When all else fails ...

Discussion in 'Beef' started by walterwhite, May 25, 2011.

  1. walterwhite

    walterwhite Smoke Blower

    Make chili! :D

    The siren song of cheap beef captivated me when I saw cryovac skirt steaks for $2.99/lb. I picked the smallest bag - 10 lb.

    My first try was to grill them over hot coals. I did a few and we had them for dinner. Much chewing ensued. I looked back at several recipes and they were insistent on cutting cooked skirt steak across the grain. I see why!

    The next shot was to use a coffee rub and smoke them the way I would a brisket. (The brisket I did that way was great!) The skirt steak was Tough! It came out of the mini-WSM at 180° and I put it in a ceramic dish, foiled it and put in the oven for several more hours. It was still Tough! And now it was Dry!

    So I carefully cut it all across the grain, made a pot of pinto beans and added the beef along with tomato juice, diced canned tomatoes, onions, a bell pepper and various chili spices. It's pretty good now. :)

    That was the first half. I just grilled the second half and it is resting  - no doubt gathering strength. I'll have to do something else with this. maybe I'll just freeze it while I plot my next move.

    Though tough, this can't hold a candle to beef cheeks. Those are the champs when it comes to Tough! And they are over half fat to boot. But with sufficient boiling they make a terrific stock that makes an awesome beef barley soup.

    Feel free to share your strategies for dealing with that occasional piece of tough beef.


  2. justpassingthru

    justpassingthru Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Hey Walt,

    Good price for the beef, sorry to hear you're having problems cookin' them, we love them, I always marinate them for at least 8 hours, sometimes over night too, cook them on the grill to 140°.

    We've never had a "chewy" one, very tender, we use a marinade from Paul Kirk's book and it has become a family favorite, we also have a Mexican marinade that we use to make fajitas.

    Let me know if you would like the recipes and I'll post them here.

  3. roller

    roller Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

  4. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Very flavorful cut.  Needs to be cooked real fast or real slow.  I can't wait to see how good this is!

    Good luck and good smoking.
  5. walterwhite

    walterwhite Smoke Blower

    I guess I got spoiled by the whole tenderloins they had last year for $4.99/lb. I cut fillets out of the middle and they melted in your mouth. The rest made great roasts to smoke to medium rare.

    Thanks for the offer for recipes, Gene. If the marinades will tenderize I'd be interested.



    PS: The chili was really good.
  6. shooter1

    shooter1 Smoking Fanatic

    Skirt steak is one of my favorite cuts but it has to be cooked correctly or as you experienced it can be really tough. Like Gene and Merv said it has to be cooked fast, about 4-5 minutes per side to medium rare. Definitely need to slice across the grain. I like to cut them in thin slices for fajitas. They have great flavor cooked over a charcoal or wood fired grill. If you overcook them you got the right idea by making chili.

    A quick story about skirt steak at my local Publix. One weekend I was really in the mood to make fajitas with all the fixins and I picked up a couple packages of skirt steak and some chicken. In the checkout line the cashier rings up the skirt steak and kind of smirks and makes a comment real low that I couldn't hear. She asks me what I'm going to do with the skirt steak and I tell her I'm making fajitas and that I love skirt steak. She has this incredulous look on her face and says she can't believe people will pay that kind of money for what she called a crappy piece of meat. She said her and her husband owned a meat market and went out of business because people wouldn't pay what they needed to charge to stay in business and they couldn't compete with the chain stores. Duh! I just told her that it wasn't a crap cut of meat, you just need to know how to cook it properly and that once something becomes popular and demand goes up so does the price. I always try to support the local mom and pop shops when I can but price is an issue. She was definitely bitter and having to work at the chain that put her out of business didn't help.
  7. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Never bought skirt steak, but since I now know how to cook it. Maybe I'll give it a try. We love fajitas around here, but use chicken mostly.
  8. justpassingthru

    justpassingthru Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member


    Glad to hear the chili was good, I do like a bowl of chili and cornbread.

    Here is the marinade we use most often on skirt steak, it's from Paul Kirk's  Championship Barbecue Sauces.

    Korean Beef Marinade

    1 cup soy sauce (we use 1/2 dark & 1/2 light)

    1 cup sugar (diabetics=3/4 cup Blue Agave)

    1/2 cup toasted sesame seeds*

    2 Tbls white wine vinegar

    4 garlic cloves, smashed

    1 tbls fresh ginger root, diced fine

    1 tsp black pepper

    1 tsp salt

    1 cup vegetable oil

    * toast the sesame seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat stirring constantly until they are golden and fragrant, about 3-4 minutes, take care that the seeds do not scorch or they will taste bitter.

    Combine the soy sauce, sugar(Blue Agave), sesame seeds, vinegar, garlic, ginger, pepper and salt in a food processor (I use my blender) and process/blend for 2-3 minutes. Add the oil slowly in a steady stream and process/blend until the mixture is emulsified. (Taste it, I think you will be pleasantly surprised)

    Pour marinade in Zip-loc, add steak and refrigerate for 3-5 hours.

    We grill on the Genesis at high heat for 3-4 minutes and turn meat over, then cook until 140°, remove from grill and tent with foil for 15 minutes.

    For the Fajitas:

    1 large onion cut into 1/8" rings

    mixture of 1 Tbls each of salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder in a shaker container

    Limes or lemons cut in half

    1/4-1/2 cup vegetable oil

    We marinate in a 9"x13" baking dish,  rub each side of the meat with the lime, squeezing gently, place in baking dish, separate the onion rings and lay over meat, sprinkle on lightly (medium if you prefer) the spice mixture, repeat with another layer of meat, onions, spices until all of the meat is in the baking dish, pour oil on top, cover dish tightly with plastic wrap.

    Place in fridge to marinate, how much citrus juice you used will determine how long before cooking, I usually leave in the fridge for 3-4 hours, after two hours I place a cookie sheet on top of the baking dish and holding the dish to the cookie sheet turn it over to redistribute the oil and the back up again, then back into the fridge.

    We cook them the same way on the Genesis, tent with foil and while they are resting I saute  the left over onion with some sliced green, yellow and red bells in clarified butter (oil may be used), slice the steak across the grain in thin strips, heat up a flour tortilla on a dry skillet and we have fajitas.


    walterwhite likes this.
  9. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Thanks for sharing these Gene and the best part is I didn't even have to use the French to English translator on them.

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