Skirt steak is an affordable cut sourced from the cow’s diaphragm muscles. It has a rich flavor and a fibrous texture. The muscles that make up the skirt steak get a lot of exercise, which means that it can be tough unless you make the effort to tenderize it. With the right methods, you can make your skirt steak soft enough to be cut with a fork. Below are a few tips on how to tenderize skirt steak.
The thinness of skirt steak makes it perfect for this method. To get your steak as tender as possible, you will need to make a marinade with a strong acidic component. This means that you should use ingredients like vinegar, buttermilk or lime juice. Acids can break down the muscle fibers in the steak. Since the acids in the marinade will not penetrate much deeper than the surface, marination has a more dramatic effect on thinner cuts like a skirt or flank steak.
Salt is not just for flavor, it can make a skirt steak easier to eat as well. Coating your skirt steak with a heavy layer of salt about an hour before cooking it can greatly enhance its texture. After the meat sits for an hour, you will rinse the salt from the surface before grilling it. Salt causes the filaments that make up the muscle fibers to swell and separate. The effect of that swelling and separation is that they break down, with the result that the meat becomes more tender.
Pounding your meat with a mallet or other implement is the simplest method for softening your steak. It is a way of breaking down the muscle fibers of the steak with brute force rather than with chemistry. The meat mallet forces the fibers apart to make the meat easier to chew. When pounding your skirt steak, wrap it in plastic wrap first to keep juices from flying everywhere. Try not to go overboard as excessive pounding can tear the steak or make it mushy.
Grill it over a high heat
While it can be stir-fried in a wok, grilling is arguably the best way to cook skirt steak. The key is to start out with very hot coals or with your burner turned up as high as it will go if you are using a gas grill. You want to sear the exterior quickly. The result is that the interior never gets a chance to dry out and become leathery.
Cut it against the grain
When deciding how to tenderize skirt steak, it is important to remember that not all of the factors that affect the texture have to do with cooking. While all of the tips above show you great ways to get a tender skirt steak, none of them will make a difference if you fail to cut it correctly. Incorrect slicing will make skirt steak difficult to chew no matter what other methods you used to prepare it. This is because of the large muscle fibers that make up this cut. They are long and chewy. The only way to eliminate that chewiness is to reduce their length. You do this by slicing them against the grain. The muscle fibers will be reduced to a few millimeters in thickness and thus break apart more easily.