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  • Writer's pictureStruan Bourquin

A Cheap, Flavour-Packed Cut For The Perfect Steak

Updated: Jul 6, 2023

This has quickly become my new favourite cut for the barbecue when I'm in the mood for steak. It's cheap, super tasty and very tender when cooked properly.

Beef Skirt/flank steak

Skirt (or Flank steak) has taken my barbecues at home by storm. I'm an avid fan of the more traditional sirloin, rump or ribeye steaks, but these are by no means the cheapest of beef cuts. Having stumbled onto the humble skirt steak, which comes at a far more reasonable price per kilogram/pound, and in my opinion, tastes better than any of these, it has quickly become my new firm favourite which comes with a lot of surprise and delight from family and friends who ask which cut the steak is.

Flavourful and cheap? What's the catch? Cooking it just right to ensure it is tender. But when you do, it's simply incredible. Melts in your mouth and is jam-packed with steaky flavour.

Skirt steak is a popular choice for fajitas, stir-fries, tacos, and sandwiches, as its robust taste pairs well with bold spices and vibrant ingredients.

So What's The Secret To Cooking Skirt Steak?

There are a few options to cook beef skirt, I certainly have my favourite. The more common methods include marinading or tenderising with a mallet and then cooking over a very hot flame. But for thicker pieces of skirt, you may want to take a different route: sous vide followed by a quick sear on a blazing hot barbecue. This is my fool-proof way of cooking the perfect beef skirt.

If you aren't familiar with sous vide, in short, it's the process of cooking foods by placing them in a zip-lock or vacuum-sealed bag and heating them to a very specific temperature in a water bath over a period of time. Sound complicated? It really isn't and you can achieve pretty good results with just a few items lying around your house which I will share with you below.

I will generally sous vide all my steaks before they go onto the barbecue to ensure that they are perfect every time. I use the Anova Precision Cooker which is a cost-effective machine, probably the most popular option on the market, and can even be controlled remotely via your smartphone.

My favourite: The Sous Vide Method

If you have a sous vide machine, it really is this simple:

  1. Preheat the water to reach your preferred steak doneness (I go for 54.5ºC to ensure it is still pink in the middle) in whichever vessel you use - pot, food-grade plastic container, etc, and set the timer for 4.5 - 5 hours.

  2. Drop your steak into a zip-lock bag or vacuum seal it if you must. I get my steak from pre-vacuum sealed from the store.

  3. Drop it into the water and wait for the magic to happen!

  4. Get the barbecue blazing, season the already sous vide steaks liberally with salt and pepper and sear over the flames for a minute or two per side.

  5. Dig in!

Anova sous vide setup
This is my sous vide setup: an Anova machine with a plastic container. I cut a hole out of the lid to allow the machine to fit through it in order to reduce evaporation during long cooks.

If you don't have a sous vide machine, you can get a similar effect using a cooler box. Here is a quick guide from Chef Steps to learn how to do it. You can also see their temperature guide for sous vide here.

If sous vide just isn't your thing, then marinade the meat for a few hours and cook the skirt steak on a hot fire.

Final thought

Beef skirt/flank steak
I get my skirt steak in a vacuum seal pack directly from the store. But a zip lock bag lowered into the water bath works perfectly.

I if you find yourself constantly looking for a good deal on fresh steak, or just looking to try something different, do yourself a favour and keep an eye out for a piece of beef skirt. You won't be disappointed!

Cheers! 🍻

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