5 Tips for Cooking the Perfect Skirt Steak

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Last Tuesday on Chopped Teen Tournament, four young chefs battled for the final spot in the Chopped Teen finale and a chance to win the $25,000 prize. The Chopped Champion hopefuls put their cooking skills to the test, turning pairings, such as Linzer torte cookies and rabbit in a can, into something worthy of the critical judges’ plates and palates.

In the entree round the three remaining competitors opened their baskets to find bison skirt steak — not so unusual, considering the canned rabbit the contestants worked with in the appetizer round. However, this skirt steak proved to be the undoing for some and the salvation for others when it came time to judge their technique. 

Skirt steak is a tricky cut for some cooks. It requires knowing a little bit about the meat before your start to cook. For one, it’s thin. It needs only to kiss the grill to be cooked through. Second, it has lots of connective tissue. Slicing the steak is as important as the cooking temperature.

Quick cooking methods work best, which is why Shawna’s deep-fried dice roll worked out well, but the intense direct heat from grilling is also an excellent option — Eliana’s chosen method. Unfortunately for her, the competition didn’t leave much time for proper resting.

If you want to cook a skirt steak, even a bison skirt steak, like a Chopped Champion, follow these simple tips:

1: As with any piece of meat, season well.

2: Heat is key: hot pan, hot grill. Everything simply must be preheated.

3: Skirt steak is thin and cooks in just a few minutes, one to five minutes per side depending on thickness.

4: Rest your steak, so the juices have time to redistribute and don’t run out onto your cutting board.

5: Finally, slice your meat against the grain for tender bite.

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Photo by Angela Carlos