Chile-Lime Skirt Steak
Created by Chef Chris Coleman
Goodyear House - Charlotte, NC
2.5 lbs of skirt steak (aka outside skirt, fajita steak), feeds 6-8 depending on application (and appetites!)
- 1 - 5oz. can chipotle in adobo
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Juice of 2 limes
- ¼ c your favorite barbecue sauce (I used a vinegar-based sauce from Home Team in Charleston, SC)
- 3 lbs skirt steak, trimmed of all silver skin - thin membrane of connective tissue- (this will yield around 2.5 lbs meat)
- Salt, as needed (preferably kosher or sea salt)
- bbq grill, hardwood charcoal, aluminum foil
First, make the marinade 6 hours to 1 day before you plan to cook: Combine chipotle AND adobo sauce (reserve 1T if making beans), garlic, lime juice, and bbq sauce in a blender and process until smooth.
Next, prepare the steak: Skirt steak is from the diaphragm muscle of the cow, and gets a TON of work, which means it is EXTREMELY tasty, but can also be tough and chewy (Remember: lots of work = lots of flavor, but not always too tender). Be sure to clean the steak of all of the silver skin. This is the thin silvery membrane that covers most muscles and is really hard to chew. This is already a tough steak; don’t make it tougher by leaving the skin on.
Once the silver skin has been trimmed off, you will want to cut the steak into pieces that will fit on your grill without crowding. I cut a 2.5 lbs piece of steak into 4 pieces.
Divide the steak between 2 sealable bags, and pour the marinade over. Allow to rest in the fridge for 6-24 hours (24 being the best)
Go get some sleep, tomorrow WE GRILL…..
One Day Later... The sun is shining, the birds are singing, it’s time to grill some meat!
The steak has been in its chile-lime bath for 24 hours, and is ready to hit the coals. Go ahead and remove it from the bags, rinse lightly, and pat dry with paper towels. Place on a rack over a sheet tray, and salt both sides of the steak thoroughly. Remember, there was very little salt in the marinade (only what is in the adobo sauce) so you need to salt it here. Allow to sit at room temp for one hour. While the steak is coming to temp, let’s light the coals!
Prepare the grill with coals, preferably hardwood chunk, no lump. Note: you only need enough to cover the bottom of your grill. Mound up the charcoal in a pyramid, and light. Allow the coals to burn until they are (mostly) covered with a light gray or white ash; spread them evenly.
Place each steak DIRECTLY ON THE COALS for 90 seconds. Carefully flip the steaks and grill for 90 seconds on the other side. If any coals stick to the steak, just pull them off with your tongs. Once the steak has cooked for 90 seconds per side, stack them up in a mound and wrap tightly in 2 layers of aluminum foil. The heat from the sear will permeate and continue to cook the interior of the steak. If left wrapped tightly for 15 minutes, the steak will come out a beautiful medium-rare.
Unwrap your steaks from the foil and determine the grain of the meat. To slice this steak, cut against the grain, and serve immediately. We used this Chile-Lime Skirt Steak for some amazing tostadas with Mashed Black Beans, Avocado Crema, Shredded Iceberg, and Marinated Tomatoes (recipe for beans follows).
While we missed the ice cold cervezas and margaritas of our favorite local Tex-mex spot, our family has never eaten this well on the back deck at our house.
Now, where are those free chip and salsa refills?
*Note on preparation*
If you aren’t able to, or choose not to grill directly on coals, you may grill these skirt steaks on a grate over a very hot fire like normal. If you choose to cook on grates, we suggest cooking for 2 mins per side, then wrapping as directed. The fire must be very hot, so either crank the propane as high as it will go, or grill directly over the hottest spot in your coal bed.
Mashed Black Beans
Serves 6 as a spread for tostadas, 4 as a side dish.
- 1 can of Black Beans, preferably organic and low sodium
- 4oz chunk of slab bacon, or 2-3 strips of bacon
- ½ onion, cut into large wedges
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 T adobo sauce (from can of chipotles in adobo)
- 2 T ketchup
- Water, to cover
- Salt, to taste
- Lime juice, to taste
Equipment needed: Medium size pot
Combine all ingredients except salt in a heavy-bottomed medium pot. Cover with water by at least 3 inches. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Continue to simmer for 2 hours, or until beans are very tender and bacon can be shredded.
Remove the beans, onion, and bacon from any remaining liquid. Lightly mash the beans with a fork, chop the onion (which should be very soft by now), and shred the bacon. Fold everything back into the liquid, and simmer until thickened to a chunky mash. Season to taste with salt and brighten with lime juice, if desired.
This can be made and held in the fridge for up to 3 days in advance. Warm gently with water on the stove or in the microwave to desired temperature.
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Keep cooking & stay safe.