What is the Best Substitute for Skirt Steak?

by Charlie
Skirt steak dinner

Protein-rich and firm, Skirt Steak is one of the most flavorful cuts of beef you’ll find at the butcher’s shop. It is a crowd-pleaser, and a go-to beef cut among meat lovers.

Whether cooked, grilled, roasted, or seared, skirt steak’s unique flavor is always prominent and enticing. It is scrumptious when served alone but also goes well with an endless number of dishes. But what happens when your favorite butcher runs out of Skirt Steak?

What is the best substitute for skirt steak? The best substitute for skirt steak is flap steak. Flap steak is good substitute option because the meat contains a similar fat content to skirt steak, offering a high degree of flavor and juiciness. Other alternatives for skirt steak are flank steak, ribeye steak and strip loin steak.

An Overview of Skirt Steak

Skirt Steak is usually cut from the diaphragm muscles of a cow. It is typically thin and contains a lot of tough fibers. This steak has a strong beefy flavor and contains tough muscles. It is quite receptive to marination and is best over high heat in a shorter time.

Marinating a skirt steak can boost its flavors and introduce some charming aroma. It usually requires 30 minutes or less to marinate to avoid the flavor overpowering it effectively. They’re also great when served grilled and are also good candidates for stir-frying.

Skirt Steak can be served as a main dish with grilled vegetables or roasted potatoes. It is the cut of choice for making Chinese stir-fry, Cornish pasties, fajitas, Bolognese sauce, and churrasco. 

Skirt steaks are best prepared in a cast iron pan lined with olive oil or butter to provide the right sear. Skirt steaks can toughen up if cooked for too long, so it’s usually better to grill it to medium at most. A good way to soften up a skirt steak is to pound it. This usually helps to reduce its chewy nature when cooked.

Why Replace Skirt Steak?

You might want to replace skirt steaks because:

  • Your favorite butcher’s shop is out of stock: it’s not entirely uncommon for butchers to run out of a particular cut of meat. 
  • You need leaner meat: you might need a meat cut that has a smaller amount of fat than skirt steaks. 
  • You need cheaper alternatives: while skirt steaks are relatively cheap, you might need cheaper alternatives depending on what you want to prepare with them. 

Best Substitutes for Skirt Steaks

Below are some excellent alternatives to skirt steaks: 

Flap Steak

Like skirt steak, flap steak is a thin cut of cow meat and shares several similarities. However, unlike skirt steak, flap steak is cut from a cow’s bottom region. In the United States, there are a few other meat cuts that are often frequently confused with flap steak. Sometimes, hanger stick is often confused with flap steak. Other times, it is also mistakenly labeled as sirloin tips. 

Irrespective of what it is called, real flap steak represents a near-perfect balance of fatty and lean meat. In other words, it contains a moderate amount of fat. This is why flap steak is sometimes grounded by most butchers and sold as beef patties. It is a popular choice for several beef-based dishes.

Although the flavor that flap steak adds to dishes may not be as prominent as that of skirt steak, it is usually quite appreciable. In terms of pricing, flap steak is often cheaper than most popular beef cuts. Irrespective of its not-so-tender texture, it can get tender and juicy when soaked with the right ingredients and cooked properly. 

Like skirt steak, flap steak is better prepared when marinated before being cooked on high heat. Also, flap steaks are tasty and flavorful, whether broiled, pan-fried, grilled, or stir-fried. The same cutting technique used when cutting skirt steaks can also work with flap steak. It is very important to cut flap steak thinly across the grain to avoid lump chewy meat after cooking. Flap steak is a great option for bistro steaks, stir-fries, and Mexican grilled meats. 

Flank Steak

When searching for a skirt steak substitute, flank steak should be one of your list-topers. The beef cut offers one of the closest semblances in taste, flavor, and appearance to skirt steaks. If you need a leaner beef cut, then flank steak is one of the top options to go for.

Flank Steak has less fat than skirt steak and is typically cut around the cow’s lower chest and the abdominal region. Flank steaks tend to be thicker and wider than skirt steaks. If equal-sized slices are compared, flank steaks are usually less tough. However, because of its thick and less fatty nature, flank steak should be sliced thinly and cut along the grain to avoid dealing with a lump of chewy meat when cooked.

Apart from that, if you’re great at preparing Skirt steak, similar cooking procedures should work excellently with flank steak. If you need a skirt steak substitute for grilling, you’ll find flank steaks to be a great candidate for grilling. Just like skirt steaks, it’s best to try marinating flank steaks in flavorful liquid before grilling or cooking. Generally, flank steaks will fit perfectly well in most recipes that call for skirt steaks.

Ribeye Steak

Ribeye is an immensely popular beef cut that has a special spot in the culinary community. Due to the high demand for ribeye steaks, meat shops usually have them stocked up in large quantities. If your favorite butcher is out of stock for skirt steaks, ask for ribeyes, it’s usually rare for them to run out of stock.

Ribeye steak is a very versatile beef cut and fits well with a huge number of dishes. It has a tender nature and is usually cut from the muscle covering the entire rib region of a cow. 

It’s possible to substitute ribeye steaks for skirt steaks in almost all dishes without much of a noticeable difference. They’re great when barbecued, nice in sandwiches and tasty on top of a salad. You can also use ribeye steaks in stir-fries and noodles or saute it with carrots and potatoes. 

Strip Loin Steak

Strip loin steak is yet another close substitute for skirt steaks. It is usually cut from the lower loin region of a cow’s loin. This region of a cow’s body is rarely engaged for work, making the meat from the area very tender. If you require a skirt steak substitute that is more tender, strip lion steak can perfectly fit the profile.

Strip loin steaks are usually sold either bone-in or boneless. However, it’s better to use boneless strip loin steaks for the closest semblance to skirt steaks. Unfortunately, strip lion steaks can be a bit costly because it is considered a high-end beef cut. It usually has good marbling and offers great flavor and juiciness. 

Irrespective of the choice you go for, when buying beef, look closely at the meat fibers. The grain of the meat fibers should hint at whether the beef cut is tender or tough. Beef cuts with coarse grains and many muscle fibers usually hint that the beef is tough meat with lots of flavors. Those cuts should usually be slow-cooked. Conversely, a lack of these grains usually means the meat will likely be tender.

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