Outside skirt steak is a succulent steak from the plate primal section right under a steer’s rib. Outside skirt steaks range from 10 to 11 ounces and are well-marbled with high-fat content.
This cut has a hearty and flavorful beef taste. Outside skirt steaks are typically used in fajitas and tacos, yet they also work well in stews, stir-fries, and over a hot grill.
Outside Skirt Steak vs Inside Skirt Steak
Outside skirt steaks are famous in restaurants, fast-food establishments, and fine dining. The inside skirt steak is more common in supermarkets. Outside skirt steaks and inside skirt steaks come from the same section of the cow.
Both outside and inside skirt steaks are scarce because one of each comes from either side of the cow. The inside skirt steak is from underneath the cow’s ribs against the wall of its body. The outside skirt steak comes from a cow’s diaphragm muscle between the sixth and twelfth ribs.
Some nutritional differences exist between a 3-ounce serving of outside and inside skirt steak.
|Outside Skirt Steak||240||6 grams||23 grams||4.4 milligrams||6 milligrams|
|Inside Skirt Steak||200||3.6 grams||25 grams||2.1 milligrams||6.9 milligrams|
Outside skirt steaks and inside skirt steaks also differ in texture, flavor, size, and appearance.
Outside skirt steaks are thicker and more uniform than inside skirt steaks. Outside skirt steaks are ½ to 1-inch thick and 3–4 inches wide. Inside skirt steaks are half as thick but wider than outside skirt steaks. Inside skirt steaks are 5–7 inches wide.
Outside skirt steaks have a beautifully marbled grain of fat for extra tenderness. Inside skirt steaks have more muscle fibers and a chewy texture. Outside skirt steaks and inside skirt steaks typically have membranes. Some stores sell inside skirt steaks without the membrane.
Outside skirt steaks have a more decadent and succulent beef flavor.
Outside skirt steaks are pricier than inside skirt steak because they are in higher demand.
Outside skirt steaks aren’t as widely available as inside skirt steaks. Supermarkets keep inside skirt steaks and label them as “skirt steaks.” Some butchers provide outside skirt steaks. It’s recommended to ask the butcher which skirt steak you’re buying.
How to Prepare & Cook Outside Skirt Steak (Step-by-Step)
Outside skirt steaks are delicious when stir-fried, grilled, broiled, or seared in a skillet. The step-by-step instructions work wonders for pan-seared outside skirt steaks.
Step 1: Remove the Membrane
Use a boning knife to remove the fatty membrane covering the outside skirt steak. The steak will have a gorgeously marbled grain.
Step 2: Dry the Steak
Outside skirt steaks are decadent and maintain moisture that prevents them from crusting nicely in a hot pan. Use a paper towel to pat both sides of the steak until the meat is dry, so that it sears properly when it touches the hot pan, thus sealing the juices in.
Step 3: Rub With Spices
Generously season both sides of the outside skirt steak with salt and pepper. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to rub the spices into the meat. Don’t use sunflower oil because of the high-fat content. Recommended oils to massage the spices include coconut, palm, walnut, or sesame.
Step 4: Apply Marinade (Optional)
Use your preferred marinade on an outside skirt steak for extra tenderness. Outside steak is a tasty cut of beef for marinating, especially for dishes such as fajitas, tacos, or stir-fries. Marinades also work well when searing the steak over a hot grill. Outside skirt steaks should marinate for 30 minutes.
Step 5: Preheat the Skillet
The meat is best prepared over high, quick heat in a cast-iron skillet. Preheat the skillet for two minutes at a high temperature.
Step 6: Sear the Steak
Outside skirt steak is the best beef cut for medium-rare steak. Drop the steak in the heated pan and sear it for two to five minutes on each side. Don’t keep turning the steak as constant movement prevents the sides from browning and prevents the steady heat from sealing in the juices.
Step 7: Resting
Medium-rare steak must rest for two minutes before it is sliced open. Allow the outside skirt steak to rest on a plate. The juices will surround the steak, yet most of the succulent juices will remain inside if allowed to rest.
Step 8: Slicing Outside Skirt Steak
The best way to slice an outside skirt steak is in ¼-inch diagonal pieces across the grain. Use a carving knife at a 45-degree angle to achieve the diagonal cut. Cutting the outside skirt steak diagonally allows for more surface area between muscle fibers and fat pockets, resulting in more succulent bites.
Step 9: Serve
Sliced outside skirt steak tops salads and mashed potatoes well. The steak also tastes heavenly inside of tacos, enchiladas, and burritos. Outside skirt steaks work perfectly as a main dish with a side salad or vegetable such as:
- Sautéed onions and peppers
- Baby potatoes with cream
- Steamed arugula
- Romaine greens
- Charred wedges
- Grilled Brussels sprouts
- Roasted mushrooms
- Roasted broccoli
- Sweetcorn salad with buttermilk dressing
- Creamed spinach
- Mashed potatoes
- Roasted vegetables (any kind)
- Pumpkin squash
- Cauliflower couscous
Outside Skirt Steak Tips
Improve inside and outside skirt steak’s tenderness or flavor notes with these tips:
Use High Heat
Never overcook outside skirt steak or it will be tough and lose its nutritional value. Fast and hot sears are the best for outside skirt steaks. Slow cooking over low heat makes outside skirt steak lose the juices that keep it tender.
Cut the outside skirt steak into 1-inch cubes for slow-cooking in stews. Use red wine to enhance the beef’s hearty stewed flavors. Add 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda to encourage the steak’s tenderness on a slow-cooking recipe.
BBQ Using Tin Foil
Wrap outside skirt steak in tin foil with the shiny side out to enhance the tenderness of the beef when cooked on an outside BBQ grill.
Pair With Sauces
Some sauces add an extra hint of flavor to unmarinated outside skirt steak. The best side sauces include chimichurri, gremolata, poblano, Italian salsa verde, and shallot dressing.
Vary Your Spice Rubs
Apply additional dry spices for added flavor. Excellent spices for outside skirt steak include garlic powder, cumin, oregano, thyme, mustard powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, coriander, or sweet paprika.
Marinade The Steak
Marinades help tenderize outside skirt steaks further. Marinades also make delicious inside skirt steaks. Marinade a tough outside or inside steak for 60 minutes for a softer texture and heartier beef flavor.
The following marinade recipes will make you lick your fingers when used for outside skirt steaks:
A Tasty Marinade for Asian Flavors:
Mix the ingredients and marinade the steak.
- 2 tablespoons citrus juice
- 2 cloves of freshly chopped garlic
- 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
- A pinch of salt and pepper
A Yummy Taco Marinade for Spanish Flavors:
Blend the ingredients together, and rub the marinade generously into the steak.
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 3 freshly minced garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
A Delicious Southern Marinade:
Combine the ingredients and massage the marinade into both sides of the steak.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 freshly minced garlic clove
- A pinch of salt and pepper