Flank Steak Vs Skirt Steak: Which One Is Best
Flank and skirt steak are two amazing tasting meats. But which one is best? Find out the differences so you know which one to use for your next BBQ cook-off.
Both are tough, beefy strips of meat that are great straight off the grill. Also, both are criminally overlooked by a lot of chefs.
But what are the differences between flank steak and skirt steak?
Both are long, strange-looking cuts of meat, and a lot of the time the two are often used interchangeably. So is there actually a difference?
The main difference between flank steak and skirt steak is how tough they are. Skirt steak is tougher thank flank, and carries a more intense flavor. This means that it can only be cooked as rare or medium-rare, and is usually best seared. If you prefer your steak well done or tender then I advise going for flank.
How To Buy It And Trim It
Alternative Names: Fajita meat or Roumanian Strip .
Where it’s Cut From: The outside skirt is the diaphragm muscle of the cow, cut from the plate. It is the traditional cut for fajitas, and is generally sold to restaurants. It comes with a tough membrane attached to it, which needs to be trimmed before it can be cooked.
Inside skirt is part of the flank, and is the more widely available form of skirt steak. Luckily for consumers, it generally comes with the membrane removed, making trimming an easy job at home. All you’ve got to do is remove some of the excess fat from the exterior, and you’re good to go.
Use a sharp knife, and try and take off the fat without digging into the meat. It’s totally fine to end up strips of fat still striated throughout the meat. This’ll render as the meat grills, basting it as it cooks, giving the steak that much more richness and adding to its intense, beefy, buttery flavor. The photo above shows just about how much you want to trim.
Is Skirt Steak A Good Cut Of Meat
In general, the higher quality of a cut of meat, the more expensive it is. Skirt steak falls under this category most budget friendly cuts are composed primarily of tough connective tissue, baby fat and nerves from areas like the belly or shoulder. Skirt steak is a desirable cut because it falls under one of two categories: tender cuts that are composed of muscle and are less fatty, or flavorful cuts that are composed of a mix of muscle, fat and connective tissue.
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Shouldn’t: Chuck Eye Steak
Cut from the same area as the chuck center steak, this is sometimes referred to as the poor man’s ribeye. The chuck eye steak features plenty of fat and has a marbled texture throughout the meat. Disappointingly it’s temperamental to cook and, if heated too fast, it quickly becomes unpleasantly chewy.
If you’re hoping that a chuck eye steak will deliver the beautiful buttery soft, melt in the mouth texture of a good ribeye, you’ll be disappointed. It has a similar flavor, but the meat is too coarse to be anywhere near as good. If you like to slow cook or braise your steaks, this may be a good option for you, but it’s not going to work for those who want rarer steaks cooked quickly on a hot grill.
You can pick up a chuck eye steak for about $11 a pound at Walmart. If tenderized, cooked well, and sliced thinly, a chuck eye steak can be tasty. However, there are several cheap steaks that are much tastier and simpler to prepare.
Is Organic Beef Grass
Organic beef does not necessarily mean it was grass-fed.
Organic means that the animal was not given added hormones or antibiotics or pesticides in the food. The feed can be grass, corn or soy .
Grass-fed meat means that the animal was pasture-raised and was not fed corn or soy. Grass-fed meat is often organic, but organic does not necessarily mean grass-fed.
Because cattle that are fed grain are inherently less healthy, organic does not necessarily mean better. Studies show that grain-fed cattle have unhealthy omega 6 to omega 3 fats. They have higher saturated fat and tend to be pro-inflammatory.
Grass-fed cattle have a much healthier omega 6 to omega 3 fat ratio.
They also tend to contain more vitamins, are less likely to have E. coli, less saturated fat, and fewer calories than commercial grain-fed meat.
So, if you are looking to purchase the healthiest steak, look for organic grass-fed beef with a USDA rating of at least Choice.
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Next Look At The Color Of The Meat
Grass-fed meat usually has a deeper red color with the marbling having a yellowish hue.
Grain-fed meat will be less red with a milky white or creamy colored marbling.
Be sure to make sure there are no brown spots on the surface of the steak, either.
Color is also a marker for the freshness of the meat as well at its age. Fresh meat will be a lighter shade of red after it is cut. Meat that has been in cold storage for a long time will be a darker shade of red.
Younger meat will be brighter colored than older meat. Darker meat comes from an older animal, meaning it will likely be a tougher cut.
How Does It Taste
Skirt steak has an unbelievably intense, rich, beefy flavor, but its also a tougher cut of beef.
If youre looking for a steak that easily highlights the natural flavors, skirt steak may be the best choice for you.
When cooked correctly, you will find a perfectly tender, flavorful cut of beef that doesnt take too long to cook.
The best temperature to enjoy skirt steak is a medium-rare to medium temp to ensure it isnt overcooked.
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The Cost Of Skirt Steak
With any beef product, the price will vary depending on where you shop. Skirt steak is no different and is available at most grocery stores, butcher shops, and even Target.
The average cost of skirt steak is $8 per pound, but you can find it for as low as $9.99 up to $65.42 per package.
The cost variation will depend on the volume youre getting, along with the overall quality.
Stores like Target arent known for selling the highest quality meats, which is why they have a much lower price.
Smaller, gourmet butcher shops can sell beef at a higher price because its a better quality.
The price of beef will continue to rise and fall depending on the agricultural production, especially during a pandemic.
Even smaller cuts like skirt steak will be affected by these fluctuations.
Why Is Skirt Steak So Expensive Is It Worth It
Price of Meat Contributor | August 8, 2022Ad Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate & via other partners, this site earns from qualifying purchases.
It seems that everyones favorite cut of meat is steak, at least in the United States. It is the prime choice of those with an expendable budget who can afford this type of thing.
Unfortunately, it is not accessible to everyone given its high price tag, but that helps to keep the enjoyment of this particular meal very high .
If you know that you only get to enjoy something on occasion, then you are more likely to truly appreciate it when it comes along. However, we want to take a deeper look at what is so special about skirt steak and why it is so expensive.
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How To Choose The Best Cut Of Steak
There is no other piece of meat like steak. It doesnt matter whether you are celebrating something, planning a lunch with family, or preparing for a Sunday BBQ a steak is something we all look forward to.
The biggest question is, What steak to eat? Choosing the best cut of steak is not easy. With so many choices lined up in the meat section at the grocery store, it can be tough to select the beef cut to take home.
To make things easy, weve decided to put together a helpful guide to teach steak fans how to choose a quality cut of steak. We will also share a few characteristics that separate a good from an average one.
- You want long lines of marble rather than chunks. The more marbling the steak contains, the juicier it will taste.
- Thickness: Thin steaks are challenging to cook and arent that impressive in taste. You want a steak that is at least one inch thick.
- Price: Higher-priced steaks promise more marbling and premium flavor. Cheaper steaks are usually thin and contain less marbling.
What Makes Skirt Steak Special
Skirt steak is a lengthy strip of steak made from the diaphragm of the cow just below the rib. The texture is something that people tend to love, especially for a grilled steak.
They appreciate that it has a lot of fat on it, and that provides the type of beefy flavor that many people are looking for when they bite into a steak. It also make cooking steak easier even though it still needs some tenderizing.
You can get two different cuts of a skirt steak, so you will want to make sure you know which one you are getting when you make your purchase.
If you are uncertain, you are always welcome to ask the butcher who cuts it for you. The cuts are:
- Outside skirt steak You are more likely to get this cut because it is more tender, and thus more desirable. Expect it to be between three to four inches wide and about one inch thick. If you are able to find skirt steak in your local grocery store at all, this is likely the type of cut you will see.
- Inside skirt steak This cut is a lot wider than the outside skirt, but it is not as thick. You might get more volume with this cut, but you sacrifice on substance with it. It is still premium compared to many other steaks and many other foods in general, but it doesnt quite pack the punch that the outside skirt cut does. Therefore, you need to be mindful of which cut you get before finalizing your purchase.
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What Is Skirt Steak
Skirt steak is taken from the diaphragm muscle of the cow. Not too far from the abdominal of the cow, where the flank is sourced from. Beef skirt steak is also long, tough, and lean, so its easy to see why it sometimes gets confused with flank steak.
Dont be caught off guard if youre asked if you prefer inside skirt or outside skirt. The truth is that there isnt much difference between either of them.
Outside cuts come from the outside of the chest wall, running between the 6th and 12th rib of the cow. It sometimes comes with a thick membrane on it, which is actually the diaphragm.
Inside skirt comes from the lower end of the ribs , and is actually cut from inside the animal .
Outside skirt is a little bit thicker than inside, and tends to have a more consistent shape. Inside on the other hand is thinner and will often start to shrink as you cook it and the muscle fibers tighten.
Because outside skirt is thicker and more uniform in shape, this is often what is served by restaurants and butchers as a default.
Skirt steak is actually made up of more tough muscle fibers than flank. Not only does this impact on its texture, but it also means it carries a much more intense flavor.
This tough composition also means that it can only be cooked as rare or medium-rare. Anything well done and itll be practically inedible.
Skirt Steak Recipes
What Makes One Type Of Steak Better Than Another
We all have our own idea of what makes a steak good.
The same applies when we talk about better steaks. For this article, were going to assume that the better steak is super flavorful yet tender. Were also going to assume that cost is not a factor.
Filet Mignon comes from the tenderloin portion of the cow.
It contains very little fat and comes from a non-weight-bearing muscle. This, along with it not containing much connective tissue makes it the most tender cut of meat. However, the lack of fat does not make it the most flavorful.
This is why it is usually served with some sort of sauce or wrapped in bacon.
Strip steaks, like the NY Strip, is a good balance of flavor and tenderness. Its got some fat in it, making it more flavorful than the filet mignon. Its also a well-worked muscle, making it less tender.
The Ribeye is the most flavorful cust of meat. Look for high marbling. This is the white swirling youll see in the steak. The more marbling, the more flavorful the steak. If cooked with care, it can also be very tender.
So, what makes one steak better than another steak? A good amount of fat and cut from an area that doesnt do much work .
Big steak tonight for dinner what sides can go with it. H-E-B best grocery store unless you hit the whole food markets I rock with that too
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Oven Cooked Flank Steak
If youre wondering whats the best way to cook flank steak in the oven, youll be happy to know that theres one tried and true method that literally takes only a few minutes of your time to churn out great-tasting meat. Before you place the steaks in the oven, coat them with a mixture of olive oil and your desired spices to keep them from drying out in the oven. Then, its as simple as placing the steaks on a pan, cooking them on high heat on one side for about five minutes, and then on the other side for three to four minutes or until medium rare. Allow resting for about 10 minutes before serving.
PRO TIP: If you forgot to thaw your steak in advance, check out our guide for ways to properly cook frozen steak.
Is It Worth The Price
Although skirt steak was once considered to be a scrap cut of beef, it has taken on a new life as people have realized how delicious it is. Once you understand how to cook it to perfection, it is completely worth adding to your meal planning.
There are many factors that make skirt steak a great option for whatever dish youre cooking.
If you find in your budget that you can splurge on a skirt steak every once in a while, its totally worth it.
We hope that after reading this article you see for yourself why skirt steak is a little more expensive than other cuts of beef and that there are many ways to enjoy it!
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What Is The Best Cut Of Steak
While everything revolves around personal preferences and how you prepare the meat, if forced to pick the best cut of steak, we would probably go with the ribeye cut.
It is the most preferred cut of steak of many people worldwide, and for obvious reasons. It comes from the cows rib, meaning it contains a high amount of marbling, making the cut very tender and juicy. It doesnt get better than ribeye when eating a steak.
Besides the ribeye steak, people often consider picanha, skirt, and Denver steaks as the best on the market. Read the rest of the article to learn more about these steak cuts.
Shouldn’t: Chuck Center Steak
Chuck center steaks are cut from the upper shoulder of the cow. There are several cheap cuts to be found in the chuck that will surprise you with their flavor and tender texture unfortunately, this is not one of them. The chuck center steak delivers the taste but is too tough unless you’ve got the patience to marinade or broil it.
As well as the unpleasant texture, chuck center steaks are run through with chunks of fat and gristle. They’re hard to remove and appear regularly throughout the steak, ruining any enjoyment of the rest of the meat. Do you really want to have to work at the dinner table to enjoy a good steak?
If you ever make the mistake of buying a chuck center steak, your only option is to try a wet cooking method like braising. Pan-frying or grilling should be avoided and are likely to render your steak inedible no matter how skilled you are in the kitchen.
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Difference In Meat Structure
One big difference between the two is their grain structure, and how this can affect how you prepare the meat.
Flank steak has very clearly defined fibers. This gives us an easy job when it comes to trying to slice against the grain.
However, the fibers are quite close together, which means it can be difficult for added flavors like marinade to penetrate the meat fully.
Skirt steak also boasts a well defined fiber and grain structure, but the key difference is that the fibers arent quite as tightly knit. This means that the meat responds much better to marinades.
How Do You Pick A Steak At The Grocery Store
While steak from the local meat market may be the better option for purchasing steak, sometimes is just not possible.
Meat markets are becoming a rarity. If you do happen to have one nearby, its going to mean an extra trip and extra time shopping.
Sometimes its just more convenient to do all of your shopping, including meat, at the supermarket.
So, how do you pick a quality steak at the grocery store?
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