This Memorial Day, stay in, grill out and learn to love skirt steak
Step aside, strip and sirloin. If you're not grilling skirt steak this Memorial Day, you should be: It's a great cut for marinating, it cooks in minutes and it's especially beefy, tender, and juicy a-- as long as you buy the right kind and use some tricks to realize its full potential.
Grilling skirt steak starts at the supermarket. There are two types of skirt steak -- the inside skirt and the outside skirt -- that come from separate parts of the cow and therefore have markedly different textures. Outside skirt is the more tender of the two and the more desirable cut for grilling.
In the Test Kitchen, we don't typically marinate steak since we have found that marinades don't penetrate more than a few millimeters beyond its surface. But because skirt steak is so thin, with loose, open fibers and lots of nooks and crannies, a marinade can have a big effect. We knew a garlicky, citrusy, Cuban-style mojo would really stand up to the rich, buttery beef. And we wanted a double dose of it, so we decided to use it as a marinade and in a sauce to drizzle over the cooked meat.
For good browning and extra beefy flavor, we included two secret ingredients in the recipe: soy sauce and baking soda. Soy sauce is packed with savory glutamates, so we included some in the marinade to give the meat a beefy boost. And added to the oil we rubbed onto the steaks before placing them on the grill, baking soda helped create more substantial browning.
Once the steaks were off the grill and had rested to redistribute their juices, we carefully sliced them against the grain and at an angle before drizzling on the mojo sauce. The beautifully seared meat was rich, well-seasoned, juicy and tender, and the vibrant sauce played off it beautifully.
Grilled Mojo-Marinated Skirt Steak
Serves 4 to 6
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon grated lime zest plus 1/4 cup juice (2 limes)