Test Kitchen Chronicles: Marinade Timing Test

Inside Skirt Marinating Steak is an odd looking cut – long and skinny, shaped much like a sash for a dress – it would be too short a skirt for me! It comes from the same area as Flank Steak, so it has coarse muscle fibres that you can see easily. It has great beefy flavour but needs to be marinated for best results.

Inside Skirt Marinating Steak has great beefy flavour, but needs to marinated for best results.

Given this cut is so thin, we were a bit concerned that an aggressive marinade – one with lots of acid like our limey Carne Asada recipe would make it  bit mushy. We had to see.

What we considered:

  1. Our standard cooking instructions for Marinating Steaks, recommends marinating from 4 and up to 24 hours.
  2. With such a thin cut, could we get away with less marinating time? Would marinating overnight be too long?

See our test notes below:

  • We used the Inside (not Outside) Skirt Steak –making sure that the butcher had removed all the silver skin membrane. Our steak was so long it went off the cutting board! We pierced the steak all over on both sides with a fork – it’s a great way to take out frustrations and to make steaks more tender!

  • We mixed the Carne Asada marinade right in a zipper-type plastic bag and folded the steak in order to fit it in. We squeezed as much air out of the bag as possible and sealed the bag. Next, the marinade was massaged into the meat with hands while it was in the bag. The steak was then refrigerated for 1 hour.

Remember to always marinate in the fridge, never on the counter.

  • After 1 hour, we took the steak out of the marinade and cut off a section for testing. The reserved section was left to continue marinating in the fridge overnight (for 24 hours).

  • Cooking up the Skirt Steak: We patted the steak dry with towelling and seasoned it all over with coarse salt and pepper. Popped it onto a grill preheated to about 400F, cooked it for about 5 minutes with the lid closed – once we could see juices come up to the surface it was time for a flip.

  •  After 3 minutes on the second side, it was time to take the steak off the grill and allow it to rest loosely covered with foil for 5 minutes. Letting a steak rest helps the juices settle and the flavours meld together. A very important step in steak cookery!

Letting your steaks (and roasts) rest is key to a tender, juicy eating experience.

  •  We carved the steak into thin slices across the grain for maximum

    Cutting against the grain is key.

    tenderness. Very important to get this right – look at the way the muscle fibres run and cut across them – like you do when you cut your bangs. Cutting on an angle like we show here helps too. Next was the best part – tasting! WOW – was this ever good.

  • After 24 hours, we took the reserved steak out of the marinade and cooked it up the same way (disposing of the marinade). ALSO great results. No mushiness or mealiness! Great taste.

THE RESULTS: The Skirt Steak works well in a marinade for as little as 1 hour with great flavour and tenderness and even after 24 hours, it still tastes great without any unpleasant texture problems!

THE VERDICT: Lots of flexibility with this recipe and this cut: keep your marinade time short and sweet or long and leisurely – it doesn’t seem to matter!


From my kitchen to yours! Joyce Parslow

Raised on a cat and cattle farm, Joyce Parslow (Canada Beef’s Consumer Culinary Manager for over 10 years) has what she thinks is the best career in the world, combining her love for food and agriculture.  As a busy working mom, with 2 kids under-roof, and a nomadic spouse, Joyce is often wrestling with that age-old problem of how to get a wholesome affordable meal on the table (or at least in the bellies) and get out the door in time to make 2 soccer games in 2 different cities.  It is this and other mom-type cooking conundrums that fuels Joyce with new ideas for Canadian beef.  Her approach: “problems are really just solutions in disguise”.

One thought on “Test Kitchen Chronicles: Marinade Timing Test

  1. Pingback: Grilling Vs Marinating Vs Simmering Steaks. #LoveCDNBeef | unsweetened.caunsweetened.ca

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