Many people think that the only difference between a skirt and flank steak is where they come from, but there are actually many differences. Flank steaks come from the abdominal muscles of beef cattle while skirts come from the diaphragm muscle. The two also differ in their level of fat content as well as texture and flavor with skirts being described as more grainy with a stronger flavor than flank steak which has a finer texture and milder taste.
This post will go on to help you understand the difference and how to cook each type of steak so that you can decide which one would be best for your needs!
What Is Skirt Steak?
Skirt Steak is a cut of beef from the plate or lower chest of a cow. Skirt steak is known for being very flavorful and tender. Skirt steak is long with a triangular, asymmetrical shape.
It has two sides: “Inside Skirt” and “Outside Skirt“.
The key to removing the tough membrane from Skirt Steak is to use a knife or kitchen shears. Skirt Steak is also known as Fajita Meat, so it’s great for making delicious fajitas!
Skirt steak tastes great by itself or with a wide variety of sauces and spices. Be careful when you cook Skirt Steak because it can dry out quickly.
Skirt steak can be used in many different dishes, such as salads, fajitas, tacos, stir fry, pasta bakes and more! Skirt Steak is a great source of protein at 10 grams per serving!
What is Flank Steak?
Flank steak is a cut of beef that comes from the belly area of cattle, underneath ribs on either side. It is one of the thinnest cuts available and it’s typically a long piece of meat with a flat section attached near one end.
Flank steak can be grilled or fried when prepared correctly but due to its size it isn’t always practical for cooking at home so most people choose to purchase this type in packaged form. In order to get the best results when preparing flank steak it’s important to slice it across the grain instead of against it while also removing excess amounts of fat before cooking.
This ensures that all pieces cut will be properly tender while still having enough flavor and without getting too chewy like other types of steak often do when cooked incorrectly.
What is the difference between flank and skirt steak?
Flank steak is cut from the abdominal muscles of beef cattle that run adjacent to the spine. It can be cooked using dry heat or wet heat methods, but either way should only take one hour at most after it has been removed from packaging. Flank steak will often look like a long rectangle in shape and should have visible lines running through it due to its added fat content.
Skirt steak comes directly from the loin muscle of beef cattle located under the ribs between the last rib and hips. Skirt steak can also be grilled or fried, though many prefer it when marinated in a liquid containing fruit juices such as lime or orange juice for an hour before cooking. Cook skirt steak anywhere from four minutes on each side for a medium steak to 10 minutes on each side for a well done steak.
Skirt steak is also known as the outside skirt, inside skirt or hanging tender with the latter being more of a butchery term rather than a name that most people know by. The name itself comes from where it is cut from and how it hangs off the bone of the ribs in cattle. This type of meat often has quite a bit of marbling running through it due to its location on the cow and requires an extremely sharp knife when portioning out if cooking at home as part of a meal.
Flank steaks are best served sliced across grain into thin strips about an inch thick. Skirt steaks benefit from having their fat removed prior to cooking since it can become chewy when cooked correctly.
One of the main differences in the difference between flank and skirt beef is that flank steak comes from a different area of the cow than skirt steak does. Flank steak comes from the belly area of cattle while skirt meat comes off closer to where the back of the animal is, underneath ribs on either side. Skirt steak can be grilled or fried while flank steak should only be prepared one way, sliced thin across its grain after being removed from packaging.
One last difference worth noting is that skirt steaks often contain more marbling than flank steaks do due to their location close to ribs on either side of cattle which makes them better suited for cutting into strips or cubes for stewing than they are for being sliced across their grain and served as a steak.
Flank steak vs Skirt steak – which one should you buy?
There really is no wrong choice when it comes to choosing between flank steak vs skirt steak. Both options have their own benefits and drawbacks, but the final decision should be based on how you intend to cook your food, either via a dry method or a wet method.
If you plan on going with a long cooking time using an oven or slow cooker then skirt steak might be a better option due to its marbling and ability to taste great even when cooked for longer periods of time. Otherwise if you plan to use any type of dry heat such as grilling or pan-frying then flank steak may end up being the better choice.
The biggest deciding factor in this case is the size that you need for your recipe rather than which cut would be best suited for your cooking method. If you need several long, thin strips of steak then going with flank steak will probably be a better decision but if you want to make cubes or shorter pieces for stews and soups then skirt meat is the clear winner here due to its marbling.
For most people there shouldn’t be a big difference between flank vs skirt steaks unless their recipe calls specifically for one of these two cuts of beef. In which case either cut would work equally well as long as it fits the portion size required by the recipe they are following. In spite of that it can’t hurt to have both on hand at all times since both types come from different muscles around cattle and serve different purposes in recipes.
How to cook these cuts of meat
There really is one true best way to cook both types of beef, which is with a very hot pan and cooking each side for 4-5 minutes for a medium steak. This will give you the perfect steak whether you’re making it as part of a meal at home or enjoying it at a restaurant. For those who enjoy their meat cooked more than that then they can continue cooking their steak until it reaches the level of doneness they desire.
Skirt steak can also be grilled like any other type of steak but since these cuts often contain quite a bit of fat and marbling from being so close to bone marrow it should only be marinated in liquids containing fruit juices such as orange juice or lime juice rather than something thicker such as steak sauce or teriyaki sauce.
Flank steak can also be eaten when it’s cooked for less time at a lower temperature in order to cut down on the amount of fat in each bite, though this is not necessarily the best way to enjoy either type of beef.
It’s also possible to prepare both skirt and flank steaks by mixing them with other types of meat in ground form so long as the right blend of spices are added to compliment all their flavors.
Video tutorials on how to prepare each type of cut
There isn’t much difference between flank steak vs skirt steak unless the person cooking their meal is following a specific recipe. Most people can get away with using either cut when they do not have access to the other, provided that the size of their meal matches what’s available in their freezer.
For most home chefs there shouldn’t be any difference between these two types of beef save for personal preference and how they plan on cooking them once purchased or taken out of the packaging. Flank steak has a thicker grain than skirt steak does but both cuts are relatively thin so it’s possible to overcook either one if handled improperly by anyone who isn’t proficient in preparing beef.
Skirt vs flank steaks come down to preference for most people except when following a recipe that calls for only one of the two. In those cases, either steak will work as long as it fits the portion size required by a given recipe.