Korean-Style Grilled Skirt Steak

My beef cut of choice is the tenderloin. If it were up to me, I would only get the tenderloin – not a lot of fat AND tender. But as a benevolent wife and partner, I let my husband pick the cut sometimes. 🙂 I love the buttery texture of tenderloin. But My husband goes more for flavor than texture. And he thinks cuts other than the tenderloin are more flavorful. One of his favorite cuts of meat is the skirt steak. He loves the “fatty” flavor of it. So I get it once in a while.

As you may have guessed or already know, skirt steak is not the most tender of cuts. But it’s not a lost cause. You can do a few things to make the meat more tender to the bite.

You should grill or sear your skirt steak to about medium-rare. If you grill it longer, it will become dry and tougher to chew. But if you are like me, and like your steak slightly on the more done side, you can add some natural tenderizer to the marinade to break up the collagen in the meat. I add about half of a kiwi (puréed) to the marinade as a tenderizer. Raw kiwi is rich in actinidin, a protein-dissolving enzyme. But be careful. If left in the kiwi marinade for too long, the meat can become mushy.

You should also allow the the meat to rest for about 5-7 minutes for the juices to redistribute. Cut into it too fast, all of the juices will come pouring out and result in a dry steak. While it’s resting, I sprinkle some chopped green onions on top. The warmth of the steak wilts the green onions just right.

But the most obvious and easiest thing to do is to cut the meat thinly against the grain at a slight angle – although the angle cutting doesn’t add too much to the texture due to the thinness of this cut.

If you look at a skirt steak, there are obvious fibers (or grains) that run perpendicular to the length of the steak. The natural inclination for most would be to cut along the grain since the grain runs along the shorter side of the steak. But resist the temptation. Your jaw and temples would get way too much exercise if you don’t; you would have to chew for a looooong period of time for the pieces to break down into acceptable sizes for you to swallow. You are basically doing the work that your teeth would have to do by cutting the long fiber (with pretty high tensile strength!) into shorter lengths.

So cut the skirt steak into about 3 inch pieces first. Then cut the meat into thin slices against the grain at an angle – by 45 degrees – by using a fork and a sharp knife. You can hold the fork at an angle to guide the knife.

Korean-Style Seared Skirt Steak

You will end up with a very flavorful and tender skirt steak. Enjoy!

Korean Sweet-Soy Sauce Marinated Skirt Steak Recipe
Serves 2-3 people
1 lb skirt steak
3 TB tamari (gluten-free soy sauce)
1 1/2 TB agave nectar (or sugar)
1 TB mirin (or other cooking wine)
1 TB toasted sesame seed oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 – 1 tsp black pepper
canola or grapeseed oil (something w/ a high smoking point)

Optional Ingredients
toasted sesame seeds
chopped green onions
1/2 kiwi, puréed*

  1. If necessary, prep the meat by removing any tough membrane or fat that surrounds the skirt steak. Prepare the marinade by stirring together tamari, agave nectar, mirin, sesame seed oil, minced garlic, and black pepper. If you are using a kiwi, add it to the marinade. Mix well. Place the skirt steak in a shallow bowl or a large ziploc bag. Pour this marinade over the steak. Seal and marinate for at least 2-3 hours. You can also marinate overnight.
  2. Heat an iron skillet, other heavy-bottomed pan, or a grill over medium-high heat. Add about a tablespoon of oil to the pan. Swirl to coat the pan. Take the steak out the marinade. Shake off excess marinade. Discard the used marinade. Add the steak to the pan and cook on one side for about 3 minutes. Once it is nicely seared or has well-developed grill marks, flip it over. Cook on the other side for about 3 minutes.
  3. Remove the steak from heat. Sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds and/or chopped green onions if desied. Tent the steak to keep it warm. You can use aluminum foil. Allow it to rest for about 5-7 minutes. Cut the steak into manageable pieces – about 3-inch pieces. Cut against the grain at an angle into thin pieces. If necessary, salt to taste. Serve with some steamed rice or over a salad.
  4. * If you prefer the steak pink, instead of medium-rare, you can add about 30 seconds – 1 minute of cooking time on each side. If you choose to do this, I recommend you add some puréed kiwi to tenderize the meat.


16. May 2012 by gomo
Categories: Beef, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Korean Food, Main Dish | Tags: , , , | 16 comments

Comments (16)

  1. Sounds delicious. I accidentally bought a skirt steak (instead of flank steak) a while ago and have been looking for a recipe to use it in – this sounds perfect. Very interesting that the pureed kiwi can be used to tenderize the meat – I’ll definitely add it!

    • I hope you like it! Skirt steak can be tough (if some precautions aren’t taken), but it’s so flavorful. Thanks Vicky!

  2. OMG, this looks so good! I’m right with your husband on that one: I don’t eat much beef, only a couple times a year, but I’ll take skirt steak over tenderloin anytime! It does have a fatty / buttery flavor to it that I just can’t get enough of.

    Since I like to eat my meat “Pittsburgh” style, skirt steaks works beautifully for me, as I don’t have to overcook it ever.

    Your marinade sounds extremely yummy, too. I was already craving beef big time, now you’ve just given me the “coup de grâce”. Skirt steak will be happening “VERY” soon for this foodie! 😉

    • Thanks Sonia! I must admit this has become one of my favorites, even though my husband thinks I’m doing him a favor whenever we get skirt steak! 🙂

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  4. That first photo won me over instantly! I just moved in with my boyfriend so lets say this recipe is definitely getting saved for when I need to earn a few brownie points 🙂

  5. I’m so glad that I found your blog, I’ve searched and searched for a korean food blog. Because I really love the korean kitchen! Very Nice blog and pictures! Have Nice Day !

  6. This skirt steak looks absolutely delicious. Skirt steak and beef brisket are my preferred cuts for beef dishes other than steaks because of the strong beefy flavor. However when it comes to steak I like porterhouse or newyork strip. They’ve got a good amount of flavor as well as tender texture. I’ll definite give this recipe a try when i make my steak next time. Thanks!

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  9. My boyfriend doesn’t like beef here in Philippines so tough…he is looking for hanged meat for 20 to 25 days. He doesn’t like boiled meat to make it tender.. I found very interesting about kiwi purée where can I buy that stuff please…….

    • Hi Vilmapraico ~ You can just get a more tender cut of meat, like the tenderloin or rib eye. But if you just can’t get a tender cut and you want to tenderize it with kiwi fruit, you can just purée the fruit in a blender and add it to the marinade. Peel the fuzzy skin off first, of course. I believe kiwi fruits are available in the Philippines no? I hope this helps.

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