When selecting meat for your grilling experiences, you are likely to be faced with different cuts, which can make it hard to decide. So, between the skirt steak and the Flank steak, which cut is the best?
Both cuts are tough and often are used interchangeably. Generally, their difference is based on how tough they are. The flank steak is tender and is more flavorful than the flank steak; hence it is best cooked as medium-rare or rare. Therefore, if you prefer your steak well done and tender, going for flank steak will be the right decision.
However, the toughness is not the only difference when examining Skirt Steak Vs Flank Steak. Read on for more information about these delicious cuts.
What Is Flank Steak?
As the name suggests, the flank steak comes from the flank below the loin. The significance of this part is to help the cow twist and walk. Therefore, since the muscle walks a lot, the cut is lean and tough and has thick muscle fibers. Although the muscle is located in an area surrounded by fat, it is very lean.
Buying The Flank Steak
To purchase the best cut of the flank steak, you need to have a clear understanding of how exactly it looks.
The cut has a deeper red color when compared to other cuts, such as the Ribeye steak. Further, it has long strands of fiber throughout the entire length of the meat.
The color of the meat also needs to be deep red, void of dark spots, holes, and brown discoloration. If you see that the meat is brown, that is an indication that it has been exposed to air for an extended period.
Besides the appearance of the cut, you also need to ensure that there is very little fat, if any. A lot of fat indicates that the butcher did not trim the meat very well.
Other Names of the Flank Steak
Knowing other names that people use when referring to the flank steak is crucial as it will assist you identify the cut when in some grocery stores. The London broil is a common name used to describe the cut.
If you travel outside the country or be in an ethnic market, look for Arrachera in Spanish and Bavette steak in French.
The flank steak is best known for its flavor and texture. Therefore, it is readily available in many countries. Knowing its appearance will make it possible for you to identify it whenever you need it quickly.
Tips To Making Your Flank Delicious
The key to making any cut more delicious is to master the best ways to cook them. While the flank steak is easy to cook, how you cook, will directly influence its flavor.
Since the cut is quite versatile, there are two opposite methods that you can embrace to make the flank steak more delicious. You can either cook by braising or cook it hot and fast. Fast grilling emerges as the best method because it keeps the meat tender. Further, avoid cooking past medium-rare because this will make it chewy. Once you are done with its grilling, let it rest for about ten minutes before you can slice it.
Another essential point to remember before marinating your cut is that marinating for 12 to 24 hours helps add moisture and tenderize it, making it even more delicious.
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Alternatives To Flank Steak
If you visit a grocery store only to find that they have run out of flank steak, you do not have to go back empty-handed because there are several alternatives that you can have. Some of the alternatives include;
The hanger steak is more of a skirt steak than a flank steak and is long with plenty of fats. The cut is also referred to as the butcher steak because it is the only steak per animal and most butchers prefer to reserve it for themselves.
The Flat Iron Steak: The cut’s flavor is close to that of a flank, and you will not likely be disappointed by investing your money in the cut.
The Skirt Steak – the skirt steak can also make an excellent substitute for a flank steak.
What Is Skirt Steak?
Even though the skirt steak is one of the toughest cuts on the market, it is one of the most flavorful cuts of a cow. The multiple connective tissues do not make it less of the best meats for grilling.
So, what is a skirt steak? A skirt steak is a long cut from the plate section of a cow, and it is considered one of the fattier and more flavorful cuts of beef. Most BBQ bosses recommend marinating the cut before grilling it.
There are two types of skirt steak; the outside skirt and the inside skirt cut. The outside skirt is more popular because it is tender with better textures. In addition, it is longer than the inside skirt steak.
On the other hand, the inside skirt is tougher, wider, and yields a more chewy bite. If the only option in the store is the inside skirt, you can make it tender with the help of a mallet and a marinade.
Since sometimes it is hard to distinguish between the inside and outside skirts, it is essential to consult the butcher. A good butcher should not have problems helping you make the decision.
What Is The Difference In Skirt Vs Flank Steak?
Although you can prepare the skirt and the flank steak similarly, the two cuts have specific qualities. Here are some common differences you should deduce when examining the skirt vs flank steak.
- The skirt steak is a flavorful cut with its origin in the diaphragm of a cow, whereas the flank steak is obtained from under the cow’s loin.
- The skirt steak is lighter and longer, while the flank steak is wider, thinker, and heavier. Generally, the skirt steak will give you long and skinny pieces when sliced, while the flank steak will leave you with flat and wide pieces.
- While the flank and skirt steak have strong flavors, the skirt’s beef flavor is more intense because of its deep muscle fibers.
- The texture of flank steak is denser due to its woven grain structure than skirt steak. Further, the skirt reacts well to marinade better than the flank steak, which is hardly penetrated by marinades.
- The skirt steak has more fats and marbling than the flank steak, which is generally considered lean meat.
- When comparing the two cuts based on the cooking time, the skirt steak cooks faster than the flank steak.
What Are The Similarities Between Flank Steak And Skirt Steak?
The flank and skirt steaks are sometimes used interchangeably even though they are different cuts. This point toward the fact that the cuts have several similarities, which includes;
- They are both tough and lean – The flank is situated in its abdomen close to muscular thighs. The skirt steak is derived from the cow’s abdomen, which is also an area that is used often. Therefore, both cuts can become too tough to consume if you overcook them. Fortunately, you can use a marinade and mallet to tenderize the cuts.
- Both make an excellent choice for cooking at high temperatures by either grilling or searing. However, it would help to be careful not to overcook them as that can render the two cuts tougher.
- Since the two cuts boast a similar beefy flavor, you can use them for similar dishes.
- Both cuts require that you cut them against the grain to make the meat tender and easier to chew.
If you have never given a flank or a skirt steak a try before, you should consider trying it out. Both cuts are delicious, but you may have to settle for one depending on your taste and preferences. The flank is tender and more flavorful, explaining why many grilling enthusiasts opt for it despite it being costlier than the skirt steak.
Scot has loved smoking food in his free time for the last few years. Each major holiday or off-weekend, Scot spends days testing and prepping new recipes for perfection.