Here’s Why Skirt Steak is the Best Cut for Grilling

Are you looking for a new steak to grill? Try the outside skirt steak. Besides being among the most flavorful cuts, this long, thin piece of beef is quick-cooking, making it perfect for backyard BBQs and entertaining. Read on to learn more about this steak and get our favorite recipes.

The outside skirt steak is a special cut – just ask anyone in Texas. This cornerstone of Tex-Mex cooking – it’s the original and most authentic cut for fajitas – is a chef favorite and should be on your grill, too. Since there are only 2 per cattle, the outside skirt steak is something of a hot cut.

Inside or Outside?

There’s an inside skirt and outside skirt – so what’s the difference? The most important thing to remember is that the inside skirt steak is rather tough and requires marination, but the outside skirt is tender, and once trimmed, is a quick-cooking cut. You definitely want the outside skirt!



The outside skirt comes from the plate – a primal cut that’s between the brisket and flank. Attached to the chest wall, running diagonally along the ribs, like a belt across the belly (fajita means “little belt”), the outside skirt steak is covered with a thick membrane, which is the diaphragm. You will need to trim that off to get to the muscle – the steak itself.

ZBNSK003-1 Skirt Steak Whole
The outside skirt steak requires serious trimming, but it’s worth the effort!

The outside skirt is thicker than the inside skirt, which is below and further back than the outside skirt, within the body wall itself. Inside skirt steak lays flat and extends into the flank primal. While it doesn’t need trimming, the thinner inside skirt can be tougher than the outside skirt.

trimmed outside skirt steak whole
Trimmed skirt steak.

Cooking Skirt Steak

We love skirt steak because of its bold, beefy flavor and because it cooks over a hot grill so fast – about 2-3 minutes per side. You’ll want to cook it rare to medium-rare, anything more will be tough to chew.

Because the cut is so thin, it takes marinades very quickly (no more than 4 hours). And it also means that outside skirt can rest for just 10 minutes after cooking. Also, the thinness makes it easy to cook this steak hot and fast and visually determine its doneness without a meat thermometer.

ZBNSK003-1-V1 Skirt Steak Closeup
The grain of this muscle is clear  – be sure to cut against the grain!

Slicing beef against the grain is always important, but even more so for a thin cut like outside skirt steak.

Outside skirt steak is a versatile cut that can be accented with chimichurri, freshly squeezed citrus juice, Korean sauces, and more.  Seasoned simply with salt and pepper, skirt steak is still a star. And naturally, you should make fajitas at home with this steak. Here are a few of our favorite ways to enjoy this special steak.

Ponzu Marinated Skirt Steak

The citrusy Asian marinade in this easy recipe perfectly complements our full-flavored Angus beef skirt steak. Whether on the grill or stovetop, cook these steaks to medium-rare for best results.


Carne Asada

Make this easy carne asada recipe with your favorite steak. Dried chiles add deep smoky flavor that rounds out the citrusy marinade. Great for your next get-together!

Carne Asada Alt

Balsamic Grilled Skirt Steak

This easy recipe is great for the grill or stovetop and with a simple marinade of balsamic vinegar, honey, and aromatics, our full-flavored skirt steak remains the star of the show.


Steak your claim – order outside skirt steak at today! And let us know how you enjoy it.

Since 1985, D’Artagnan has been at the forefront of the farm-to-table movement, producing superior tasting products by partnering with small ranches and farms. We are committed to free-range, natural production, sustainable and humane farming practices and no use of antibiotics or hormones. That’s why D’Artagnan products have been revered by America’s most renowned chefs for over 30 years. We offer the same high-quality products to home cooks at, along with recipes and guides to help you live the tasty life.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. I’ve been craving for steak lately. That’s why I’m looking for a great restaurant that serves the best steak. Your idea of pairing the skirt steak with chimichurri, freshly squeezed citrus juice and Korean sauces seems mouthwatering.

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