What Are the Best Tips for Grilling Skirt Steak?

Lori Kilchermann

There are several tips for grilling skirt steak that will not only add flavor to the meat, but can make grilling and cleanup much easier as well. When grilling skirt steak, the thin cuts of meat will cook quite fast. Placing the meat in a marinade will help to prevent burning and give added juiciness to the steak. Another tip to follow when grilling skirt steak is to use high heat. The thin steak strips will crust and cook thoroughly in a matter of minutes, in most cases. As with most any grilling, cleaning and lubricating the grill will nearly always produce a better-tasting meat as well as an easier-to-clean grill.

Skirt steak is thin, and will cook quickly on a grill.
Skirt steak is thin, and will cook quickly on a grill.

With the advent of gas grills, grilling skirt steak can occur almost any time of year in nearly any location. Skirt steak comes from inside the body cavity of an animal, unlike typical steak cuts that originate from a leg or back area. The skirt steak comes from the diaphragm that separates the animal's lungs and heart cavity from its stomach and bowels. When cut into thin strips, the fatty meat is very tender and flavorful. Using high heat to cook the thin steak gives optimal results most of the time when grilling skirt steak.

Once the grill has come up to temperature, cooks should lubricate or oil it prior to cooking the meat. This is commonly accomplished by first scrubbing the grill with a wire brush and then wiping the hot grill with a piece of meat fat or with a cloth dipped into cooking oil. The oiled grill is able to sear the grill marks into the meat that many people enjoy seeing on a grilled steak. The grill is also easier to clean and the meat usually does not stick to the grill. After the meat is placed on the grill and the initial sizzle has calmed, turning the steak one-quarter turn will finish making the marks.

For the juiciest meat, cooks should turn the meat over as soon as small blood bubbles begin to form on the top side of the steak. Cooks should only turn the meat once when grilling skirt steak. The sides of the steak will become one color and the juices will become transparent when the meat is ready. After grilling skirt steak, it is best to allow the meat to rest five to 10 minutes to let the juices redistribute throughout the steak. By slicing the rested steak on a diagonal, cooks will create a nice presentation for the meat.

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