The ultimate combination of herbs and sauces, this incredible Skirt Steak Marinade flavors, moistens, and tenderizes for guaranteed delicious steak every time! Grilled or cooked in a cast iron skillet on the stove, the result is juicy, melt-in-your-mouth marinated skirt steak perfect for busy weeknight dinners or summer cookouts.
The Best Skirt Steak Recipe
A good marinade can make all the difference between a show-stopping steakhouse dinner or a chewy, sad, and flavorless fifteen-dollar-a-pound wasted piece of beef.
Dramatic? Ok, maybe a little. But I’ve been on both sides of that dinner table, and I know which side I’d like to stay on. I imagine you prefer a showstopping steak over a sad one, so today, I’m sharing my favorite skirt steak marinade recipe, plus tips and tricks on cooking the best skirt steak ever.
Skirt steak is one of those cuts of beef that really benefits from about 2-4 hours of marinating as it isn’t naturally super tender. Marinating helps both tenderize and add flavor, so I highly recommend giving it a try! Perfect for grilling and BBQs or cooking in a hot pan for easy weeknight dinners with the family.
Skirt Steak Marinade Ingredients
- Oil – In this case, I recommend using vegetable oil like canola oil rather than olive oil. It has a higher smoke point than olive oil and a neutral flavor.
- Apple cider vinegar – Vinegar works to tenderize the meat as it marinates. Apple cider vinegar isn’t as harsh as white vinegar and is perfect for marinades.
- Onion – The chopped onion will add flavor to the marinade.
- Fresh Parsley – I always try to add at least one fresh herb to my marinades. Fresh parsley or cilantro are two of my favorite.
- Honey – It adds just a hint of sweetness to balance the savoriness of the herbs. Swap with agave syrup if desired.
- Worcestershire sauce – or soy sauce. Must have addition(s) to any marinade.
- Salt – Any salt will work.
- Dried marjoram – Dried oregano will also work if you don’t have any marjoram on hand.
What is Skirt Steak?
Skirt steak is a long, flat, and thin cut of beef known for its rich, beefy flavor. It’s often confused with flank steak, an entirely different cut of meat that looks similar in shape and appearance.
There are two types of skirt steak: the inside skirt steak, which comes from the transversus abdominis muscle, and the outside skirt steak, which comes from the diaphragm muscle or the costal part.
Skirt steak cooks quickly and is best prepared using high-heat cooking methods such as grilling, broiling, or pan-searing. It’s a popular choice for dishes like carne asada, stir-fries, and tacos, but it can also be served independently with various side dishes.
How Long Should You Marinate Skirt Steak?
Marinating skirt steak adds flavor and helps to tenderize the meat.
The ideal marinating time for skirt steak is between 2 to 4 hours. As little as 30 minutes can still impart some flavor, but it won’t be as effective in tenderizing the meat. Avoid marinating for longer than 24 hours, as the acidity in the marinade can break down the meat fibers too much, resulting in a mushy texture.
Always refrigerate the steak while it’s marinating and ensure that it’s covered or sealed in a plastic bag to prevent cross-contamination.
Tips for Cooking the Perfect Steak
- Marinate the meat: As mentioned earlier, marinate the skirt steak for 2 to 4 hours to enhance its flavor and tenderize the meat.
- Bring the steak to room temperature: Remove the skirt steak from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before cooking to let it come to room temperature. This ensures even cooking and helps prevent the steak from being tough.
- Preheat your cooking surface to high heat: Whether you’re using a grill, cast iron skillet, or broiler, make sure it’s hot before adding the steak. For grilling, aim for high heat, around 450°F (232°C). For a cast iron skillet, preheat it over medium-high heat. If using a broiler, place the oven rack about 4 inches from the heating element and preheat the broiler.
- Pat dry and season: Remove the skirt steak from the marinade, pat it dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture, and season with salt and pepper if desired. Excess marinade can cause flare-ups on the grill or inhibit proper searing in a skillet.
- Cook quickly: Skirt steak cooks quickly due to its thinness. For medium-rare, cook the steak for about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Adjust the cooking time according to your preferred level of doneness. Keep in mind that overcooking can lead to a tough, chewy texture.
- Allow the steak to rest: After cooking, let the skirt steak rest for about 5 to 10 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a more tender steak.
- Slice against the grain: Identify the direction of the muscle fibers, and slice the steak against the grain into thin, diagonal slices. Cutting against the grain shortens the muscle fibers, making it more tender and easier to chew.
Internal Temperature of Skirt Steak
One of the biggest tips for cooking the perfect steak is to use a digital meat thermometer to monitor the internal temperature of your meat as it cooks – especially quick-cooking meat like skirt steak that can quickly go from medium-rare to well-done in less than a minute.
For tender, juicy meat, it is recommended to cook skirt steak to medium rare, or 125 degrees Fahrenheit.
- 115°F to 120°F for rare
- 125°F to 135°F for medium rare (recommended)
- 140°F for medium
Note: The FDA recommends cooking beef to an internal temperature of 145 degrees F.
Storage and Freezing
Skirt steak will always taste best served immediately. However, leftovers are delicious, especially when wrapped in tacos or tossed in a salad.
Keep leftovers stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days. Easily reheat in the microwave or in a hot skillet until reheated. To freeze skirt steak, allow it to cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Recipes to Serve with Skirt Steak
This incredible marinated skirt steak pairs well with countless side dishes. Here are a few of my favorites,
- Perfect Baked Potatoes
- Easy Creamy Potato Salad
- Easy Grilled Veggie Skewers
- Easy Fruit Salad Recipe
- Roasted Zucchini with Parmesan
- Roasted Asparagus
If you try making this Skirt Steak Marinade Recipe, please leave me a comment and let me know! I always love to hear your thoughts.
Skirt Steak Marinade
- In a small bowl, mix the vegetable oil, apple cider vinegar, onion, parsley, honey, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and marjoram.
- Place the skirt steak in a large resealable plastic bag and pour the marinade over the steak. Seal the bag and massage the steak to ensure that it is evenly coated with the marinade.
- Transfer the marinating steak to the refrigerator. Allow the steak to marinate for at least 2-4 hours, but no longer than 12 hours (overnight).
- Remove the steak from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking to allow it to come to room temperature. Remove the skirt steak from the marinade and gently pat it dry with paper towels to remove any excess marinade. Discard any excess marinade. Season with additional salt and pepper.
- Grilling Instructions: Preheat the grill to high heat (about 450°F-500°F). Grill, with the lid closed, for approximately 3-4 minutes on each side or until the internal temperature registers 120-125℉ (medium-rare) as measured by a digital read meat thermometer.
- Stovetop Instructions: Set a large cast iron skillet over high heat. Add 1-2 tablespoons of oil and let it get hot before adding the skirt steak to the pan. Use the back of a spatula to gently, yet firmly, press down on the steak to ensure that it is in contact with the skillet (this helps get a nice sear). Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side or until the internal temperature registers 120-125℉ (medium-rare) as measured by a digital read meat thermometer.
- Remove the steak to a cutting board and allow it to rest for 5 minutes before garnishing with freshly chopped parsley if desired.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)