The trouble with food writers writing about their favorite things is that one of two things usually happens: Either the product runs out or the prices get jacked up. Sometimes with enough hype, both happen.
It pains me so much that I used to be able to buy skirt steak for $1.99 per pound at the market.
For years, skirt steak was the most underrated and misunderstood cut because if you didn’t know how to cook or slice the sucker, it was tougher than a brand new horse’s saddle in the snow. The skirt steak is actually the diaphragm muscle in a cow. You know the rule about muscles: The more the muscle is used, the tougher the meat.
I mean, have you ever seen a cow hold its breath? I think not.
Back before the secret was out, I could feed 10 friends at a dinner party and spend less than six bucks on meat. I’d marinate the skirt steak overnight in a honey soy sauce and then quickly grill to a perfect medium-rare. Before bringing it to the table, the steak would be thinly sliced across the grain, resulting in ribbons of beefy, tender steak that would always be juicy no matter what.
But then some famous writer had to ruin the party and gush about skirt steak, exposing the secrets we had been closely guarding all these years. All of a sudden, my beloved skirt was not to be found at the market. Then the prices skyrocketed and, holy belching cattle, skirt steak became the “it” steak, going for $11.99 a pound.
Why do I love it so? Skirt steak is thin, so it grills very quickly, often just 3 minutes per side. It also marinates incredibly well, soaking up the seasonings in its loose-fibered surface. And if you accidently overcook the steak past medium, it’s still awesomely flavorful. The biggest secret, though, is to slice the steaks ACROSS the grain, meaning perpendicular to the lines of the fibers. On a skirt steak, it’s really easy to tell which way the fibers are running.
Great. Now that ya’ll are going to run out and buy skirt steak to make this fantastic Honey Soy Skirt Steak with Shitake Mushroom recipe, I’d better run to the market and stock up.
Honey Soy Skirt Steak with Shitake Mushroom Recipe
For the skirt steak
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar (or balsamic vinegar)
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 1/2 pounds skirt steak, cut into 6-inch pieces
Place all ingredients, including the steak, in a large, zip-top plastic bag.
Squeeze all the air out of the bag and seal. Massage the steak to get it nice and cozy with the marinade. Let marinate at least 30 minutes or overnight in refrigerator.
When ready to cook, drain the skirt steak and pat dry with paper towels. If you are cooking on your barbecue grill, preheat that sucker and on direct, high heat, grill the steaks 3 to 5 minutes each side, depending on the thickness of the steak. Some of the skirt steak may be thinner, so make sure you time accordingly.
If you are grilling the steaks in a frying pan, heat the frying pan over high heat until very hot. Pour in a couple of tablespoons of cooking oil before adding the steaks to the pan. Make sure you give each steak plenty of room. Grill 3 to 5 minutes each side.
Let the steaks sit on the cutting board for 5 minutes to rest. You can tent the steaks with foil. While the steak is resting, make the shitake mushroom recipe below.
Slice the steak ACROSS the grain (perpendicular to the lines of the grain) and serve immediately.
For the shitake mushrooms
1 tablespoon cooking oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 stalk green onion, finely chopped
32 ounces shitake mushrooms, stems trimmed
2 tablespoons rum (or vegetable/chicken broth)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Heat a wok or large frying pan over medium heat until it just starts to get hot. Add the cooking oil and the garlic. Let the garlic slowly sizzle in the oil as it heats up. When the oil is hot (but before the garlic burns) add the green onions and stir-fry for 15 seconds. Add the mushrooms and quickly stir to coat the mushrooms in the garlicky oil.
Turn the heat to high and stir-fry for 15 to 30 seconds more. Pour in the rum and season with salt. Saute until the mushrooms are softened and the rum has evaporated.
Other recipes you might enjoy
Stir Fried Beef with Nectarines Recipe
Vietnamese Beef Pho Noodle Soup Recipe
Asian Pork Burgers with Kimchi
Nice information, many thanks to the author. It’s helpful to me now, but generally speaking, the usefulness and significance is overpowering. Thanks again and good luck!
Thanks for this yummy looking recipe, i always thought ti was toughand it needed to go in the slow cooker, going to try this for the boyfriend tomorrrow night and Skirt si def going to be used for my fajitas in future. My parents put their cows in the freezer (well about one a year) and I never know what to do with the skirt.
I tried this with a small but thick slice of eye fillet, marinated it for 1.5 hours
ALSO because I am gluten free/fructose free I used tamari (wheat free soy sauce) and hoi sin (instead of honey) and it was AMAZING!
I would highly recommend people try the hoi sin marinade (it is soy/plum/sugar/garlic/chilli). Also adds a lovely red tinge around the outside of the steak when sliced – looked great at dinner time.
thanks for the reply.
from my experience (may very well be determined by the typical size of steak pieces that I prefer to deal with, like you said) I found that the meat is more predictable and “easy going” when it’s been cut across the grain before cooking (otherwise “low and slow” grilling in most cases is the only option, I think). that way, by the time a steak gets served, it’s doesn’t make any significant difference whether it’s sliced across or with the grain in terms of “chewyness” (though I’d still prefer being able to cut it across again).
apart from that, i tend not to salt the meat until it’s on the grill, which makes a steak more tender, although not so evenly seasoned inside and outside. yet have to give your “salty-whisky-moody” scientific recipe a try, though. it’s not quite a grill season here at the moment but as far as I get my hands back on the grill, that will definitely be the grand opening steak (hopefully tasting as good as it sounds).
anyway, thanks again for your recipes and suggestions!
@UA Beef Lover
It’s totally up to you on whether you want to cut before you marinade or after cooking. Depends on
a) how big the piece of steak is
b) how big is your grill
c) how much time you have for marinating
For skirt steaks, I tend to cut the long strips into a couple manageable sections (WITH the grain); marinate; grill; then slice right before serving AGAINST the grain.
When you see a whole piece of skirt steak, you’ll understand what I mean, but it’s hard to explain w/o showing you a photo. I’ll work on a skirt steak post in next week or so.
came across your blog and it’s like a blessing for a beef lover like me. thanks for that!
you keep urging your readers to slice the steak across the grain before serving. however, i’ve always thought that it’s BEFORE cooking that the meat should be cut across, which makes it…ummm…more perceptive to both marinade/seasoning and the heat when it’s being cooked. that said, i can hardly imagine how a steak already cut across the grain in the very beginning could be cut that same way again when it’s done.
now my question is: for you, what is the right time for a steak to be cut across? whether it should be before marinating/seasoning or when a steak is done?
Made this for my wife last night, needless to say her palate fell in love.
I tried this tonight and it was so good. I only marinated the meat for 30 minutes and it still came out delicious! Tender and tasty. Thanks so much Jaden! Every recipe I have made of yours is so yummy. My husband and I are fans! Can’t wait for your cook book!
Jaden, I finally got around to making this recipe but with pork chops. 15-year old daughter could not stop saying how good it was. Which it was. Thanks, will definitely try with skirt steak, next.
Just discovered skirt steak this past summmer. I was always a flank steak buyer. Now skirt steak is a fav at our house. The $6.99/pound price tag hurts, but we can’t eat chicken every night.
thank you for this recipe, made it tonight and it was YUMMMMMM. Not sure I have cooked skirt steak before this either – so I will be contributing to the price raise now ahhahah!
I don’t think I’ve seen a better looking skirt steak! Mmmmmm!
you are SO right about the skirt steak. it used to be cheap, now it’s like $12 a pound! WTF!? i get scared that w/ every new food trend the same thing could happen w/ tripe (although i doubt that one), liver, necks, etc. i mean, the filet is NOT that good of a cut of meat. totally overrated in flavor. but we’re all led to believe it is the best so the price is always super high.
lamb shoulder vs. lamb loin…. when shoulder becomes expensive that’s when i’ll be really pissed!
Happy new year! yummy recipe!!! is that paired with some arugula??!!! can’t wait to make this for my family! u rock jaden 🙂
Cannot wait to try this recipe. The combination of beef and mushrooms is timeless, and tasty as well!
Happy New Year!…I love mushrooms, great start to 2009!
Yeah, funny that. I noticed the same thing, gah. So, now when I need a dose of a truly inexpensive cut, I visit my local Latin markets. It’s usually about $3.30 a pound or less. Two to three times that every place else, gah.
i’ve been using skirt steaks for steak au pouvre. the only problem is that they’re really hard to find.
the print function is 404 – can you fix? cuz i wanna make this, like, yesterday! 🙂
This looks delicious! I wonder what skirt steak would translate to over here…hmmm…I’ll have to find out!
The photos are really great in this post.
what a yummy recipe to welcome the year!!! happy new year!!! 🙂
I hear you, I’ve been shocked by how skirt and flank steak prices have gone up! I marinade mine almost the same but I add even more garlic 🙂 I’ll have to try the mushrooms, they sound delicious.
I agree, I hate how skirt steak has increased in price. In fact, ALL beef has increased so much. Like you said, somebody decided that skirt steak, and then beef cheeks, short ribs, even oxtails, all those lesser cuts, were diamonds in the rough, and the prices went up, up, up! That’s part of why we have chicken, chicken, ground turkey, chicken…night after night. (My husband hates when we get too much into the chicken “routine”.) Those days of under $2/lb beef are long gone, I’m afraid! And steak? Anything under $10/lb is a bargain, it seems. But this recipe does make my mouth water…gonna have to run to the store and bite the bullet! Thanks Jaden!
Some Hard Rock Café’s have a skirt steak on their menu, marinated in Mad Anthony’s Hot Sauce. Mad Anthony is Michael Anthony, former bassman of Van Halen, and he’s one of those who’s actually involved in the sauce process. Mary had that skirt steak at the Hard Rock at Universal in Orlando and really enjoyed it. Your pic has the skirt steak just the right amount of pink!
This sounds wonderful! I love shitake mushrooms.
hmmn…love soy…love shitake…love beef….love this recipe!
You always amaze me with your recipes and pictures. What a beautiful meal.
never seen skirt steak here…too bad about the price hike on them.
I love skirt steak. It’s full of flavour! That’s a sexy plate of meat and ‘rooms!
That looks good I love asian food.If you want more recipes or if you want to take a look at the collection of tips I have for grilling you can visit http://www.cookingandgrillinoutdoors.com
Yum, this looks like a great recipe to try!
Skirt steak is one of my favorites if as long as it’s been aged by a great butcher. The flavor can be gamy – you’re right, lots of exercise = lots of flavor, and the diaphram gets that and is also close in proximity to the liver. Because it’s so flavorful, I find it doesn’t need any marinade at all, just a little extra virgin olive oil and sea salt. And I don’t find the cut tough at all (unlike the flank).
Until recently, the skirts were typically ground up into burger meat. One reason the skirt steak has become more expensive as people discover it is that there are only a few lbs. available per cattle (generally less than 10 lbs out of a 1,100 lb cattle. For comparison, you typically get several hundred lbs of burger meat). Also, since they’re so thin (usually 1/2 or less), they’re also highly perishable.
Flank steak used to be similarly cheap, and I treat it the same way, with a honey soy marinade (and sometimes a couple of cloves). You can put the steak and marinade in a freezer bag, let it sit in the fridge for a day, then freeze it so it’s conveniently pre-marinated when you thaw it.
And save the marinade! I pour it in a saucepan, bring it to a boil, then cook mushrooms and onions in it to go with the steak.
I also recommend using low-salt (lite) soy sauce.
I know- years ago I would go into the supermarket and ask for skirt steak, and for some reason the store butcher always thought he had to educate me on how tough it was before he’d go check to see if any was left in the back- every time! Some of the other guys would like at me like, why would she want that? So yes, it is freakin’ expensive now! Thanks for the new recipe. Hope you had a rockin’ new year! Janet
Thank you so much for your work with the Menu for Hope. Your heart and hard work has paid off for those children. I have posted on my blog for my readers (all 6 or 7 of them) to leave a comment of thanks for the work. You need to hear how you are appreciated.
Thank you so much,
If fresh shitake mushrooms aren’t available, could reconstituted dried shitakes be used? If so, what quantity of dried shitakes would it take to provide 32 ounces of shitakes for this recipe?
Yes, you can use reconstituted black mushrooms – they are generally meatier than fresh, so I would use less in terms of quantity. I would go for 4 ounces dried. ~jaden
Shawn (boyfriend) was watching me write you the tweet about Adobe Lightroom and then I switched over to read this post. He said, “Who made that?” And I said the person I was just writing to. And then he said, “What does she need Lightroom for?” Just thought I would share.
this looks good, am going to have to try it!
I’m all for trying this one; it looks delicious and fresh!
Blame Texas! We use skirt steak for fajitas and I bet that dish’s popularity had something to do with the hike in the price. No matter, this looks wonderful!
Looks delicious! We always use skirt steaks for our fajitas but have never tried it just as steak or with other flavors.