December in the kitchen – Skirt steak with chimichurri sauce

Ok, I give up; the red wine pickle brine has won! Inspired by Mr. Fitz’s hanger steak and the beet pickle brine that was tossed down the sink, I purchased skirt steak at the butchers.

Then I got curious about the difference between skirt steak and hanger steak, were they the same? I thought so, but I was wrong. A little searching turned up the answer. There are four cuts which are very similar in looks but come from different places on the cow; the skirt, flatiron, hanger, and flank steaks. Isn’t the Internet amazing? You can find out anything with just a few clicks. Following is a quick map of where you will those various steaks:


Skirt steak, it turns out, is actually the cow’s diaphragm muscle, it’s chewy but tender if cooked quickly and left quite rare. It has quite a lot of marbling and is very flavorful. It’s a long and narrow piece of meat, as much as a few feet in length. It takes well to marinades or dry rubs. It’s one of my favorite cuts and has been discovered in recent years. At my butchers it was more expensive per pound than a T-bone steak!

Flank steak comes from the belly area near a cow’s back legs. It’s much leaner than the skirt steak and takes well to marinades and grilling. Flank should be sliced against the grain for serving.

Hanger steak comes from deep inside the loin, encircled by the rib cake. It’s relatively tender compared to skirt and flank steaks (and more expensive since there is only one per cow). The French call this cut an onglet; it’s frequently seen on menus in bistros accompanied by pomme frites.

A flatiron steak comes from the front shoulder of the cow; it’s sometimes called a top blade or petite tender.

I’d recommend cooking all of them to rare to medium rare.

This post should probably be titled “Skirt steak marinated in red wine pickle brine with chimichurri sauce”, but that’s a bit of a mouthful! Chimichurri sauce is a green herb sauce originally from Argentina; there it’s commonly paired with steak.

Red wine marinade

Red wine pickling brine and marinade

Red wine and vinegar marinade

  • 2 cups of red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup of red wine
  • ½ cup of water
  • ¼ cup of honey
  • 1/3 cup of packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons of black peppercorns
  • 16 sprigs of fresh thyme (8 for heating with marinade)
  • 8 sprigs of fresh rosemary (4 for heating with marinade)
  1. Combine the red wine vinegar, red wine, water, honey, brown sugar, salt, peppercorns, 8 sprigs of fresh thyme, and 4 sprigs of rosemary in a saucepan and slowly bring to a simmer. Turn off the heat and allow the herbs to infuse the marinade as it cools.
  2. Once cool remove the thyme and rosemary.
  3. Pour the marinade over the steaks, adding the other fresh herbs.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, overnight would be ok.
  5. Pat dry before grilling (we used the BBQ) or cooking on a stove top grill. Since a single steak will vary in thickness you will have a range of “rareness”. We cooked on fairly high heat for 3 minutes a side.
skirt steak

Skirt steak

Marinating skirt steak

Marinating skirt steak

Chimichurri sauce

chimichurri sauce

Chimichurri sauce

  • 1 cup of fresh parsley leaves, stalks removed
  • ¼ cup of fresh oregano
  • ¼ cup of fresh mint
  • 3-5 cloves of garlic
  • 3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons of shallots
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
  • ½ teaspoon of chili flakes (less if you do not want spicy)
  • ¾ cup of olive oil
  1. Combine all the ingredients except the olive oil in a food processor. Process until finely chopped by turning off and on, scrape down the sides as needed.
  2. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil until an emulsion is formed. Scrape down the sides as needed.
  3. Pour into a container and refrigerate. This will keep for 3 days in the fridge.
Skirt steak with chimichurri sauce

Skirt steak with chimichurri sauce

Skirt steak with chimichurri sauce

Skirt steak with chimichurri sauce

I served this with an adaptation of the spiced cauliflower “couscous” recipe from Giramuk’s Kitchen. It was a big hit!


8 thoughts on “December in the kitchen – Skirt steak with chimichurri sauce

  1. Oh wow! The Steak and Chimichurri sauce looks amazing Liz! I learnt heaps about steak cuts too (I only started cooking and eating beef this year so it’s so much fun learning new things!) I’m so glad you tried Cauliflower couscous! It’s so versatile for any spice you want to add too. Wish I was invited over for some Steak and Chimichurri sauce though! 🙂

    • Let me know when you are in N CA, I would love to have you for dinner! Consider this an open invitation. I was inspired to try the “riced” cauliflower by your post, I’ve seen it before but it wasn’t nearly as interesting. Your recipe was delicious, my friends loved it. I’ll be trying other variations, maybe risotto? Have you done that?

      • Thank you Liz!! I will definitely let you know 😀
        You just made my brain light up!! I might have to attempt making Cauliflower couscous, though the mushiness might be a challenge…

      • Actually, surprisingly, the couscous was not mushy at all. I had the rest of it for lunch the next day and it was still a bit al dente, even heated in the microwave. You do need to watch how long you cook it, I used fairly high heat. And, there isn’t any added liquid in the recipe. I have an old favorite recipe of red lentils with couscous. I’m going to try substituting cauliflower for the couscous in that one. If it works, I’ll post it.

  2. Pingback: February in the Kitchen – Teriyaki Sauce | spades, spatulas & spoons

Leave a Reply