Skirt steak is often the cut of choice for popular dishes like fajitas. However, its versatility and ability to take on robust flavors begs to be enjoyed with a tangy and herbaceous sauce like chimichurri.
Because of its natural intense beefy flavor, I kept the seasoning simple for this recipe, and let the sauce shine. It’s a culinary duo that will get devoured fast!
What Is Skirt Steak?
Skirt steak is sold as long and relatively thin strip of meat in most grocery stores. It comes from the short plate (diaphragm area) of the steer found under the rib section.
It’s an affordable cut that sells quickly. For that reason, it’s a rare commodity to find as there are only four steaks per cow, two from the inside and two from the outside skirt. The outside skirt is more tender in texture.
What makes it unique is its coarse visible muscle fibers that create small pleats like a skirt. Those tiny peaks and valleys on the surface mean it has more area for seasonings and marinades to be added for extra flavor.
It also requires proper carving across the grain, so that those tough fibers can become more tender and delectable.
How to Cook Skirt Steak
Learning how to cook skirt steak is simple. It’s a long and thin cut so you may have to cut it in half or thirds to make it fit in the pan and get a proper sear.
- Make sure to dry the surface from any excess moisture before adding the salt and pepper. This will help the surface of your steak caramelize, or get a good sear.
- Use a pan that can tolerate and hold high heat well. I use my trusty 12-inch cast-iron skillet and preheat it.
- Sear for a few minutes on each side for medium-rare doneness. If the meat becomes overcooked, the texture is extremely tough and chewy. Medium-rare is the way to go for this cut.
- It’s crucial to carve the steak against the grain for maximum tenderness.
We have even more tips on how to cook the perfect skirt steak here!
What’s in Chimichurri?
My avocado riff on chimichurri recipe starts by breaking down fresh cilantro, parsley, and garlic together in the food processor to extract their flavor and aromas into the sauce.
You can also chop the herbs with a chef’s knife if a processor isn’t handy. Kosher salt, cumin, and red pepper flakes add savory seasonings with a hint of heat. Red wine vinegar provides pungency to the sauce to complement the rich meat.
A high-quality extra-virgin olive oil gives a slight fruitiness and body to the sauce. I wait until the very end to dice the avocado to keep it bright green in color. The creamy lime green fruit adds mini creamy bits to the sauce.
How to Make Chimichurri Ahead of Time
The chimichurri sauce can be made up to one day ahead of time.
The sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for two days. Make sure to stir the sauce a few times before serving to mix all of the ingredients that might have settled or separated.
How to Use Leftover Skirt Steak
Hands down the ultimate way to use the leftovers is to enjoy it with some fried eggs and potatoes the next day for breakfast. The steak and the sauce would also be delicious in tacos, burrito bowls, or on top of a salad.
Looking for More Great Steak Recipes?
- Steak Salad
- Flank Steak and Mushrooms
- Skewered Skirt Steak
- Flank Steak with Orange and Avocado
- Grilled Chili Lime Flank Steak
Skirt Steak with Avocado Chimichurri
- For the avocado chimichurri sauce:
- 1 cup cilantro leaves, packed
- 1 cup parsley leaves, packed
- 1 tablespoon roughly chopped garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium avocado, diced about 1 cup
- For the skirt steak:
- 1 pound skirt steak
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, as needed for seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, as needed for seasoning
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Prepare the chimichurri sauce:
Add the cilantro, parsley, garlic, salt, cumin, and red pepper flakes to a food processor. Pulse until the leaves are coarsely chopped, about 5 pulses. Add the red wine vinegar, pulse 5 times. Add the olive oil, pulse 5 times. The chimichurri sauce should be emulsified and the herbs coarsely chopped.
Add the avocado:
Transfer the chimichurri sauce to a medium bowl. Cut the avocado into 1/2-inch dice. Add the avocado to the chimichurri and gently stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Cut the steak:
If the skirt steak comes in a long strip, cut across the grain into 2 to 3 smaller pieces, about 5 to 7 inches in length. This will allow the steak to fit better in the pan.
Dry and season the steak:
Thoroughly pat dry each steak with paper towels on each side. The surface should be very dry to help brown the surface of the meat. Generously season each side of the steaks with salt and pepper.
Heat the pan:
Heat a large 12-inch cast-iron skillet over high heat for 3 minutes. Once hot add the olive oil.
Cook the steak:
Use tongs to carefully add the steak to the pan, then press down on the surface a few times for more contact. Sear the first side until browned, about 2 to 4 minutes depending on the thickness of the meat. Flip and cook another 2 to 4 minutes.
For medium-rare doneness, cook steak until it reaches an internal temperature of 130oF. Work in two batches if needed.
Rest the steak:
Transfer steak to a cutting board, loosely cover with foil and rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
Slice and serve the steak:
Hold the carving knife at a 45-degree angle and then slice the steak against the grain, about 1/4-inch thick slices. Transfer skirt steak to a serving plate and either top with avocado chimichurri sauce or put the sauce on the side.