As a popular cut of beef that’s relatively thin and long, chefs often use skirt steak in recipes like carne asada and chimichurri. If you can’t find this cut at your local grocery store, however, there are a few good alternatives that you can use as a skirt steak substitute.
In hopes of preventing you from aimlessly wandering the supermarket looking for a skirt steak substitute, we’ve hand-picked some of the best cuts of meat that you can use in its place. Even if your butcher is out of skirt steak, you should be able to use one of these options in its place.
What is skirt steak?
As we mentioned, skirt steak is a long cut of meat that almost appears as if it has been pounded flat. It comes from the diaphragm section of the cow, just under its ribs. When you look at a piece of skirt steak, you’ll notice the grain running across the width of it.
Skirt steak is best cooked in a hot skillet or cast iron pan with butter or olive oil to get the right amount of sear. It can get tough if cooked for too long, so it’s best to grill it to medium at the highest.
What can you use as a skirt steak substitute?
With that said, there’s no need to panic if you can’t find a decent cut of skirt steak for your fajitas or bulgogi recipe. Any of the following cuts of meat should serve as an easy swap (although the preparation method may be slightly different).
Skirt steak and flank steak look quite similar. They’re both long and flat, with a distinct grain running across each cut. However, the cut on flank steak runs opposite to the one on skirt steak.
Prepare your flank steak as you would skirt steak. If possible, try marinating it in flavorful liquid prior to cooking. You can easily use it as a skirt steak substitute, whether you’re grilling it on its own or using it in a recipe.
Flat iron steak
Taken from the shoulder (or chuck) of the animal, flat iron steak is another readily available alternative to skirt steak. It’s thicker and more marbled than flank and skirt steak, which gives it a true meaty taste.
When using it in place of skirt steak, sear it quickly on high heat at first. Then heat it through on a lower temperature. As a skirt steak replacement, flat iron steak tastes great thinly sliced in tacos.
If you’re trying to achieve the delicious taste of steak on a budget, you might want to try flap steak. It’s a more affordable alternative to skirt steak and the other options we’ve listed so far.
Flap steak is quite thin, which makes it a great replacement for skirt steak since you can grill it to eat as a main dish or slice it up for use in various Mexican-inspired meals.
These days, skirt steak is a popular style of meat in the United States. As a result, you might have trouble finding it in stock at your nearest supermarket. If that’s the case, you can rest assured that any of these substitute options will work just as well.
For more cooking tips and ideas, check out the Tastessence blog.