Flank Steak vs Skirt Steak: What’s the Difference?

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These two types of steak – flank and skirt – are very similar and you might not even be able to tell the difference between them in the store. Are you wondering what the difference is between them and if one is better than the other?

Flank steak vs skirt steak: While the difference is actually quite subtle, there are some uses for one vs the other, so we’ll go over those differences and how to use these steaks to your best advantage.

Skirt steak

Give Me the Low Down

  • The difference between skirt steak and flank steak is where they are cut from the cow. Skirt steaks come from the cow’s diaphragm, whereas the flank comes directly beneath the loin.
  • Flank steak is a thicker, broader, and heavier cut of meat, while a skirt steak is a lighter and longer. When you cut flank steak, it will form flat and wide pieces; whereas skirt steak will form long and thin slices.
  • Flank steak has a more tightly woven grain structure than skirt steak, which has a less dense but more fibrous grain structure. Skirt steak is better marinated (in soy sauce or balsamic vinegar, for example), slow-cooked, and stir-fried than flank steak, which isn’t as readily marinated.
  • Both have strong beef flavors, but skirt steak is more intense because of the coarser fibers.
  • Skirt steak is slightly fattier and has more marbling than a flank steak. Flank steak is more lean and that can lead it to be not quite as flavorful.
  • Skirt steak takes a little less time to cook than flank steaks, which takes a few extra minutes to cook on each side.
  • Flank steak is a more affordable cut, while skirt steak is a bit pricier.
  • Both steaks are delicious when grilled, but they have different textures and flavors.

In this article, we’ll explore the difference between flank and skirt steak, and we’ll give you some tips on how to grill each type of steak to perfection.

What is Flank Steak?

Flank steak

Flank steak is a cut of beef that comes from the lower abdominal region. This cut of meat is leaner than skirt steak, and it has a long, flat shape. When cooked properly, flank steak is juicy and flavorful. However, if it’s not cooked properly, it can be tough and chewy.

Flank steak is a delicious cut of beef that can be grilled or pan-fried. It’s a lean, affordable cut of meat that has a long, flat shape. When cooked properly, flank steak is juicy and flavorful. However, if it’s not cooked properly, it can be tough and chewy.

» Also see our guide on Brisket vs Tri Tip: What are the Differences? and The Perfect Grilled Steak Temps.

What is Skirt Steak?

Skirt steak

Skirt steak is a cut of beef that comes from the diaphragm, which is the muscle that separates the chest and abdomen. This cut of meat is more tender than flank steak, and it has a curved shape. Skirt steak is also juicier and more flavorful than flank steak. However, it can be difficult to cook evenly because of its curved shape.

Tips For Grilling Flank and Skirt Steak

Here are some tips for grilling the perfect flank or skirt steak:

  • If you’re using a gas grill, preheat the grill to medium-high heat before you begin cooking. If you’re using a charcoal grill, make sure the coals are hot and ashed over before you begin cooking. For both types of grills, make sure the grill is clean before you start cooking.
  • Season your steak with salt and pepper before cooking.
  • Grill flank steak for 8-10 minutes per side, and grill skirt steak for 10-12 minutes per side.
  • Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. Flank steak should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145° F, and skirt steak should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160° F.
  • Allow the steak to rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting into it.
Flank steak on a plate

Internal Temperatures for Cooking Steak

To ensure that your food is both safe to eat and delicious, it is important to know the internal temperatures you should cook your meat too. For all types of steak, the recommended temps are:

  • Rare: 115-120° F
  • Medium rare: 125-130° F
  • Medium: 135-140° F
  • Medium well: 145-150° F
  • Well done: 150-155° F
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Flank Steak Recipes

Here are five easy flank steak recipes:

Conclusion: Flank Steak vs Skirt Steak

While both of these cuts of meat are great and can be used interchangeably in most recipes, you now know the subtle differences and will be able to decide knowledgeably between the two.

If you prefer cooking with one or the other, let us know in the comments.

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Flank steak vs skirt steak

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