Take the 2-minute tour ×
Seasoned Advice is a question and answer site for professional and amateur chefs. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Skirt steak comes in two cuts: outside and inside. While I am sure the difference in cut affects how the meat should be prepared and cooked I am not sure in what ways. A few things I've read about the outside skirt reference the need to trim the membrane, but I'm not sure what the posts are referring to. Leading to my questions about the cuts:

  • What are the differences between the inside and outside skirt steak cuts?
  • How do these differences affect preparation and cooking?
  • When should one cut be chosen over the other? Are the two cuts interchangeable in most recipes?
share|improve this question

3 Answers 3

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Per Kenji Alt's Food Lab article on fajitas:

[T]here are really two distinct cuts from the diaphragm of the steer.

The outside skirt steak is from the plate section, below the rib and between the brisket and flank, and usually comes with the membrane still attached, which needs to be trimmed before cooking.

Inside skirt comes from the flank—it's narrower and thinner than the outside skirt, and comes with the membrane removed.

According to the Houston Press, outside skirt stake is extremely rare in the US, as much of it gets exported to Japan due to a quick in the tariffs. The outside cut is tougher, but extremely flavorful. Both are used in similar applications, if you can get them.

Given that any skirt you buy is probably inside skirt, the difference is likely to be moot. In making fajitas, Kenji Alt recommends grilling it over extremely high heat, to get browning flavors on the outside, and not overcook the center. He recommends not cooking it over medium rare.

A couple of pictures:



share|improve this answer

They are similar in appearance, but have different tastes. In addition to the previous comment, I would like to add that tha outside skirt is a bit chewer, and fattier, than the inside. The inside skirt is pricier, but in my opinion, well worth the price difference. I can get outside skirt about $6 a pound, whereas inside is usually close to $10. You can cook them the same way. The best result I've experienced, is barbecued with only sea salt as a condiment. Once cooked, you are encouraged to put chimichurri sauce on it for added flavor. In my opinion, inside skirt is as, if not better, tasting that even filet mignon!

share|improve this answer

Outer skirt is much harder to find, and much of what's left in the US is sold to restaurant vendors, in particular, Hispanic restaurants that offer carne asada dishes. If you are able to grab it, it should be treated in the same way as inner, but has a much higher fat content. Outer would be the ribeye, inner would be a sirloin. I'm sure you can make your mind up from there.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.