warm, or room temperature. Skirt steak is particularly flavorful, so any cold leftovers are more than usually delicious.

Perfectly grilled steak is perfectly tasty with just salt and pepper. For a bit more pizazz, try putting a slice or dollop of Compound Butter on top of each serving. Of course hot sauces, salsas, and guacamole are all great options if you're using the steak of fajitas.

You may also want to check out How to Grill the Perfect Steak.

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