This juicy grilled skirt steak is marinated in a flavorful mixture of orange and lime juice, soy sauce, Worcestershire, garlic and spices. Paired with a bright cilantro pesto, this dish is delicious when served with crispy mexican potatoes or thinly sliced to make tacos!
Today’s grilled skirt steak recipe is sponsored by my friends at Char-Griller. All opinions expressed are my own. Thank you so much for supporting the brands that make Isabel Eats possible!
One of my favorite cuts of meat to throw on the grill is skirt steak. It’s an inexpensive cut of meat that has the perfect amount of fattiness and is fairly thin, which means cook time is only about 3-4 minutes per side!
Compared to flank steak, skirt steak is tougher, more fibrous and runs the risk of becoming extremely chewy if overcooked.
To get the most tender and juicy skirt steak possible, I recommend serving it at medium-rare to medium (no more!), and slicing it thinly against the grain.
Skirt Steak Marinade
Skirt steak is a perfect cut of meat to marinate because of it’s loose, fibrous structure and thinness. While the marinade itself won’t necessarily make this cut of meat more tender, it will give it a ton of flavor since there are so many nooks and crannies for the marinade to penetrate.
For this skirt steak marinade, I combined orange juice, lime juice, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, garlic, red pepper flakes and ground cumin.
Add the meat and marinade to a large gallon-size zip-top bag, seal and let marinate in the fridge for 2 to 6 hours.
Once you’re ready to start cooking, remove the steak from the marinade, shake off any excess moisture and transfer the steak to large plate lined with paper towels. (At this point, you can discard the used marinade.)
Pat the steak dry and season it lightly with coarse kosher salt and black pepper on both sides.
Try not to skip this step. Patting your steak dry helps get rid of any excess moisture and helps the browning and searing process.
How to Grill Skirt Steak
Skirt steak is best when grilled over direct medium-high heat (about 400°F-450°F). This ensures that the outside browns quickly without overcooking the inside, which can lead to a chewy and tough steak.
For gas grilling, preheating your grill is fairly straightforward. For charcoal grilling, the process is a bit more involved but the added flavor the smoke imparts is simply the best and so worth the time. Here’s an easy step-by-step guide on how to start a charcoal grill.
I’m lucky enough to have a Char-Griller Texas Trio Gas & Charcoal Grill which has a side for gas grilling AND a side for charcoal grilling. It’s seriously the best of both worlds and I can’t recommend it enough!
Plus it has a side smoker and an extra side gas burner for any sauces or other cooking I need to get done at the same time. This baby is a workhorse!
Once your grill is heated and ready for grilling, grease your grill grates with a paper towel that’s been soaked in oil and cook the steak for about 3-4 minutes per side. That’s it!
Remove the steak from the grill and let it rest for 5 minutes, up to 10 minutes.
Don’t forget the Cilantro Pesto!
While the steak is resting, make the cilantro pesto!
Made from fresh cilantro, cotija cheese, slivered almonds, red onions, garlic, olive oil and lime juice, this pesto is the perfect topping for this grilled skirt steak and pretty much all grilled meats.
It has the perfect amount of acidty, saltiness, creaminess and is hands down one of the most addicting sauces I’ve ever made. It elevates this steak to a whole new level.
The last thing left to do is thinly slice your steak against the grain and serve it with your favorite side! Here are a few ideas to get the juices flowing.
- Authentic Mexican Rice or Arroz Verde (Green Rice)
- In flour tortillas or corn tortillas for tacos
- With sauteed peppers and onions for fajitas
For the skirt steak
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup lime juice (about 2 limes)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 3 cloves)
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 1/2 pounds skirt steak
- coarse kosher salt
- coarse ground black pepper
For the cilantro pesto (makes 1 1/4 cup)
- 3 cups loosely packed cilantro
- 1/3 cup cotija cheese
- 1/4 cup chopped red onion
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons lime juice (about 1 1/2 limes)
For the skirt steak
- Make the marinade: In a medium bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients except for the skirt steak.
- Marinate in the fridge: Place the skirt steak in a large baking dish or gallon size zip lock bag and pour the marinade on top. Turn the steak a few times until it's completely coated with marinade and refrigerate for 2 to 6 hours. Do not marinate for longer than 8 hours because the meat will start to break down.
- Preheat grill to medium-high heat (about 400°F-450°F) for direct-heat grilling.(For gas grilling, simply light all the burners on high, close the lid and let the grill heat up for 5-10 minutes.) (For charcoal grilling, the process is a bit more involved but the flavor is worth it. Here's a super-quick read with step-by-step photos on how to start a charcoal grill.)
- Prepare the steak: Remove steak from marinade and discard any excess marinade. Pat steak dry with paper towels and season lightly with coarse salt and black pepper on both sides.
- Grill the steak: Grill the skirt steak with the lid closed for about 3-4 minutes per side for medium rare, or longer depending on the thickness and your desired doneness.
- Rest and Slice: Transfer the grilled steak to a cutting board and let it rest for 5 minutes. Slice thinly across the grain and serve with cilantro pesto.
For the pesto
- Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender and pulse until mostly smooth.