1 skirt steak, cut in half
2 Guajillo chilis, sliced
6 cloves garlic
2 sour oranges
I always tell my wife that I was born to be a Mexican, especially in the winter. There’s something glorious about pretending you’re on a beach in the Yucatán while the snow is flying. For me, this is a dish that is both delicious and convenient as well as cost effective.
The skirt is a flavorful piece of that can either be great or terrible. There are three keys to a successful skirt.
- It MUST be cut against the grain. Because the fibers are so defined on this steak, its more critical than ever that you cut it against the grain. Look closely and you’ll see. I suggest cutting it into smaller pieces after its marinated so that its easier to cut correctly.
- Don’t over cook it. I suggest a high medium, or finished temperature of 135-140. Keep in mind that this is a thin steak and will cook very quickly.
- Marinating beaks down connective tissue and will help tenderize the meat. The sour orange and chilis work beautifully in this dish to add depth as well as bright acidity. What’s great is that the marinade also preserves this dish. In fact, I prefer to let it sit for a week or so before cooking. If you’re short for time, overnight will work too.
First, cut the skirt in half so that it will fit in a ziplock bag. Season liberally on both sides and place in the bag. Then toast the chilis. You can either do this in a dry sauté pan over low heat or in the oven. They only need to cook until fragrant, a minute or two. Once they are toasted, slice thinly with a chef knife or place in the food processor. *If you like it spicy, leave the seeds in. If not, take them out before slicing or processing.* Personally, I’m a chili junkie so I prefer to slice them so that I can enjoy little punches of chilis with my meal. Then slice the garlic. Once again, you can add them to the processor with the chilis if you like. Add the chilis and garlic to the bag with the steak, and squeeze the sour oranges over the top. If you cant find sour oranges, use an orange and a few limes. Squeeze the bag to distribute everything evenly, then get as much air out as possible. You want the steak swimming in spicy orange love. That’s it, just leave it there for a few days!
When you’re ready to serve, simply sauté in a hot cast iron pan or on a rippin’ grill. The steak will have a beautiful spicy caramelized exterior while being flavorful and tender. Once again, take care not to over cook, let it rest, then slice it across the grain.
I prefer to eat this dish in classic Yucatán style, on a corn tortilla with pickled radish, onion, and cilantro. I also get down on a little habanero salsa, if you like the heat!