Flank Steak and Skirt Steak are two cuts of meat that are often confused with each other. While they both come from the same region of the cow, they are actually different cuts with distinct characteristics.
What is Flank Steak?
Flank steak comes from the lower chest or abdominal muscles of a cow. It is a long and flat cut that is lean and flavorful.
Flank steak has a strong beefy taste and is best when marinated before cooking. It also tends to be tougher than other cuts of meat due to its high muscle content.
What is Skirt Steak?
Skirt steak, on the other hand, comes from the plate, which is the area below the rib and between the belly and flank. It is a thin cut with long muscle fibers that make it a bit tough if overcooked. Skirt steak has a rich flavor, making it perfect for grilling or sautéing.
The Difference Between Flank Steak and Skirt Steak
While both Flank steak and skirt steak come from the same region of the cow, they differ in several aspects:
- Texture: Flank steak has a more muscular texture compared to skirt steak.
- Cooking Time: Due to its thickness, flank steak takes longer to cook than skirt steak.
- Flavor: The flavor profile of these two cuts differs significantly. Flank steak has a beefier taste while skirt steak has a more pronounced flavor due to its fat content.
How to Cook Flank Steak
Flank steaks are best marinated before cooking since they tend to be tougher than other cuts of meat. Here’s how you can cook flank steak:
- Start by seasoning the steak with salt and pepper.
- Prepare a marinade of your choice, which can include acidic ingredients like lemon or vinegar, oil, and spices.
- Place the steak in a resealable plastic bag and add the marinade. Seal the bag and massage it to coat the steak evenly.
- Marinate for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.
- Preheat your grill to medium-high heat and oil the grates.
- Remove the steak from the marinade and pat it dry. Discard any remaining marinade.
- Grill the steak for 3-4 minutes per side or until it reaches an internal temperature of 135°F (medium-rare) to 145°F (medium).
- Let the steak rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing against the grain into thin strips.
How to Cook Skirt Steak
Skirt steaks are best cooked quickly over high heat to prevent them from becoming too tough. Here’s how you can cook skirt steak:
- Season your skirt steak with salt and pepper or your favorite seasoning blend.
- Preheat a skillet or grill pan over high heat until hot.
- Add a tablespoon of oil to the pan, followed by the skirt steak.
- Cook for about 2-3 minutes per side or until it reaches an internal temperature of 135°F (medium-rare) to 145°F (medium).
- Remove from heat and let rest for a few minutes before slicing against the grain into thin strips.
In conclusion, Flank steak and skirt steak are two different cuts of meat that have unique flavors and textures. While they can be used interchangeably in some recipes, it’s important to note the differences between the two to get the best results. With these cooking tips, you’ll be able to prepare delicious meals with either cut of meat.