In Around the Fire, Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton explore the many ways of cooking with fire that come into play in their Portland restaurant Ox.
This is one of those recipes that will make you look like an incredible cook for very little effort. Because of skirt steak’s relatively loose grain, it soaks up marinade incredibly well and is one of the few meats we ever marinate before grilling.
There are a few tricks, though, to making skirt steak the best it can be. First, you want to transfer the meat straight from the refrigerator to the grill. This will prevent the inside from overcooking by the time the outside is well seared. Second, honor the variations in a skirt steak’s thickness. From end to end, there will be thicker parts requiring more prolonged heat, and you should adjust the placement and time on the grill accordingly. Third, ideally you should serve skirt steak somewhere between medium-rare and medium. At rare, the muscle fibers haven’t had their full chance to break down, and the meat can be slightly chewy. And finally, always slice skirt steak against the grain; the lines of muscle fiber are particularly easy to find on this cut (they run across the width of the steak).
- To make the onion marinade, combine the onion, garlic, 1⁄4 cup of the oil, and water in a blender; blend until smooth. Put the skirt steak in a large resealable plastic bag or baking dish and pour in the onion mixture, coating both sides. Cover or wrap the meat well so the onion scent does not permeate your refrigerator; chill for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.
- Prepare a grill to medium-high heat.
- Remove the steak from the marinade and season both sides with the kosher salt and pepper. Transfer the meat to the grill and let cook until one side is well seared, 3 minutes. Flip and cook for 2 minutes more, for rare to medium-rare. At this point, remove the steak from the grill and let rest for 2 minutes to allow the carryover heat to give it a more even doneness. Finally, return the steak to the grill and cook for 1 minute more per side (this guarantees this thin cut of steak will be served hot). (Add another minute of cooking on the second side for medium doneness.) Remove the skirt steak from the grill and let rest 1 to 2 minutes before slicing and serving.
- Cut each steak with the grain into three sections. Turn each piece to slice against the grain at a 45-degree angle. Slice into 1⁄4-inch pieces on a slight bias against the grain. You should get about 5 slices per cut piece, about 15 slices total. Transfer the meat to a warmed plate. Garnish with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and smoked sea salt and serve with the chimichurri.
- In a medium bowl or jar, combine the onion, parsley, oregano, garlic, salt, black pepper, and red pepper. Add the oil and vinegar and mix well. Store covered for a couple of days and use before the herbs start to turn brown.
Reprinted with permission from Around the Fire. Copyright © 2016 by Greg Denton. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.