By Christie Vanover | Published July 11, 2021 | Last Updated July 11, 2022
Disclosure Aspire by Hestan compensated me for this recipe.
Raise your hand if you’ve bitten into a taco to find tough beef that isn’t bite-tender. Kind of sucks huh? You end up pulling out a mouthful of beef, leaving your tortilla with nothing but veg.
Skirt steak is naturally more tender, making it the ideal choice for tacos, and marinating the steak for a couple of hours adds a pure south of the border punch.
What is skirt steak
Skirt steak comes from the plate primal of the cow, which is right along the belly. You may be familiar with this primal, because it’s also where plate short ribs are cut from. It has excellent marbling, making it very tender and delicious.
Most groceries will just package skirt steak as “skirt steak,” but there are actually two types: inside skirt and outside skirt. The ones at the grocery are most often inside skirt. They taste pretty much the same, but outside skirt has a silverskin on it that needs to be removed before cooking.
Skirt steak is not cut like a traditional ribeye or New York Strip. Instead, it’s a long thin cut. Sometimes it’s folded over or rolled up in the packaging.
My favorite taco marinade
Although skirt steak is naturally tender, marinating it will make it even more tender while adding some wonderful flavor to the meat.
All good marinades use a little salt and acid. This helps break down the meat’s connective tissue. For the acid, this marinade uses lime juice and red wine vinegar. The saltiness comes from soy sauce.
To balance the salt and citrus, add a touch of honey. You could also use brown sugar.
Then, add seasoning. My Brisket Rub works perfectly, because it includes garlic, onion, chiles and a touch of cumin.
The recipe instructions say to marinate the steak for 1-8 hours. I know that’s a huge range, but you truly have a lot of flexibility here.
In 1 hour, the steak will have absorbed plenty of flavor. I find the 2-hour mark to be the sweet spot. But if you prefer to marinate this in the morning and cook it for dinner, that will totally work, too.
You can even use this marinade for chicken and shrimp. If you’re marinating chicken, cut the fridge time to 1 hour. For shrimp, only marinate it for 15-30 minutes. If you marinate it too long, the acids will actually begin to cook the meat and ruin the texture.
How to grill skirt steak
Marinating the meat is the longest part of this recipe. The steak itself cooks in less than 10 minutes.
Heat your grill to medium-high heat. For perfectly medium-rare steak, you’ll only need to grill it for 3-4 minutes per side. If you prefer your steak cooked longer, let it ride.
Because this cook is so short, I prefer using a gas grill. While using charcoal will give the steak fantastic flavor, I just hate to light up a bunch of coals for 10 minutes.
I used the sear station on my Aspire by Hestan gas grill. It’s perfect for steaks. I set it to medium heat, because it gets super hot in the best kind of steak grilling way.
I also added an Anaheim chile, a couple jalapeños and some sliced red onion alongside the steak.
They were tossed with a bit of oil and lightly seasoned with salt and pepper. They cook quickly, too. When the steak is done, they should be nice and charred and ready for your skirt steak tacos.
How to slice skirt steak
Remember at the top of this post when I mentioned biting into a beef taco and it being tough. We solved that problem by picking a good meat and using a marinade, but there’s one more important step.
You need to be sure to cut the steak against the grain. This way, each slice will easily separate when you bite it.
Skirt steak is long and skinny, so it seems like you should just start slicing from the end, but DON’T. The grain runs the other way.
Instead, slice that long steak into 3-4-inch sections. Then, slice it the opposite way. That results in the perfect taco slice.
Keep that grill lit for the tortillas
While the grill is still fired up, toss on your tortillas. You can use flour or corn, and you can choose to go with some mini street tacos or the larger ones.
Don’t turn your back on these. Tortillas will char in 15-30 seconds. Some tortillas may have been harmed during the production of this post. It’s hard to cook and shoot photos sometimes. :)
For your skirt steak taco toppings, you can dice up those grilled peppers and onions, or go with fresh, raw peppers and onions. A little cilantro and hot sauce is always a hit, too.
See. Too easy. You got this. Now you can enjoy tacos any day of the week.
Grilled Skirt Steak Tacos
- 1 lb skirt steak
- 2 cloves cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- juice of 2 limes
- 2 tsp honey
- 1 tsp Christie Vanover's Brisket Rub
- 8 small flour tortillas
- Mix all of the ingredients in a zip-top bag and marinate in the refrigerator for 1-8 hours.
- Heat the grill to medium-high heat. Remove the meat from the marinade. Grill for 3 minutes per side.
- Remove from the grill, and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice the beef against grain.
- Serve with tortillas and your favorite taco toppings.
This estimate was created using an online nutrition calculator