You’d be slicing the steak wrong. Here’s why.
Do you slice skirt steak with or against the grain?
Always cut skirt steak against the grain. The grains of a skirt steak run crosswise, the short way. When you’re slicing skirt steak off the end, you’re cutting it with the grain. You’re biting into long strands of muscle, meaning it requires more effort to chew. Slicing against the grain, though, shortens the muscles and means you’ll get less chewy and more tender skirt steak.
Just how much more tender does slicing against the grain make skirt steak (and other cuts of meat)? To find out, Cook's Illustrated editor in chief Dan Souza cooked a whole flank steak sous vide to 130 degrees, cut equally thick slices both with and against the grain, and then used a CT3 Texture Analyzer from Brookfield Engineering to test how much force was required to "bite" into the slices.
The results? It matters. A lot. Get the full run-down of the experiment in this video:
The Right Way to Cut Skirt Steak
- For the most tender skirt steak, we recommend cooking the beef to a medium doneness (about 145 degrees Fahrenheit).
- Take the long ribbon of skirt steak and first cut it into manageable 4- to 6-inch pieces. Usually, this means dividing the skirt steak into three or four equal rectangular pieces.
- Slice the individual rectangular pieces the long way. You can slice straight down or at a diagonal.
Here are a few of America’s Test Kitchen’s favorite skirt steak recipes.