An Inside Skirt Steak is a “Flat Steak” made from the Transversus abdominis muscle of the interior of The Flank Primal Cut. The Transersus abdominis is a “core” muscle located on the interior of the rib cage which helps stabilize the animal by compressing/moving the rib cage and in internal “pushing” as in giving birth.
The Outside Skirt Steak is made from the diaphragm muscle of The Plate Primal Cut that allows the animal to breathe. Outside Skirt Steak is longer and thinner than Inside Skirt Steak, which is the wider and thicker of the two.
There are two Inside Skirt Steaks per beef, one on each “Side” of the animal. Inside Skirt Steak weighs around weighs 16 to 17 ounces (453.6 g to 482 g) on average, but can run close to 2 pounds. Our Inside Skirt Steak in the photo weighed about 1 3/4 pounds when cut from the Steer and trimmed.
Skirt Steak, especially the Outside Skirt Steak, is so long and thin looking, that it is called “Faja” or “belt” in Spanish. Fajitas are a traditional Mexican method of cooking the faja, or Skirt Steak. Fajitas is one of the primary uses of both Inside Skirt Steak and Outside Skirt Steak, which can also be sold as “Fajita Meat.”
Inside Skirt Steak can also be found manually Tenderized, rolled up, held with skewers and merchandised as London Broil or sold as 2 roughly 8 ounce (226.8 g) Steaks which may be labeled “Bistro Steaks.”
The Inside Skirt Steak, as you can see in the photo, contains a lot of Marbling and Connective Tissue and is consequently a flavorful but tougher cut. Inside Skirt Steak has minimal membrane to remove but a very pronounced Meat Grain of long muscle fibers. Inside Skirt Steak is a bit thinner, more stringy and more uneven than Outside Skirt Steak and generally costs less.
Cooking Inside Skirt Steak is an exercise in Tenderizing, managing the connective tissue and long muscle fibers so that the flavorful cut of beef is not a “Tough Chew.” One method is “high & quick” which relies on physical tenderizing and then on Marinades & Rubs for further tenderizing before cooking quickly (Grilling or Pan Frying) over High Heat to Rare or Medium Rare and cutting the meat across the grain to portion cut it for service (to shorten/sever the tough, long muscle fibers).
When buying Inside Skirt Steak, be cognizant of the meat quality. Higher grades of meat will yield better results. Also, ascertain if the Inside Skirt Steak has had its minor outer membrane peeled. If it has not, you should do so before working with the cut as an ingredient.