It’s always good to get hold of a lesser-known and cheaper cut of meat, and to prepare it in an interesting way; although, this often requires a lot more time in preparation and cooking. However there are times, with the right tricks, when these cuts can be simply cooked on the BBQ. Skirt steak is one such piece that lends itself to a simple preparation. Aptly named, it is located below the ribs towards the legs, between brisket and flank, and has a wonderful flavour. When over or undercooked it can be tough, however with a few little tricks up your sleeve, you will have access to full flavour, lean and tender-firm beef. What are the little tricks? The marinade, a good resting off the heat and finally, the thin carving against the grain.
Photograph by my good friend Dean Cambray
The skirt steak I picked up was roughly 550g in weight. Ask your butcher to remove the tough outer membrane and then proceed as follows.
Half to be used as a marinade, retain the rest as dressing.
2 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp honey
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp rosewater
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 pinches salt
2 pinches black pepper
2 of the thinnest slices of ginger.
Whisk everything together and divide into two bowls. Cover one and refrigerate until cooking time.
1 bunch of asparagus
2 punnets oyster mushrooms
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Marinate the skirt steak in half of the prepared marinade overnight. Really, the best way to do this is in a vacuum-sealed bag, but not everyone has that capability. In it’s place, simple use a large (free from holes) plastic bag and take out as much air as possible. The marinade ingredients are rather potent, so it won’t seem like there’s much in the bag. Don’t worry, there’s enough to tenderise and flavour.
TO COOK THE SKIRT STEAK
As with all marinated meats, remove from the liquid, wipe excess marinade off and allow meat to come to room temperature.
Fire up the BBQ to quite hot, quickly wipe some oil on the grill and the steak, and grill for a few minutes on either side, remembering to turn only once. Gently press the thickest part of the meat and when it feels like the centre is just starting to spring back, remove and place covered in a warm spot for a good 10-15 minutes to relax and reabsorb the juices.
In the last few minutes of resting the meat, cook the asparagus and oyster mushrooms. Simply coat them in extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with pepper and salt before grilling on very high heat: 1 minute for the mushrooms and 2-3 for the asparagus, depending on thickness.
Thinly slice the skirt against the grain. Pour the resting juices from the skirt steak into the remaining marinade mix (not the one used for the meat, but the half that was put aside earlier). Place the meat and vegetables onto a warmed serving plate, arranged as in the photo, and dress everything with the sauce.