Use cheap and flavourful skirt steak to make carne asada.
Use cheap and flavourful skirt steak to make carne asada. 123rf

The little known but heavenly cut of steak

IT HAS been a busy few weeks where I live. Because the weather has been stifling, I did a lot of cooking outside on my medium-sized gas barbie. It has a domed lid and does a great job; the flavour is not as good as a charcoal grill but it's not bad at all.

If you are hankering for a steak and you have a budget, your choices are limited. I moved last year to a place that boasts a fabulous shop that sells cuts of meat that are not readily available in supermarkets, and one of those is skirt steak. It's worthwhile having a chat to your butcher to see if you can buy this cut; it's cheap and full of flavour.

Skirt is a cut from the midsection; it is flat and the grain is very obvious. Care must be taken to cook it correctly to avoid toughness but when you get the hang of it, you'll be pleased with the results.

Marinating the meat, preferably overnight, is a key strategy, as is bringing the steak to room temperature before cooking for a minimal time and resting for 15 minutes before slicing across the grain. Serve today's recipe, carne asada (Spanish for roast meat) wrapped in tortillas with lime juice, salad greens and avocado for a palate-pleasing budget meal.

Carne asada

Serves 4


INGREDIENTS: 1/3 cup olive oil 1/4 cup soy sauce 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed 1 tbs sugar 4 limes, divided 2 tsp ground cumin seed 2 pieces skirt steak (about 500g) to serve: tortillas, avocado slices, tomato wedges, salad leaves, sliced spanish or green onions, fresh herbs, salsa


METHOD: Combine oil, soy sauce, garlic, sugar, the juice of two of the limes and the cumin in a non-reactive bowl or large ziplock bag. Add the steaks and turn to coat. Refrigerate overnight. Before cooking, remove meat from the fridge and allow to reach room temperature; the time will vary according to the air temperature.

Preheat the barbecue to high. Oil the grill lightly and place steaks over the heat.

Cook for four minutes, then turn and cook for a further three minutes. Do not overcook or the meat will be tough. Remove steak to a warm plate and cover with foil; let stand for 12-15 minutes.


TO SERVE: Slice meat into thin strips across the grain.

Pile on to tortillas along with avocado, tomato, onion and salad leaves and garnish with fresh herbs.

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