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Unread 12-11-2013, 04:42 PM   #1
TXjeepTJ
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Skirt Steak (Fajitas) Extremely Chewy, EVERYTIME

I'm wanting to make some delicious, juicy, bloody fajitas.

So far I have tried to cook skirt steak on 6 different occasions, ending with the same result - so chewy your jaw hurt after eating one tortilla filled.

I've read about the prepping - the main part being to remove the "membrane" which is hard as heck to get off. I think this is my problem, even after peeling off this membrane, I can still see a membrane underneath it that I cannot remove.

I have tried:

beating the heck out of the meat to tenderize it
marinating
cooking it medium rare
cooking it medium
cooking it full cooked

I've gotten my meat from Kroger and Walmart.


Should I switch to a different meat? Last week I went to this weird store I don't want to go back to, but the guy gave me their "fajita" meat - which it wasn't skirt steak, he said it was cut from a different part (I couldn't hear what the type of meat it was). When I cooked this meat, it was amazing- the steak literally melted in your mouth.

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Unread 12-11-2013, 05:00 PM   #2
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I suggest that you must slice it directly across the grain. Like flank steak, it must be cut across not with the grain.

I had skirt steak last night. No marinating, pounding or whatnot. Skillet cooked on the highest heat possible, and it was crusty on the outside and juicy and tender inside, But, I carefully cut it just like a flank steak.
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Unread 12-11-2013, 05:11 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wilson1010 View Post
I suggest that you must slice it directly across the grain. Like flank steak, it must be cut across not with the grain.

I had skirt steak last night. No marinating, pounding or whatnot. Skillet cooked on the highest heat possible, and it was crusty on the outside and juicy and tender inside, But, I carefully cut it just like a flank steak.
Oh, I have been cutting across the grain on all instances I have tried (forgot to state that in the OP). Do you get the style of skirt steak that comes with the membrane on it? I've read that there is an inner and outer skirt steak. The Inner comes with the chewy membrane removed, where as the outer skirt steak comes with it still attached.

Whenever I cook mine, the outside is never crusty. I read that cooking it should eliminate the remaining "membrane", but it never does for me. I cook on the highest heat setting also. I'm using a stick-free pan though, not a skillet
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Unread 12-11-2013, 07:16 PM   #4
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I get the outer. Its thinner too. I am buying it at a pretty high end butcher shop, so I am not sure what the big box stores have. It has fat on it, but no "membrane." Maybe a little on the back side. But, nothing like a silver skin from a filet.

Get your skillet smoking hot, salt and pepper the steak. Sear for a few minutes on each side. If you need it to get a crust, put a little butter in the pan and wait until it turns brown and stops bubbling then add the steak.

Stick free is ok, just get the pan as hot as you can before you put in the steak.

As for removal of the membrane, although I am not seeing it on mine, its all about how sharp your knives are. I use a Victorinox 8" chef's knife ($29) sharpened to razor sharp and it will remove anything.
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Unread 12-13-2013, 07:03 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wilson1010 View Post
I get the outer. Its thinner too. I am buying it at a pretty high end butcher shop, so I am not sure what the big box stores have. It has fat on it, but no "membrane." Maybe a little on the back side. But, nothing like a silver skin from a filet.

Get your skillet smoking hot, salt and pepper the steak. Sear for a few minutes on each side. If you need it to get a crust, put a little butter in the pan and wait until it turns brown and stops bubbling then add the steak.

Stick free is ok, just get the pan as hot as you can before you put in the steak.

As for removal of the membrane, although I am not seeing it on mine, its all about how sharp your knives are. I use a Victorinox 8" chef's knife ($29) sharpened to razor sharp and it will remove anything.
I plan on buying the outer next time and trying everything you listed. Where do you buy your outer from? A Wal-Mart style place? Or do you go to a legit butcher?


Thanks!
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Unread 12-13-2013, 08:42 PM   #6
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Throw the steak in the crock pot.
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Unread 12-13-2013, 09:03 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by TSEJEEPERS View Post
Throw the steak in the crock pot.
LOL That's not manly enough!!!!
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Unread 12-14-2013, 12:54 AM   #8
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I watch my friend who owns 6 very successful Mexican restaurants do it all the time.
Here's what I see them do:

1. They buy ONLY certified angus beef....and pay out the azz for it... ( as far as skirt steak prices go). These steaks come from the vendor in sealed plastic, like a vacuum bag. They are never frozen. They get them fresh, 3 times a week.

2. There are two kinds of skirt meat available. Inside and outside.
I think it's the outside that's used in Fajitas in the better restaurants. Much more tender. The inside variety is used for fajita nachos, etc. Much tougher meat.

3. They do a lot of trimming on the hunks of beef. Lots ! And yes they remove the membranes and separate the skirt in smaller pieces about the size of a man's two hands, side by side.
4. Then they season/marinate them, rolling them up in clear plastic rolls about 5 inches in diameter....having stacked several steaks together. They sit in the cooler at least overnight, and up to 2 days.
5. The cook over an open fire, sprinkling them lightly with some season salt, removing them from the fire and letting them rest for 2- 3 min. They dont cut them into strips until just before they put them on the heated plate of onions and bell peppers.

They must be good, because a single location sells over 600 lbs a week.
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Unread 12-14-2013, 12:59 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldfrog View Post
I watch my friend who owns 6 very successful Mexican restaurants do it all the time.
Here's what I see them do:

1. They buy ONLY certified angus beef....and pay out the azz for it... ( as far as skirt steak prices go). These steaks come from the vendor in sealed plastic, like a vacuum bag. They are never frozen. They get them fresh, 3 times a week.

2. There are two kinds of skirt meat available. Inside and outside.
I think it's the outside that's used in Fajitas in the better restaurants. Much more tender. The inside variety is used for fajita nachos, etc. Much tougher meat.

3. They do a lot of trimming on the hunks of beef. Lots ! And yes they remove the membranes and separate the skirt in smaller pieces about the size of a man's two hands, side by side.
4. Then they season/marinate them, rolling them up in clear plastic rolls about 5 inches in diameter....having stacked several steaks together. They sit in the cooler at least overnight, and up to 2 days.
5. The cook over an open fire, sprinkling them lightly with some season salt, removing them from the fire and letting them rest for 2- 3 min. They dont cut them into strips until just before they put them on the heated plate of onions and bell peppers.

They must be good, because a single location sells over 600 lbs a week.
Great post! Thanks! I'm wondering what they use to marinate them. My next task is obviously to find a place that sells the outer skirt steak.
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Unread 12-14-2013, 05:39 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TXjeepTJ View Post
I plan on buying the outer next time and trying everything you listed. Where do you buy your outer from? A Wal-Mart style place? Or do you go to a legit butcher?


Thanks!
Legit butcher. Cincinnati was once called Porkopolis because of the fact that it was the center of pork farms and butchering of pork. Although we are talking about beef, there are still more family owned butcher shops here than anywhere. And, Avril Bheh is one of the best anywhere:

http://avril-blehmeats.com/custom_meat_processing.html

Too bad there is not one of these shops in every neighborhood.
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Unread 12-14-2013, 02:02 PM   #11
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I'll ask the cook what he uses on them, next week. I seem to remember seeing him squeeze something all over them, like maybe lime juice...and shake a little seasoning over them. That's all....but honestly, I cant remember exactly. We are usually talking football at the time.
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Unread 12-17-2013, 02:37 PM   #12
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To make a proper "Fajita" you need two things.your proteins and a very hot pan to sear your meat and lock in that liquid gold.to do so you must first get your pan HOT.then add the oil.never add oil to a cold pan.second once you add your oil let your oil come up to temp and once that happens add your proteins.if you don't hear that searing sound right away then it'll boil.Alton brown once said,"the difference between and sear and simmer is the heat".u don't want to simmer the beef that is why you are getting chewy beef.your stewing your beef in its juices.so be sure to have high heat.the cut of the meat doesn't matter.i sear whole top sirloin steaks I'm a frying pad. I'm big into cooking as a hobby and profession.and fajita style dishes and strir fry are my specialties and have learned so much from great chefs.
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Unread 12-18-2013, 02:32 AM   #13
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He's right, if you pan fry the meat.....the pan has to be HOT. Not medium hot, but OMG-freaking hot ! In fact, for pan seared steaks, (which I rarely do) I first place a cast iron pan in a 500 degree oven to get it hot, take it out....and then I'll add the little bit of olive oil and then meat while on the stove top to get a good sear. But I'd rather grill it.

Most restaurants I know of dont pan fry the skirt for fajitas. They grill it over an open gas grill in the kitchen. But the first thing they do is to lay a cast iron serving platter upside down over a hot burner until it gets cherry red hot. Then they grill the beef, ( the onions and peppers are always 1/2 grilled, sitting in a pan on the flat top), then add the onions to the cherry hot plate. Next comes the beef, after slicing it in strips, then they squeeze a little oil/butter mixture over it all for the sizzle. Once those 1/2 cooked onions hit that super hot serving platter, they caramelize, and of course...the smell is heavenly. Damn, I'm getting hungry at 3 am just thinking about it.

Oh, I did check... and the skirt is the "outside" skirt for sure.
Havent checked on the marinade. Will try to remember to ask this week.
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Unread 12-26-2013, 06:08 AM   #14
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I actually did a skirt on the grill for xmas appetizer yesterday. Melt in your mouth goodness. Tried a new way and it came out great...and yes get the outer skirts, only way to go and the couple bucks extra is completely worth it.

I make my own rub, so I rubbed it down. That's usually all I do before throwing it on the grill, letting it sit for a few hours after rubbing. This time I threw it in a ziploc and pured some agave nectar on it to soak for a couple hours since I was pairing it with some abruzese and horsradish cheeses. Gave it a little sweetness to cut the cheese bite. Apparently it was pretty good since none was left!
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Unread 12-27-2013, 01:01 PM   #15
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I've always used top sirloin or what ever steak was
left over from the grill. The steaks are always cooked
med-rare, so all I do is slice them up in to strips, heat
the pan on med high, then add all the veggies until
they brown up with out going limp. At the end add the
steak just to heat it through. I think the key is to grill
the steak, **** the pan fried ****.
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