Cinco de Mayo is this Saturday, and I’m celebrating with this zesty Lime and Cilantro Marinated Skirt Steak. Paired with a simple summer salad, this is an easy weeknight meal.
One of the things I love most about buying a side of beef is that it challenges me to cook with beef cuts I otherwise might never have purchased. Skirt steak is one of those cuts. Before last year, I had never cooked this long, thin cut of beef, but when my side included two packages of it, I decided it was high time I learn!
After doing a bit of research, I opted to marinate the steak and use it for tacos. The only problem? The steak turned out to be so incredibly flavorful and juicy, we nixed the tacos and ate the steak all by itself.
Guys. You know something crazy is happening if I turn down a taco, ESPECIALLY when it’s a steak taco (remember these Grilled Flank Steak Tacos? OMG). But when steak is this good, all of those toppings are just a distraction.
Skirt steak is rapidly moving up on my list of favorite beef cuts. It’s flavorful, easy to cook, and can be made in under 10 minutes. Hard to beat that on a busy weeknight! Here are a couple of quick tips for preparing an awesome skirt steak worthy of being the main event!
- Marinate that sucker. Flank and skirt steaks both benefit from marinades. For this one I chose a citrusy lime, cilantro, and garlic marinade. The skirt steak just soaks it right up! For acidic marinades like this one, you’ll need to limit your soaking time to 30 minutes to an hour as it can make the meat go soft if left longer. Always marinate meat in the fridge, not at room temp!
- High heat, short cooking time. This is a great cut to prepare in a cast iron skillet or on the grill. You’ll want the heat turned up pretty high, so the steak quickly gets a nice sear. Because the steak is so thin, you’ll only need to cook it for a few minutes on each side. I prefer to leave this cut at a medium rare to medium for optimum flavor and tenderness. You can check out Ohio Beef’s Grilling Guide for temperature and time guidelines for all of your favorite cuts of beef. Because every grill is different, I always recommend using a meat thermometer (<affiliate) to make sure you don’t overcook it–aim for 140 degrees for medium rare and 155 for medium.
- As with all steaks, you’ll want to let it rest, tented with foil, for a few minutes after removing it from heat. The temperature will rise about another 5 degrees during this time.
- After resting, slice the steak thin against the grain. This allows your knife to do the hard work of slicing through the tough fibers, and let’s your teeth enjoy a tender, gorgeous bite of steak.
You could certainly use the steak for tacos or fajitas, but I love to serve it exactly as you see here–with a simple summery salad on the side. For this one, I kept with the Mexican-inspired marinade and tossed arugula, sweet corn, onion, and cherry tomatoes in a honey lime vinaigrette. It’s such a quick thing to throw together with whatever spring or summer produce you have around. Feel free to swap out the greens, but definitely use fresh off the cob sweet corn–it really makes a difference! And if you crave some homemade crouton crunch, this Melba Toast recipe is a good place to start.
I plan to keep this meal on the rotation all summer long. It’s so light and refreshing. Paired with a glass of Watermelon Lemonade Margaritas, this is the perfect way to kick your feet up and celebrate the start of summer!
You can find more tips for picking and cooking beef cuts at Ohio Beef’s website! Ohio is home to over 17,000 beef farming families, but the Ohio Beef community extends far beyond the farmers! Community leaders, animal caretakers, environmentalists, and nutritionists are all committed to bringing safe, nutritious beef to your table throughout the year. When you pick up your next steak for dinner, you can know the people behind it are passionate about the land, animals, and processes that make it possible!
For the salad:
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1-2 Tablespoons honey, to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt, to taste
- Cherry tomatoes, halved
- Thinly sliced red onion
- Cooked corn kernels, freshly cut off the cob
- Several handfuls arugula
For the steak:
- 1.5-2 lbs. skirt steak
- 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
- 1/4 cup lime juice (about 2 limes)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- Pinch cayenne
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 cup olive oil
Remove the skirt steak from the packaging. There will likely be a thick layer of marbled fat one side. Use a sharp, thin knife to cut away most of the fat. It's fine if a few small patches remain.
Whisk together the lime juice, garlic, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Whisk in the olive oil. Place the skirt steak in a plastic bag or a shallow baking dish. Add the marinade, making sure the steak is coated on both sides. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour.
Meanwhile, prepare the salad. To make the vinaigrette, whisk together the lime, olive oil, honey, cumin, and garlic powder until combined. Place some of the vinaigrette at the bottom of a large bowl. Top with the arugula, corn, tomatoes, and onion. Toss until well coated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
To prepare the steak, heat a grill or a cast iron skillet over medium high heat. If you're using a skillet, you may have to cut the skirt steak in half and cook in two batches so it will fit. Heat a swirl of olive oil in the skillet or coat the grill grates with oil. Take the steak out of the marinade and place it directly on the grill or skillet. Sear for 4-5 minutes then flip and continue to cook another 4-5 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 135 for medium rare or 160 for medium. Place the steak on a cutting board, tent with foil, and rest for at least 5 minutes. When ready to serve, slice steak in thin slices against the grain. Serve with arugula salad.