How to prepare grilled skirt steak in the style of Argentinian parilla. Known as entraña this exceptionally tender and satisfying outside skirt steak comes with zesty chimichurri sauce.
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- Read on for relevant information and step-by-step pictures (2 mins)
About This Entraña Steak Recipe
Outside skirt steak is a unique beef cut you may have enjoyed at Argentinian steakhouses or restaurants. You would remember it because of its show stopping appearance – thin and very long, often times well over two feet. It is known for its filet like tenderness, rich ribeye like marbling and decadent beefy flavor.
It is one of our top three favorite beef cuts and we always prepare it in the style of Argentinian parrilla with a side of chimichurri. Once you’ve tasted it you will want to have it again and again.
What is Outside Skirt Steak?
- The outside skirt steak is a cut from the peripheral parts of the diaphragm muscle of the animal. The diaphragm is attached to the ribs (from the sixth to the twelfth) and is contained in the plate primal. There are two outside skirts per animal, one on each side.
- It’s thickness varies from about an inch to under half an inch. It is long with a coarse, pleats like surface – the grain runs directly across its width.
- The width of outside skirt steak varies from 2.5 inches to about 4 inches. Depending on the skill of the butcher, the size and age of the animal it can weigh over a pound and be well over 2 feet long.
- Its color is an intense red, and it is covered by a layer of fat on one side and a membrane on the other side. In the US the memberane is typically removed and the fat trimmed, but you can find it in its original state.
Buying Outside Skirt Steak (Entraña Externa de Res)
1. Where to Buy Entraña Steak?
The outside skirt cut is popular on steakhouse menus but tricky to purchase at your local grocery store meat department. Most of it is sold to commercial food service outlets because is it not widely known or understood. However, you can find it at Argentinian or Brazilian meat markets, butcher shops specializing in beef cuts and a growing number of online meat purveyors.
2. Things to Consider When Buying
- Make sure that you are getting the outside skirt steak, not the inside skirt (there is a difference). They look similar so if in doubt – ask. The latter, which is much chewier, is not what you want for this recipe.
- The better the breed of the animal the better quality and more flavorful the meat will be. Naturally, this is also reflected in the price per pound. The steaks you see in the pictures here are from Hereford cattle. The same cut if from Black Angus runs almost 25 percent more expensive, and much more expensive it Waguy beef (over 100 percent more, depending on purveyor).
Argentinian Grilled Skirt Steak – Entraña a la Parrilla
If the choripán is the star of Argentinian street food, then the entraña steak is the star of the parrilla.
The Spanish name entraña externa de res or entraña for short translates to ‘entrails literally or interior muscle accurately’ which references the location – inside and under the ribs.
In Argentina the cut is typically sold with its thick membrane on one side and a generous fat layer covering the other side. Both are highly praised. When grilled on the parrilla the membrane becomes extra crispy while the fat, as it melts further flavors the meat and keeps it moist.
This is How Entraña Steak Became Popular
Outside skirt steak first became popular as an affordable cut of meat among the dock workers at the port in Buenos Aires, circa early twentieth century. (Isn’t that the story of so many great dishes, for example cioppino?).
Before that entraña was typically pooled with other beef offal – its name being sufficient reason.
Top Tips for Cooking Entraña Steak
- The best way to cook outside skirt is to sear it briefly and evenly on each side over a very hot grill. This simple treatment yields amazing results – a crispy, flavor loaded outside and a tender and juicy inside.
- Because it is such a long cut, you can separate it into smaller portions before cooking it. We typically section it where the thickness changes from thin to thinner. Each piece gets to cook for the appropriate amount of time and you do not end up with overdone meat.
- Entraña is so intensely flavorful on its own that a bit of coarse sea salt and a some freshly cracked black pepper are more than enough. If you insist on a marinade, then go for a very light one (the coarse surface and thinness will take it on eagerly). You can also rub it with minced garlic and olive oil or a bit of chimichurri. Do not go overboard with added flavors, allow the unique rich flavor of the meat to lead.
- Sear each side on a hot grill for no more than 2-3 minutes to ensure the outside of the steak browns well and develops flavors via the Maillard reaction while the inside doesn’t dry out.
- Enjoy it medium-rare to medium, never over that temperature range. In our experience internal temperature of 130-140 F is perfect for outside skirt steak.
Step by Step – How to Cook Outside Skirt Steak on the Grill
- Always begin by making the chimichurri. It needs a little bit of time for its flavors to develop and if so choose, you can use part of it to marinate the steak.
- Identify the area(s) where the thinness may transition from about an inch to about half an inch or less. Cut at the transition to ensure each part of the entraña is cooked perfectly.
- Salt and pepper the surface and let it sit a few minutes while you get the grill really hot.
You Can Pan Sear Outside Skirt Steak Too
If you cannot fire up the barbecue or use a grilling pan, then a hot skillet will do! Just follow the steps above and instead of a charcoal or gas grill use a cast iron skillet with a little bit of oil added.
How to Serve Outside Skirt Steak
- Always cut grilled skirt steak against the grain and in relatively thin slices. To accomplish this you would go diagonally since the muscle fibers run visibly across the width. Hold your knife at about 45 degrees angle to the width of the entraña.
- For a more spectacular presentation choose a long shaped cutting board or platter and leave most of the steak uncut (we eat with our eyes first!)
- Serve with a bowl of chimichurri but do not drench it with it, allow each diner to try the entraña first and flavor it to taste.
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- 1.5 lbs outside skirt steak (entraña steak)
- salt and pepper, to taste for seasoning meat
- 1 bunch fresh oregano, chopped fine
- 1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped fine
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 green onions, cut thinly
- 2 tbsp red wine or sherry vinegar
- 1 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed (or to taste)
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes (or to taste)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Make the chimichurri sauce first. Combine all the ingredients together in a bowl. Thin out with a bit of water as needed. Refrigerate for at least half an hour for the flavors to develop.
- Examine the outside skirt steak and identify areas where the thickness visibly changes. Section it in those areas (could be one or two cuts, depending on the steak you procured) so that the meat can cook evenly.* Season with salt and pepper.
- Heat your grill to hot. Sear the steak for 2 to 3 minutes per side, until the internal temperature registers 130 F for medium-rare and just under 140 F for medium. (Smaller, thinner pieces only need about 1 minute per side, then remove from grate).
- Allow the outside skirt steak to rest for at least 5 minutes. You may loosely tent it with foil while resting. Slice against the grain and thinly (about 1/4 inch thick). Hold the knife at a 45 degrees angle to the width of the entrana because the grain runs parallel to the width. Enjoy immediately, serve with the chimichurri on the side.
If you really want to marinate this steak rub it with a small amount of the chimichurri and let is sit for at least 30 minutes before you grill it. Alternativley, you can rub it with minced garlic and olive oil. Keep in mind that the flavor is so rich and beefy that salt and pepper is more than enough.
*Typically you will need to separate really thin ends from the main, thicker piece. The thin sections cook incredibly fast and if you leave them on the grill for as long as the thicker main section they will be overdone. Plus, this steak cut is so long that if you do not sectiont it it might not fit on your grill!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 422Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 84mgSodium: 282mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 32g
Information includes all of the chimichurri.