I’m not a big steak eater. When we were kids, my older sister Maggy, banned red meat from her diet, and because I wanted to be just like her, I gave up it up, too. For the next decade (much to our mother’s chagrin) our family’s protein consumption was mostly limited to poultry and seafood. I can only imagine how much Mom and Dad looked forward to the weeks when their girls went to sleep-away camp or the nights we spent at friends’ houses, so they could sear pepper-crusted steaks and roast spice-rubbed pork tenderloins without causing a fuss.
From the start, this was Maggy’s crusade, so it should come as no surprise that I broke first. I was eighteen when the siren scent of red meat began tempting me again. The two things that ended it it all: Italian sausage and bacon cheeseburgers. I just couldn’t resist. Though I still eat a fair amount of Italian sausage (spare me the jokes about my Italian husband!), I can’t remember the last time I had a bacon cheeseburger. Nonetheless, they created a slippery slope that had me skidding back into the world of red meat.
But even after beef, lamb, and pork started making regular appearances on my plate, I just couldn’t get into steak. After years of abstaining, the idea of consuming rare meat was pretty repulsive. As clueless as I was then, even I knew the sacrilege of well-done beef.
In my experience, coming to like things–whether again or the first time–takes practice. Sometimes lots of it. But it had worked with olives, mushrooms, liver pate, and oysters, so I knew it could work with steak. I just kept trying bites here and there until it became something of a delicacy. These days, I love a good Rib-Eye doused in mushrooms and red wine, and summer doesn’t feel like summer unless we’ve grilled a few good skirt steaks.
I love steak in my tacos now, but I hate when it’s too rare, thick, or stringy to really bite clean. You know that awful moment when you bite into the taco, only to wind up indelicately dragging the whole piece of steak out and then using your fingers to wrestle it into pieces or to shove the whole thing in your mouth? Yeah, that. I hate that. I love skirt steak because when it’s marinated, grilled medium-rare, and sliced thin…it will never do this to you!
Whether you love steak or not, check out this easy marinade recipe. With garlic, citrus, jalapeno, and honey, it turns simple steak into heaven on a tortilla!
- 5 garlic cloves
- 1 jalapeño, stemmed
- 1 handful of fresh cilantro (you can use the leaves and stems)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Zest of 1 lime
- Juice of 1 orange
- Juice of 3 limes
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ tsp ground chipotle
- Black pepper, to taste
- 2 pounds skirt steak, trimmed of excess fat
- In a food processor or blender, puree the garlic, jalapeño, cilantro, olive oil, and lime zest. Add remaining ingredients and pulse until well-combined.
- Place the meat in a non-reactive container with a lid or a plastic bag. Feel free to cut the steak in half crosswise to make it fit. Add the marinade, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to 8.
- When ready to cook, remove the steak from the marinade. Grill steak over direct heat, about 3 to 4 minutes per side for medium-rare, longer if you like. (Be aware that skirt steak can get tough if you grill it beyond medium!)
- Remove the steak from the grill, tent with foil, and allow to rest for about 5 minutes. Slice thinly and serve.