Skirt Steak Vs. Flank Steak [Differences Explained]

Skirt and flank steak are tasty meats; they are fantastic to serve with your family and loved ones. However, the big puzzle is which one is the best. You can determine this if only you understand the differences between the two. So what is the difference?

The primary difference between skirt steak and flank steak is their toughness. Skirt steak is tougher than flank steak and has a deeper flavor. This indicates that it can either be prepared as rare or medium rare; it is typically best seared. If you love your steak tender and well done, you should go for flank steak.

It does not end there; before you choose which one to cook, you should understand some essential details about skirt steak vs. flank steak. Keep reading through this article to stay informed before you start your steak preparation.

What is Flank Steak?

Flank steak is cut from the lower abdominal area of a cow or, in simple terms, below the loin. The abdominal area is full of muscles meaning that a flank beef steak contains a lot of muscles and strong muscle fibers. Therefore, this cut usually is lean and tough.

It is usually thicker and wider than the skirt steak and is tough. This feature makes it essential as you can slice it into thin slices against the grain. It carries a rich beef flavor and can be accompanied by marinade to tenderize it quickly. To get the best flank steak, you should cook it quickly at higher temperatures. Also, it is perfect when seared or grilled.

What is Skirt Steak?

Skirt steak is a part of the cow’s diaphragm muscle, close to the part where the flank steak is removed from. It is long, lean, and tough, and this brings about confusion with the flank steak because they are almost the same. Most of the time, you will hear people talking about the inside skirt vs outside skirt, don’t be shocked because the two are almost the same.


The outside skirt is cut from the outer part of the chest wall, usually between the cow’s 6th and 12th rib. Occasionally, it can have a thick membrane, which can be described as the diaphragm. On the other hand, the inside skirt is from the inside of the lower end of the ribs.


The outside skirt is thicker than the inside skirt and has a consistent shape. The inside skirt steak is usually thinner; immediately you start cooking, it will shrink as the muscle fibers tighten. Most restaurants serve the outside skirt due to its thickness and shape consistency.


Skirt steak contains many tough muscle fibers than what is on flank steak. This has a direct effect on its texture and flavor intensity. Its tough composition indicates that you can only cook it in a rare medium.

What is the Difference Between Skirt vs Flank Steak?

Although one can prepare the skirt steak and flank steak the same way, each has different qualities. The following are the top differences in skirt steak vs flank steak:


The primary difference between the two steaks is the part of the cow where they are cut from. Skirt steak is usually thin with intense flavor cut from the area of a cow’s diaphragm. In contrast, flank steak is cut from under the loin of a cow.


Flank steak is a heavier, thicker, and wider meat cut, while skirt steak is longer and lighter. The thickness of flank steak makes it easy for them to create flat and wider pieces when sliced, and the skirt tends to create longer and thinner pieces.


Another notable difference is the texture of the steaks. However, they both contain muscle fibers. Flank steak comprises many tightly woven grain structures, while the skirt steak is less dense but has many fiber structures. The latter is best with marinade, slow cooks, and stir-frying, while flank steak does not allow marinades to penetrate easily.

Cooking Time

Flank steak takes more time to cook on both sides than skirt steak, which takes only three minutes to cook on each side. Flank steak can take up to five minutes to cook on each side because of its size and thickness. The flank is thicker while the skirt is thinner; thus, the time difference.


When comparing tenderness, you might be easily confused. For instance, when you compare flank Steak with inside skirt steak, flank is a tenderer. It is also easier to chew than its opponent. However, if you take the outside skirt steak and compare it with the flank, then the outside skirt wins, and it is advisable to always opt for the outside skirt rather than the flank because it is easy to cook and tender.


The flavor is another thing that differentiates skirt steak from flank steak. However, both have a beef flavor; one is more intense than the other. Skirt steak has a more intense beef flavor than flank steak. It does not matter whether it is inside or outside. When grilling, you might want a more tasteful flavor from your grilling charcoal, but that does not still affect the intensity.

Fat Content

Skirt steak usually is fattier than flank, which is lean. The difference in fat content is due to the area they are cut from. The skirt is cut from an area with higher fat content, while the flank comes from somewhere less fat. Therefore, you should go for the skirt for juicy Steak with deep flavor.

Grilling skirt and flank steaks

The two steaks are both flat cuts. They are tough and thus making it necessary to enjoy them rare or medium rare and seared. You should know that simple barbeque tricks such as indirect grilling rarely work on these steaks because they are made of flesh that is hard for heat to penetrate.

The simplest method to cook either of these steaks is by direct grilling, and to get excellent grill marks, you should sear them on each side.


Skirt steak is usually thin compared to flank steak. Thus, you will only cook it for three minutes for each side during grilling. On the other hand, the flank steak will need about five minutes on each side. However, there is something you should remember, ensure that the internal temperature is 130F for skirt and flank steaks. Use a meat thermometer to measure the internal temperature.

Why Should Steak be cut Against the Grain?

Skirt and flank steaks should be both cut against the grain; this is something you must have seen on barbecues, especially when it is beef. Meat with such fibers and toughness makes it hard for one to enjoy them while eating. Therefore, cutting against the grain enables one to separate and break the fibers into simpler forms for efficient eating. Also, cutting against the grain ensures that the meat remains in its best condition, tender and easy to eat, and also sliced into thinner pieces.


Skirt steak vs. flank steaks are both tremendous and almost similar, but there is always a winner in each contest. From the details above, skirt steak is considered the best because it is cheaper, easy to cook, and contains an intense beef flavor. If you haven’t tried grilled Steak yet, I recommend starting with skirt steak, and you will be satisfied with what you get.