We have a favorite local Mexican restaurant, and one of the things we love to eat is the melt-in-your-mouth, perfectly cooked marinated skirt steak that appears in a number of dishes. When you’re eating it you forget about all your problems. It is tender, perfectly medium-rare, and full of the bright flavors from cilantro and lime. However, like many families we are always looking for ways to make our own version of restaurant favorites at home so that we can enjoy them even when it’s not an eat-out night. It is true that skirt steak is not the cheapest cut, but it is still much more economical than eating out.
I’m sure someday I will look back and laugh at all of this, and maybe somebody would say not to share it with you, but I think it is fun to tell you about my adventures as a newbie blogger. At the moment I am not even one notch above clueless and it’s making my head spin trying to learn everything. One of my plugins says that my sentences are way too long and my grammar is too complicated. Ok, so you want me to make it so stupid people can read my blog? Maybe only intelligent people who like juicy steak will be interested anyways, then what? I think I am okay with that. But on to the steak.
The Right Marinade is Key
I tried a couple of different methods and marinade recipes before I hit on this one that made our mouths sing. I tried a couple that had a bazillion ingredients and the simple one won out, which makes all of our lives a lot easier. They probably don’t use anything resembling soy sauce in Mexico, but I came across it in a few recipes as I was looking for inspiration. In my opinion the coconut aminos or tamari adds a nice layer of salty, umami richness. Lots of lime juice provides the trademark tangy citrus flavor as well as breaks down some of the meat fibers to make it more tender. Cilantro, garlic, oregano and jalapeños add just the right accent notes. The amount of jalapeño I added here did not add any noticeable heat to the end product so that is perfect for kids. You can use serrano or leave the seeds in to pack more spice.
Preparing and Cooking Your Skirt Steak Perfectly
There are a few tricks here. One is long marinating to let the flavors penetrate and give the acid in the marinade time to tenderize the meat. Take it out of the fridge an hour or two before cooking to let it come back as close to room temperature as possible. Then you want to cook it over a very high heat, whether that’s on a grill or a cast-iron pan. Afterwards, let it rest for 10 minutes and then slice thinly across the grain. I served it last time over a bed of sautéed peppers and onions with extra cilantro on top and a lime for squeezing. It would also be perfect for salad or tacos with lettuce wraps or your favorite tortilla.
Marinated Skirt Steak (Carne Asada)
- 1.5 lbs skirt steak
- 1/2 cup fresh lime juice about 3 limes depending on size
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1/2 cup olive oil avocado, grapeseed or other light-colored oil will work
- 2 Tbsp. coconut aminos or tamari
- 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/2 small jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed, minced
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
Combine all ingredients except steak in a zip-top plastic bag and stir with a whisk to combine.
Add the steak and turn to coat. Squeeze out as much air as possible and seal the bag. Marinate 6-8 hours in the fridge or overnight.
1-2 hours before cooking, remove from the refrigerator to allow the meat to come to room temperature.
Heat a gas or charcoal grill, grill pan or cast iron skillet over high heat.
Cook the steak 3-4 minutes per side for medium rare. Remove to a platter, tent with foil and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice across the grain and enjoy.