Thursday, June 26, 2014

Skirt Steak: The Master Recipe {Pass the Cook Book Club}

With the warmer temperatures we have shifted our eating habits at dinner. No longer do we want to turn the oven on for 60 minutes to have a baked pasta casserole. A quick cooking steak is just the thing to feed our hungry while not roasting our bodies. 

Alton Brown is the ultimate foodie.  He knows everything. I swear. No exaggerations. We used to watch Good Eats all the time.  It was almost too much for me with all the scientific lingo. I just want cake. I don't care so much about what ingredients makes what happen when baking. I know I should, but I don't. Mr. J however soaks it all in...and then likes to let me know three years later word for word Mr. Brown's wisdom.

With only two of us we had steak with green beans and corn for night number one.  We came back the second night with steak nachos. 

Please say I am not the only one completely obsessed with nachos. Every day I swear. Never. Gets. Old.

Writing this makes me want to make them all over again. 

I made this recipe as part of Pass the Cook Book.  In case you forgot the premise of the Pass the Cook Book Club each month a cookbook is chosen with three recipes. You pick the recipe that looks best for you and make it for the posting day. 

Skirt Steak: The Master Recipe

by Emily Morris
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Keywords: grill entree
Ingredients (serves 6)
  • 1 skirt steak
  • 1 tbs vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Spray bottle for oil
  • Cast iron skillet
  • Resting rack
  • Aluminum foil or large bowl
Remove the steak from the refrigerator, pat dry and place on rack for at least 15 minutes.

Coat the surface of the meat with a thin film of oil. This will hold the salt to the meat, provide no-stick insurance, and serve as a heat conductor for all those nooks and crannies that don’t actually come in contact with the pan. The trick is to make this layer skimpy. Too much oil and the salt will wash away. Oil also likes to splatter and even burn when faced with high heat, so I say use as little as possible. A drug store spray bottle works well. Keep it set to spray, rather than stream at all times.

Season the steak on both sides liberally with kosher salt and pepper. What the heck does ‘season liberally’ mean? Truth is, most folks under season their food before cooking, which usually drives them to over salt at the table. In the case of skirt steak, I go with at least ¼ teaspoon per side.

Grind pepper onto each side (I go with half as much pepper as salt), and then use your hand to really rub the seasoning into the meat. Rubbing is the only way to make sure you have good salt-to-meat contact.

Once the massage is over, go wash your hands and allow the meat to sit for at least 5 minutes. This allows some juices to come to the meat’s surface – and those juices are what will give the steak a nice crust when seared.

Heat the pan. Place your largest cast iron skillet on the cook top over high heat. Allow 4 minutes for the pan to reach cooking heat.

Turn on your stove’s exhaust system. If you don’t have an exhaust system, open a window. Hold the steak so that the bottom of the edge hangs downright at the closet edge of the skillet and lay the steak down into the pan. This isn’t so much to prevent splat, tearing as to make sure that you get the whole thing in the pan without sliding it around. This is important because moving the meat around in those first few moments can cut down the crust production.

Leave the meat absolutely alone for 4 minutes, then flip it over and cook for another 3 minutes – uninterrupted, please. This will result in a perfectly medium rare steak.

Remove the steak from the skillet and let it rest on a resting rack for a minute, covered loosely with aluminum foil or with a large bowl. Do not skip this step.

Now, skirt steak is not a very tender piece of meat. It’s lean an fibrous and flat out tough unless you slice it correctly – meaning thing. By slicing thin across the grain, you present the prospective chewer with short muscle fibers rather than long ones, which creates a far more tender mouth feel. The problem with thin, however, is that a skirt steak is not very thick to begin with, so if you cut straight through it you end up with something that looks like meat fettuccine, which may taste good, but looks a little…weird. Thus the bias cut – across the grain. Slice the steak on an angle and you get all the short muscle fibers and great looking slices. The leftovers are delicious cold, by the way.
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If you want to become a part of the cookbook club read this post and click for the Facebook group


  1. Alton Brown has never steered me wrong! I know I'd love this skirt steak...and, even more, the nachos from the leftovers!

  2. Alton Brown is a go to when I research recipes too... Those nachos look amazing. :)


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