I think I know why you’re looking for skirt steak substitutes. I mean, not exactly, but you might have a barbeque or just make some delicious beef and veggies stir-fry. Skirt steak is the perfect choice for all of these and more. But what will you do if a recipe calls for skirt steak and you don’t have it? I say make do with an available skirt steak substitute.
As delicious skirt steak is, it is hard to find. Why? It is because it has a high demand. The skirt steak has the perfect combination of meat and fat. But the unavailability is real because there are limited skirt steak cuts, and a lot of people are after it. So, what’s the solution for that?
The simple solution is to look for alternatives replicating the taste of skirt steak. Lucky for you, I have some options available. Some of the best skirt steak substitutes are flank steak, flap steak, hanger steak, flat iron steak, and striploin steak. But these are not it; I have some more in store.
Before we get to the substitutes for skirt steak, let’s first see what skirt steak is. That way, we can learn more about its properties and what meat cuts are the best substitutes for it.
Quick Peek: Skirt Steak
So, this section is your quick class about skirt steak. We’ll start with the basics and dive deeper to discover its flavor and texture. We’ll also look into its uses and its health benefits. Ready or not? Here we go!
What Is Skirt Steak?
Skirt steak is a cut of meat from the diaphragm muscle of the cow. The area is just below the ribs, and this plate area falls behind the front shank. The cow only has four skirt steaks, and it is one of the toughest cuts. This meat is tender and has an intense beefy and meaty flavor. You can cook it in a lot of ways to enjoy it better.
This meat is a bit sensitive and has an amazing flavor unless it’s overcooked. Overcooking skirt steak makes it lose its flavor and makes it hard to chew. Skirt steak is of two types; outside and inside skirt steak. The outside version is more tender. You can find the outside skirt steaks in restaurants. The steaks have a membrane that must be peeled off before cooking.
The inside steaks are the ones that you bring home. They are easily available at butcher and grocery shops. You can cook skirt steak by grilling it directly over coals. This gives it a nice seared crust and a juicy inside.
You can also sear it in an iron skillet or a pan. It will be tender, juicy, and delicious if you cook it at the right heat. You can broil it or use it using the sous vide technique. Skirt steak is best served when cooked rare or medium-rare as it retains its best flavors and tenderness when cooked moderately.
Describing Skirt Steak: Flavor and Texture
Skirt steak has a delicious intense beefy flavor. It is a prized steak, and for a good reason. The meat cut is marbled with fat, making it amazing when grilled.
The skirt steak also has a loose structure, which quickly absorbs marinades, sauces, and spices. This adds more flavor and zing to the meat. The meat is short and flat as it cuts from under the ribs.
Uses of Skirt Steak
Skirt steak can make a great addition to your barbecues and dinners. Skirt steak is also used in fajitas and is sometimes referred to as ‘fajitas steak.’ Other than that, it is used in the delicious churrasco, stir-fry recipes, Cornish pasties, and to make the meat-loaded Philly cheesesteak sandwich.
Skirt Steak On The Health Radar | Looking Through The Wellness Telescope
First of all, being meat, skirt steak is an excellent source of protein. It is also a good source of vitamins containing vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B6, and vitamin B12. It contains important micronutrients like iron, zinc, selenium, and phosphorus.
It also has creatine and taurine that help in muscle recovery and repair. It also contains bioactive substances like glutathione and conjugated linoleic acid, which has a lot of health benefits. Grass-fed skirt steak is high in vitamin E, Omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants.
Why Do You Need A Substitute For Skirt Steak?
I mentioned that skirt steak is one of the toughest cuts and one of the most prized cuts as well. Due to its high demand, it is possible that you may not find skirt steak so easily and might have to go with other choices of meat cuts. Even your local grocery or butcher’s shop may face this unavailability.
At such a time, it becomes important to have a list of skirt steak substitutes. Another reason can be that some people just don’t like its taste. Many people like less-marbled meat, while some like their steak well done. Whatever the case, you can use a substitute that fits your needs and taste.
9 Best Skirt Steak Substitutes
Now that we have read everything about skirt steak, it’s time to see its substitutes. All of them are just different cuts. So it’s a steak for a steak. Let’s go!
1. Flank Steak
If you want a steak that is one of the best skirt steak substitutes, you should try the flank steak. This meat is cut from the abdominal muscles. Thus, it is more tender than skirt steak but not as flavorful. Flank steak is also flat and wide like skirt steak and is rectangular with long grains.
Due to the wider surface area, it absorbs the marinades pretty nicely, making it intensely flavorful. When cooked, to get the best flavors, cut the flank steak thinly against the grains. This is best to replace skirt steak in stir-fries, so much so that it is labeled as ‘stir-fry steak.’ It is best served cooked rare or medium; marinated and grilled, stir-fried, or in fajitas.
2. Flat Iron Steak
The flat iron steak comes from the shoulder blade deep inside the chuck section. The flat iron steak is also a great skirt steak option and is less expensive. But it is richly marbled, which gives it a great taste and texture. In addition to that, it is also a thicker cut. Both these qualities make it a great choice for grilling.
Flat iron steaks are tender too but do well when you marinade them, increasing their tenderness and overall flavor. It tastes best when cooked from rare to medium. Just like skirt steak, overcooking it will ruin its taste. You can pan-sear it over high heat to give a crusty exterior and a flavorful and juicy interior.
You can use it as an all-purpose replacement for skirt steak and use it in fajitas, grill it, sear it, and broil it. You can also slow cook your flat iron steak for a delicious taste and buttery finish.
3. Flap Steak
Flap steak is another great option to replace skirt steak and is also cheaper. It comes from the bottom sirloin butt and is called ‘sirloin flap steak,’ ‘sirloin tips,’ or ‘faux hanger.’ Flap steak is not as marbled as skirt steak, but it is flavorful and doesn’t flare up when you grill it. It also improves many folds in taste and texture when marinated.
Flap steak is also a versatile steak. Other than the traditional skirt steak uses like grilling, sliced in fajitas, and pan-searing, you can also add it to noodles, soups, and casserole dishes. Unlike skirt steak, it is also a great choice for braising. It tastes best when cooked medium-rare to medium. It tastes good when cooked well-done or slow-cooked.
4. Hanger Steak
Another steak that comes close to the taste and texture of skirt steak is hanger steak. It is one of the closest cuts to skirt steak and is the meat that hangs from the diaphragm. Thus, the name “hanger steak.”
Hanger steak shares the tenderness of the skirt steak, but its flavor is a bit more intense. It also contains less fat and thus doesn’t need to be trimmed.
Hanger steak is best served when cooked medium-rare or medium. It doesn’t taste so great when cooked rare as it becomes too tender and doesn’t give the taste of skirt steak. Other than that, you can use any recipe to replace skirt steak, including pan-seared, grilled, broiled, stir-fried, sliced in fajitas, etc. You can also slow cook it to get the best of it.
5. Denver Steak
Denver steak is a part of the primal chuck cut and comes from the front shoulder. It is also referred to as under-blade steak. It is one of the most tender cuts and has a great taste as they are nicely marbled. It also has an intensely beefy flavor that is great for replacing skirt steak.
Denver steak is slightly thicker than skirt steak, so you might have to increase the cooking time accordingly. You can cook it between rare to medium. It works for grilling, pan-searing, sous vide, fajitas, and stir-fries.
6. Striploin Steak
Striploin steak comes from the short loin, which is the lower part of the loin. This steak has the intense beefy flavor we’re looking for and is a good skirt steak substitute. It is thicker than skirt steak, so you might have to cut it thin before using it to replace skirt steak.
Striploin steak is tender and cooks easily and perfectly. It is usually served roasted, but you can also grill or broil it if you want. As it is tender, it is a great choice for fajitas, braising, and pan-searing to get the perfect taste.
7. Sirloin Tip Side Steak
The sirloin tip side steak is cut from the side of the sirloin and is much leaner than skirt steak. The reason is that most of the fat is trimmed before the steak is sold. This meat is not as tender as skirt steak and holds well when cooking it. Thus, it is a great option for pan-searing and slow-cooking like braising.
The steak has a strong beefy flavor and a loose texture too. This makes it great for marinating as it absorbs the flavor quickly and nicely. You can use it in almost all recipes that use skirt steak like fajitas, tacos, churrasco, etc., and it is also great for pan-searing and slow cooking. It tastes best when cooked medium-rare to medium.
8. Ribeye Steak
Ribeye steak is meat from the portion from the shoulder to the hip bone. The steaks can be bone-in as well as boneless, but the bone-in is slower and hence difficult to cook. The ribeye steak is richly marbled. It also has a characteristic tenderness and a buttery texture, making it a good skirt steak substitute. It is also easy to find.
Once cooked, it gives the beefy flavor and tenderness that can be used in many skirt steak recipes. It is best served when cooked between medium-rare to medium. It is a great option to replace skirt steak in grilling and pan-searing recipes. You can also slice it and add it to pasta dishes and salads.
9. Beef Tenderloin
The beef tenderloin comes from the short loin and doesn’t have a lot of connective tissue. As a result, the meat is very tender and juicy. If you want a tender meat option to replace your skirt steak in recipes, then beef tenderloin is also an option.
You don’t need to marinate the beef tenderloin as it is already tender (it is literally named ‘tender-loin’). Although, if you want to add flavor to the meat, you can use a spice rub, which will give you an intense flavor and a creamy, buttery texture. Beef tenderloin shines when you add it to soups and casseroles.
Short Recap Of Skirt Steak Substitutes
Now that we have gone through all the substitutes, I think it’s a good idea to do a short recap of the best substitutes for you. Let’s go!
Best Skirt Steak Substitutes In Terms Of Flavor and Texture-
- Flank Steak
- Striploin Steak
Best Skirt Steak Substitutes For Grilling and Pan-Searing-
- Ribeye Steak
- Sirloin Tip Side Steak
Best Skirt Steak Substitutes For Fajitas and Slow Cooking-
- Flat Iron Steak
- Hanger Steak
- Flap Steak
How To Use Skirt Steak Substitutes In Recipes
Skirt Steak Substitutes
- Flank Steak
- Flat Iron Steak
- Flap Steak
- Hanger Steak
- Denver Steak
- Striploin Steak
- Sirloin Tip Side Steak
- Ribeye Steak
- Beef Tenderloin
- Go through the substitutes and see which one seems fit for the recipe.
- Collect your ingredients and use your preferred substitute.
- Use the substitute in the required amount and proceed to make the dish according to the recipe.
So these were some of the best skirt steak substitutes. Using a substitute depends upon the recipe you’re using and how much you can compromise on the flavor. No substitute can recreate the same taste, but it does come pretty close. So, it is much better to add a substitute than quit altogether.
Do you agree with our picks? Let me know in the comments which of the substitutes you thought was best. You can also leave suggestions if you want. With this, I’ll take your leave. See you next time. Until then, happy cooking!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is an inside skirt steak?
The inside skirt steak is part of the abdominal area and is actually located on the outer side of the body.
Which one is better; outside or inside skirt steak?
If we talk about taste and tenderness, the outside skirt steak is actually a better option.
What is the best skirt steak substitute when it comes to the flavor and texture?
Striploin steak and flank steak are actually two of the best options when it comes to replicating the taste of skirt steak.