Today is Halloween, so I wanted to prepare something that would be easy to throw on the grill later, when all the ghosts and goblins have waddled home. A big batch of chile is typical Halloween fare, but this year I decided to go with skirt steak because it’s mummy yummy, and it only takes a few minutes to ghoul, I mean grill. In between doorbell runs, I whipped together a simple dry(ish) rub, spooned it over the steak and set it aside until later this evening when I’m ready to throw it on the grill.
I say dry(ish) rub because I like to add a couple tablespoons of olive oil and some garlic to mine, so it’s somewhere between a dry rub and a marinade. With cumin, chile powder, cinnamon, cocoa powder and more, this recipe is kind of a monster mash-up of Moroccan and Mexican flavors, but it really works.
Scary Easy Skirt Steak
This flavorful skirt steak rub is so easy and delicious, it's scary!
- 1.5 lb outside skirt steak*, trimmed of any excess fat
- 1/2 Tbl ground coriander
- 1/2 Tbl ground cumin
- 1 tsp chile powder
- 1/2 Tbl light brown sugar
- 1/2 Tbl cocoa or mocha powder
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
- 1 garlic clove, finely minced or pressed
- 2-3 Tbl olive oil
Mix all of the rub ingredients together in a small bowl, adding a tad more olive oil if necessary to get a spreadable mixture. Spread rub over both sides of the skirt steak and let sit for an hour or refrigerate for several hours. Scrape off any excess rub and grill on the top rack to prevent the remaining rub from burning. For medium rare (recommended), it only takes about 5 minutes a side, although times will differ depending on the thickness of your cut . (If your skirt steak has a thick end and a thin end, you can cut it into two pieces and remove the thinner one first, allowing the thicker piece to cook a little longer.) Let steak sit for five minutes before slicing on the bias. Serve with grilled bread and chimichurri sauce. Check out my chimichurri recipe at Got Herbs?
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*It’s important to note that there are two types of skirt steak, not to mention other similar cuts like flank steak and hanger steak which are often confused with skirt steak. But for the purpose of this recipe, let’s stick to the two skirt steaks: the outer cut and the inner cut. Both come from generally the same region of the diaphragm, but as the names imply, one comes from the outer area and the other from a slightly more interior area. Both can be used interchangeably, but I much prefer the outer cut because I find it to be more tender than the inner.
Also popular now is the Arrachera steak which is a skirt steak often used in Mexican cooking, such as fajitas. To tenderize Arrachera steak, however, I suggest marinating it for several hours in a mixture containing an acidic substance like citrus juice to break down the tough membranes and produce a tender and flavorful steak.