Flank steak is a popular cut of meat that is often used in various dishes, including fajitas, stir-fries, and other grilled or pan-seared preparations. However, there can be some confusion about what flank steak actually is and whether it’s the same as outside skirt steak. Let’s explore this topic in-depth to clear up any confusion.
What is Flank Steak?
Flank steak comes from the abdominal muscles of the cow and is a long, flat cut that’s prized for its rich flavor and versatility. It’s a lean meat that can be tough if not cooked properly, so it’s essential to marinate it or tenderize it before cooking. Flank steak has visible grain lines and should be sliced against the grain for optimal tenderness.
What is Outside Skirt Steak?
Outside skirt steak also comes from the abdominal area of the cow but is located closer to the diaphragm. It’s a long and thin cut with a distinct grain pattern and has more fat content than flank steak. Outside skirt steak is known for its bold beefy flavor but can be tough if not cooked properly.
Is Flank Steak the Same as Outside Skirt Steak?
No, flank steak and outside skirt steak are not the same cuts of meat. Although they come from similar areas on the cow, they have different textures, flavors, and cooking methods. Flank steak tends to be leaner than outside skirt steak and requires marination or tenderizing before cooking to ensure tenderness.
How to Cook Flank Steak
- Marinate: Marinate flank steak in your favorite marinade for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours before cooking.
- Tenderize: Use a meat tenderizer tool or score the surface of the flank steak with shallow cuts to break up the connective tissue.
- Grill: Preheat your grill to high heat and cook the flank steak for 3-4 minutes per side for medium-rare doneness.
- Rest: Let the flank steak rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing it against the grain into thin strips.
How to Cook Outside Skirt Steak
- Season: Season outside skirt steak with salt and pepper or your favorite spices before cooking.
- Sear: Preheat a cast-iron skillet or grill pan over high heat and sear the outside skirt steak for 3-4 minutes per side until browned and caramelized.
- Cook: Lower the heat to medium and continue cooking the outside skirt steak for another 3-4 minutes per side until it reaches an internal temperature of 130°F for medium-rare doneness.
- Rest: Let the outside skirt steak rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing it against the grain into thin strips.
The Bottom Line
Flank steak and outside skirt steak are both delicious cuts of meat that can be used in various dishes. However, they are not interchangeable, and each cut requires different cooking methods and techniques. Understanding their differences can help you choose the right cut of meat for your recipe and ensure a delicious meal every time.