Beef skirt is a midgrade cut of beef that comes in a long flat strip from a cow’s diaphragm muscle. When cooked properly, beef skirt carries flavor very well and is often used to make fajitas. For that reason, many butchers take this piece home with them, making it difficult to find. To cook beef skirt, you must know the nature of the meat in order to prepare it in ways that yield the best results.
Trim your skirt steak. Some cuts of skirt steak can come with thin layers of silver or whitish fat on the outside. This can be trimmed away and removed with a knife before you cook it. Cooking with this fat on leaves a rubbery piece of fat that can not be chewed easily.
Marinade the beef skirt using a tenderizer. Natural tenderizers such as ginger, papaya and pineapple work well with beef skirt. Add acidic juices from lemon, lime or vinegar with your favorite seasonings so the marinade equals 1/2 cup of liquid per pound of beef skirt. Using one part acidic juice, one part vegetable oil, with a tablespoon of your favorite non-sodium-based seasoning works well. Add a dash of salt if you like, but don’t add too much.
Seal the marinating beef skirt in a plastic bag. You can also use a bowl that contains your marinade as long as you can cover it with foil, plastic wrap or a lid. Place the beef skirt in the refrigerator for six to 24 hours, ensuring that the marinade touches all sides of the beef skirt. Rotating the beef regularly or completely submerging it in a thin layer of marinade works best.
Broil the beef skirt by positioning your broiler pan about 4 to 5 inches away from the heating element. Ensure that you turn the meat over and allow the other side to cook until done. Four minutes on each side when broiling will yield a rare-cooked cut. Grilling your beef skirt over direct heat for four minutes on each side will produce a similar effect as broiling, but dries the meat more.
Braise your beef skirt by placing it in a slightly oiled pan over medium-high heat. Allow your beef skirt to brown on each side, turning it over once. Turn down the heat to simmer and add enough liquid such as beer, wine, juice or broth to allow your cut to cook for 1-1/2 hours or until it is tender and done.
Pan-fry beef skirt by slicing it against the grain of the meat. Place cooking oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add your sliced beef skirt, and sauté it for at least two minutes on each side or until done.
Braising and pan-frying beef skirt do not require marinating for the best result. You can add seasoning as you wish throughout the cooking process.
145 degrees Fahrenheit is the internal temperature recommendation by the USDA for cooking beef.