Take your skirt steak to the next level with this mouthwatering marinade recipe! It has a blend of zesty citrus, savory soy sauce, and bold spices that infuse your meat with intense flavor and tenderness. Perfect for grilling or broiling. Time to elevate your summer cookout game.
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This is the best skirt steak marinade and one of the easiest ways to boost the taste of beef in just 30 minutes! The thinly sliced cut quickly infuses the flavor of the sauce. Grill or pan-sear to create a stunning golden brown crust in less than 10 minutes. It’s incredibly delicious to use when making steak fajitas. If you are a tender, juicy steak fan, try this recipe!
I used my go-to steak marinade recipe as the base and adjusted the flavor to include citrus, cumin, and hot peppers. It’s a great combination, especially as a skirt steak marinade for tacos. Reserve a portion to serve on the side as a sauce to make each slice even tastier.
- Steak: Skirt steak is a cut of beef from the diaphragm or short plate of the steer below the rib. This yields a long, thinly sliced strip of meat. It’s unique because the muscle fibers form long strands with a grain that is easy to spot. It’s lean and a bit chewy. Perfect for slicing or chopping up for taco recipes.
- Fat: Olive oil keeps the meat from drying out when cooking. It also brings out the fat-soluble flavor compounds from the oregano, black pepper, and red pepper flakes for a more pungent taste.
- Flavor enhancers: Soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce contain umami flavor compounds that enhance the natural beefy taste. Salt tenderizes and brines the meat.
- Alliums: Minced garlic and dried onion powder provide spice and earthiness.
- Sweetener: A small amount of sweetener like honey balances the salty ingredients and encourages quicker browning on the surface during cooking.
- Acid: Red wine vinegar boosts the taste of the sauce. Worcestershire sauce contains distilled white vinegar, adding tanginess and tenderization without causing the proteins to turn mushy and dry.
Prepare the skirt steak
When purchasing, the steak can come in pieces as long as 12 inches or bigger. If you plan to grill it, you can keep the long strip whole because it can fit on a large barbecue.
However, when cooking on the stovetop, you may want to cut it into smaller pieces, about 5 to 7 inches in length. This makes it easier to maneuver in the pan and slice.
How to marinate skirt steak
This recipe makes a highly flavorful and potent marinade for fast flavor transfer onto the meat. I use a combination of soy sauce, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, lime juice, zest, honey, garlic, onion powder, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes for a subtle lingering heat.
Reserve ¼ cup of the mixture and combine it with the red wine vinegar. This makes for a delicious sauce to serve with the steak. Add to a large plastic bag or baking dish, then pour 1 cup of the sauce on top. The steak is thin, so lay it flat and try to submerge it as much as possible in the marinade.
How long to marinate skirt steak
The thin cut of beef only needs 30 minutes to marinate and tenderize the meat. Make sure it’s coated in the sauce, then turn it over halfway through, after 15 minutes. This ensures that it gets even flavor application on the surface. However, if you have an hour, it will be even more flavorful.
Don’t let the meat sit too long. The salt and acids will start to force out the moisture in the beef, causing it to taste too dry and chewy. If you want to make it 24 hours in advance, marinate for up to an hour, then drain off the marinade.
Now that you know how to make a fantastic marinade for skirt steak, it’s easy to switch up the flavor profile. Try these tasty ideas:
- Spicy: Add freshly chopped jalapenos or serrano peppers. Increase the red chili flakes, and add chile powder, cayenne, or chipotle. Canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce add an excellent charred taste.
- Balsamic: Swap out the Worcestershire sauce for a sweet, tangy, fermented grape taste.
- Citrus: Add lemon juice, lime juice, and orange juice for a stronger citrus taste.
- Asian: Add minced ginger, sesame oil, miso paste, vegetable oil, and sriracha for an Asian-style marinade.
- Herb: Chop fresh oregano, thyme, parsley, cilantro, green onions, chives, rosemary, or basil.
- Grilled skirt steak to make carne asada.
- Serve with corn tortillas or flour tortillas to enjoy steak street tacos.
- Grilled zucchini, sweet potato, or corn.
- Potato salad or macaroni salad.
- Top with chimichurri sauce for an Argentinian flavor.
Frequently asked questions
The beef is thinly sliced, so cooking it quickly over high heat is best. Grilling, broiling, or pan-searing are the best techniques. They create a golden brown and flavor crust, keeping the center medium rare to medium and juicy. Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness.
It’s a thin, inexpensive cut versatile in different steak recipes. Dice it up for tacos, fajitas, sandwiches, Philly cheesesteaks, stir-frys, or pizzas.
Yes, the salt and acids in the marinade loosen the meat’s muscle fibers. This makes the protein more tender, making it easier to chew.
Different types of skirt steak
This cut is sold as the outside or inside skirt. Each has a big difference in texture! The outside skirt is less coarse, making it more tender. It will be about 4 inches wide and ½ to 1 inch thick. The inside skirt is wider, about 7 inches, and about half as thick. It will be much more chewy. If you end up with the inside portion, tenderize it with a mallet to 1/4-inch thick. Marinating them further tenderizes the meat.
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Skirt Steak Marinade
- 1 ½ pounds skirt steak
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons lime juice, plus 1 teaspoon zest
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano, optional
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- Prepare the Steak – If the skirt steak comes in a long strip, cut it into 2 or 3 smaller pieces, 5 to 7 inches in length. This will allow them to fit better in the pan and make them easier to slice later. If grilling, you can keep it in one piece.
- Make the Marinade – In a medium bowl, whisk together soy sauce, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, lime juice, lime zest, honey, garlic, onion powder, cumin, oregano (if using), salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (if using). In a small bowl, mix ¼ cup of the marinade and red wine vinegar. Cover and set aside to serve as a sauce.
- Marinate the Steak – Place the meat in a baking dish or large resealable plastic bag. Pour the marinade over, submerge, and cover. Refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes. Flip halfway through for even marinating. Press out the excess air if using a ziplock bag.
- Ready to Cook – Remove the steak from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture from the surface. Discard marinade. Cook using the desired method (see notes below).
- Rest the Meat – Transfer to a cutting board and tent with foil for 10 minutes before slicing. If the steak was kept long, cut it into smaller 5 to 7-inch pieces. Slice against the grain.
- To Serve – Pour reserved marinade over the steak or serve on the side.
- Recipe Yield: 1 cup of marinade. Note that 1 cup is needed per 2 pounds of steak. Increase recipe size as needed.
- Make Ahead: Marinate the steak for up to an hour. Drain off the marinade, then cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
- Grill: Preheat the grill over high heat (400 to 450ºF). Carefully grease the cooking grid with the oil. Sear covered for 2 to 4 minutes on each side.
- Pan Sear: Heat a large cast iron skillet, stainless steel, or grill pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add 1 tablespoon of oil and allow to heat. Sear for 2 to 4 minutes on each side.
- Doneness Temperature: For medium-rare, target 120 to 125ºF (49 to 52ºC). For medium, target 130 to 135ºF (50 to 57ºC). For medium-well, target 140 to 145°F (60 to 63°C).
- Make it Gluten-Free: Use gluten-free tamari or coconut aminos instead of soy sauce.
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.
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