Go against the grain this Taco Tuesday. Grilled Skirt Steak Tacos are just as fast and budget-friendly as ground beef tacos or chicken tacos. An easy 5-minute marinade adds tons of flavor and locks in moisture while grilling marinated skirt steak. Just a few minutes on each side gets you perfect charred crust and tender, juicy meat that pairs perfectly with your favorite taco toppings.
Not to sound harsh, but if I show up at your house and you serve me a perfect rib eye or tender filet mignon, I will absolutely be appreciative, but I’m not going to be impressed. Nature intended for those steaks to practically melt in your mouth when properly cooked. Nature did not give every animal part the same grace.
You can get a passable sirloin strip literally anywhere (like, even in an air fryer!). You want to be impressed? Find a taqueria that serves tongue or tripe tacos, and tell me what those chefs have done with offal isn’t miraculous.
Now, I’m certainly not getting organ meat-level extreme at home. But plenty of people still treat “working” or “butcher’s cuts” like proverbial chopped liver, because they require additional before and after-thought to ensure they don’t wind up tough and gamey.
I’m not suggesting you can turn a marinated skirt steak into prime rib, but you can turn a grilled skirt steak into the most amazingly flavorful, tender, juicy grilled steak tacos with a few simple tricks.
Why Skirt Steak?
There’s a time and a place for a T-bone, but when it comes to recipes for steak sandwiches, steak skewers, steak salads, and steak stir frys, “flat steaks” out-perform pricier cuts. If your dish calls for sliced steak, then skirt, flank, hanger, and flat iron will give you the best bite for your buck. Tacos and fajitas are no exception.
Skirt steak is our favorite of the four flat “working cuts” for a few reasons.
- First and foremost, it’s thin, so it cooks up quickly. You’ll get a perfectly cooked medium-rare to medium steak in just 3-4 minutes per side, leaving you with a crispy, charred outside and tender, juicy interior.
- As the fattiest of the four flat steaks, it stays nice and moist, even on high grill heat. Plus, fat means flavor!
- Lastly, it’s practical. Skirt steak is more economical than more traditionally “tender” cuts and it also soaks up marinades like a total boss.
The Secret to the Best Steak Tacos? It’s All In The Marinade!
Well, technically the secret is “location, location, location” plus marinade.
While cuts from the beef plate, like skirt steak, boast quite a bit of connective tissue – which tend to make them tougher – their thick, loose grain also means there’s (literally) more room to absorb marinade. And more room not only means more flavor, but meat that’s more tender.
Skirt Steak Taco Marinade
This 5-minute marinade for grilled steak is simple and easy, but jam packed with flavor from lime, garlic, and cumin. Marinating skirt steak for one hour will hit the sweet spot for this taco recipe, but will hold up just fine at 8-10 hours. It’s a great recipe to “set and forget” in the morning, so it’s ready to cook by suppertime.
How to Make Skirt Steak Tacos
Grilled Skirt Steak Tacos make for one of the most flavorful Taco Tuesdays on record. Marinate in lime, garlic and cumin for at least an hour. Grill your marinated skirt steak until a crisp, charred crust forms. Slice against the grain, then pile in warm corn tortillas with your favorite toppings.
- Pat the steaks dry, then divide into 2 pieces for easier marinating and grilling. Season generously on both sides with salt and pepper, then set aside for 10 minutes to allow the salt to penetrate.
- Whisk the marinade ingredients in a small bowl, then pour into a sealable bag. Add the steaks, press out the air, then seal. Squish the marinade all over the steak pieces to ensure even cover.
- Marinate in the fridge at least 1 hour, and up to 10.
- When you’re ready to grill, remove the steaks from the marinade and set onto a plate to come to room temperature.
- Prepare a grill or grill pan for high heat.
- Grill the steaks 3-4 minutes per side with lid open until the internal temperature registers 130°F (for medium rare) or 140°F (for medium).
- Remove from the grill, place on a cutting board, and rest for 10 minutes. The rest period will both allow the juices to settle and the temperature to rise an additional 5°.
- Thinly slice the steak agains the grain, then layer into warm tortillas with your favorite toppings.
Steak Grilling Tips
- Heat the grill properly – allow it at least 10-15 minutes to get to HIGH.
- Allow the steaks to come to room temperature after removing from the marinade – this will allow for quick, even cooking.
- Grill with the lid OPEN for great charring. Skirt steak is thin and will cook quickly.
- Rest the steak for 10 minutes – no more, no less – for ideal temperature and texture.
- Cut against the grain for very tender slices of steak for your tacos. If you’re unsure about how to slice against the grain, this is a terrific video tutorial.
Toppings for Steak Tacos
The marinade makes the crust of the steak super flavorful so we keep the toppings simple – diced avocado, finely chopped red onion, and mild queso fresco cheese.
But don’t let our preferences stop you! Use your favorite taco toppings like: pico de gallo or diced tomato, shredded lettuce, shredded cheese, pickled red onions, cotija cheese, sliced or pickled jalapeno pepper, shredded cabbage, fresh or pickled radishes, black or pinto beans.
And if you’re already going big, we highly recommend a drizzle of cilantro lime crema over top of grilled steak tacos for a winning finish.
Did you make these skirt steak tacos? I’d love to know how they turned out! Leave a comment and a rating below.
Tender and Charred Skirt Steak TacosPrint Recipe Rate this Recipe Pin Recipe
- 1.5 lb skirt steak, divided into 2 pieces
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp ground pepper
Skirt Steak Marinade
- ⅓ c olive oil
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tsp lime zest
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp cumin
- 12 corn tortillas, warmed
- 2 avocados, diced to ½"
- ½ medium red onion, finely chopped
- ½ c queso freso cheese, crumbled
- Remove the steak from its packaging and arrange on a large plate or cutting board. Pat very dry using paper towels, then sliced in half into two approximately 12” long pieces. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Rest 10 minutes to allow the salt to infuse and season the steak.
- In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil, lime juice, lime zest, garlic and cumin until smooth. Place the steak in a resealable bag and pour the marinade over the steak. Squeeze as much air as possible out of the bag, then seal and place in the fridge for at least an hour and up to 10.
- When you are ready to cook, heat a grill pan or grill to high heat. Remove the steak from the bag, allowing the excess marinade to drip from the steaks. Place the marinated steaks on a plate or cutting board and allow the steak to come to room temperature while the grill heats up, 10-15 minutes.
- Place the steaks on the grill. Grill 3-4 minutes per side over high heat with the lid open, or until the internal temperature registers 130°F. Remove from the grill and place on a cutting board. Rest 10 minutes, to allow the juices to settle and for the temperature to rise to approximately 135°F.
- Thinly slice the steak against the grain, then layer into warmed tortillas with your favorite toppings. Enjoy!