Flank Steak vs. Skirt Steak: The Differences Explained

Most of us don’t realize that there is an entire science behind food. Have you ever thought about it? Until recently, we didn’t either. One of our friends opened a restaurant several months ago, and when we finally went to eat there he asked us whether we prefer a Flank or Skirt steak! As you can imagine, we were completely confused.  At this moment it became clear that most of us don’t think about food so much. We go to a restaurant, order what we like on the menu and that is where the story ends. It’s the same when preparing food at home– we buy groceries, follow the recipe and that’s it.

But as we found out, it is really important to learn about the food, because that way we can get the best meals without a lot of effort.  Take the steak for example!  Everyone knows about tenderloin, sirloin, and ribeye.  But Flank steak and Skirt steak, although less famous, are equally delicious meat cuts. Additionally, they are cheaper. But what are they? What is the difference between Flank and Skirt steak?

What is Flank Steak

So, what is Flank steak?  Well, it’s meat that comes from the cow’s lower abdomen. Flank steak belongs to a group of muscles that cows use all the time when they are walking. Moreover, this cut comes with a lot of meat and almost doesn’t have any fat.  And although these muscles are worked a lot, and are less tender than Skirt steak. Plus, Flank has a strong beefy taste and because the meat is super lean it can be a bit hard to chew it. But that doesn’t mean that this meat is not delicious! Flank steak other names are also jiffy steak, beef flank, Babette (France), Fralidnha (Brazil), etc.

There are still many reasons to try this wonderful steak, and one of them is its great nutritional value!

Nutrition The total amount per four ounces % Daily value
Calories 217 11
Total fat 9g 14
Cholesterol 89g 30
Sodium 64mg 3
Protein 32g 50g
Calcium 1.7% 2
Iron 10.9% 11

How to Cook It

The best thing is to grill Flank steak over medium to high heat. It is enough to grill just a few minutes on each side.  Keep in mind that it should be cooked medium rare at most. Otherwise, it would be too tough and nonedible.  If you like it, you can smoke it a bit at a very low temperature.

Popular Flank steak Recipes

  • Flank steak  Bulgogi
  • Lemon Garlic Butter Flank steak
  • Herbes de Provence Grilled Flank Steak
  • Marinated Flank steak

What is Skirt Steak?

And what is Skirt steak, then? Honestly, when we first saw this long, thin, marbled piece of meat we weren’t impressed. It was even challenging to call it a steak. But not only that it is a steak, but it is a super delicious one.  It comes from the plate primal of the cow

There are two different types of skirts –  inside and outside. The inside is an abdominal muscle, and the outside is from the diaphragm area. Plus, the outside is wider and has more meat.  There aren’t many Skirt steak other names except Romanian tenderloin, Philadelphia steak, and Arrachera (Mexico).

Nutrition Total Amount for 4 oz %Daily Value
Calorie 269 13.5
Total Fat 16g 25
Cholesterol 68mg 33
Sodium 95mg 4
Protein 28g 50g
Calcium 1 1
Iron 17 17

How to Cook It

Ideally, the grill should be smoking hot before you put the steak. Skirt steak is pretty thin so make sure to not overcook it. The best is to cook it for about 2 minutes on each side. Keep in mind that it needs to be medium-rare at maximum. Otherwise, you want to be able to eat it.  Many people use it for salads, wraps, fajitas, etc.

Popular Recipes of Skirt steak

  • Grilled Balsamic Skirt steak
  • Korean Bulgogi Style Grilled Steak
  • Straccetti Con Rucola e Funghi
  • Brazilian Skirt steak with Golden Garlic Butter

Flank steak vs. Skirt steak in Depth Comparison

Flavor, Texture, and Tenderness

Do you remember that we mentioned that these cuts come from a part of the cow that the animal uses quite often? Okay, so you can imagine that they are not the tenderest meats you will find, but that doesn’t change the fact that the flavor is amazing! The flank is a bit more tender than the inside skirt.  However, the outside skirt can be tenderer than the flank. It is something to consider when choosing between Skirt steak vs. Flank steak.

Cooking Methods

What about cooking Flank vs. Skirt?  Well, Flank is leaner so it doesn’t require much preparation. If you are cooking a skirt you need to cut off the excess fat. Both types of meat work well with different marinades,. and you can even make them a bit tender by marinating them.  They are also excellent for grilling, just make sure to grill them on super high heat! It is also essential to remember that both Flank steak and Skirt steak must  be cooked medium rare at most. Otherwise, you will have a hard time chewing them.


As we mentioned, the Skirt steak is long and thin. The Flank is thicker than a skirt and more oval-shaped. However, when you compare it to other cuts it also appears quite long and thin.

A Brief Recap

Cut Size Meat  Content Fat content Average Weight Average Servings Location on the cow
Skirt steak Long and thin Moderately meaty Moderate to High fat 1.25 pounds 3 Center belly, plate primal
Flank steak Large and squat Very meaty Low to Moderate fat 2 pounds 4 Flank primal, bellow the loin. Rear belly.

Which Steak is Better for Smoking and Grilling?

If you are wondering which is better Skirt steak vs. Flank for grilling and smoking, we have to tell you that there isn’t a straightforward answer here. They are both excellent and which one you will choose depends on your taste. Some people asked us if the Skirt steak was the same as Flank steak? There are differences, but they are indeed very similar. Some people prefer flank because it is leaner.  As we said, both of these cuts need to be grilled at high temperatures.  Grill each side of the skirt for 3 minutes. Flank needs to stay a bit longer on the grate – five minutes for each side should be enough. Some people opt for smoking these cuts. However, we don’t suggest it because it takes a lot of time. And if you nevertheless want, make sure to do it at a low temperature.

What About Other Dishes?

And if you don’t want to solely enjoy Flank or Skirt steak, you can also try these amazing meats with some of these dishes:

  • Fajitas
  • Carne asada. It is a thinly sliced beef used for tacos and burritos. In general, people are using both Flank steak and Skirt steak for this purpose
  • Tacos. As you know, people generally use ground meat for tacos. But if you want to use steak, it is essential to know that both flank and skirt do well in tacos
  • Burritos. Most people prefer to use Skirt steak for burritos. However, you can make it with a flank too

Are Hanger and Flatiron Steaks the Same as Flank And Skirt Steaks?

Plenty of people confuse hunger and flatiron steaks with skirts and flanks even though they aren’t the same.  

Hanger steak comes from the muscle located between tenderloin and beef ribs. This cut is very tender and butchers often keep it for themselves. That is why it is a butcher’s steak.  Flatiron wasn’t considered a steak until 2007 because of the large vein of the connective tissue. It was mostly used for beef roasts. However, scientists found a technique to remove the vein and create a delicious, super tender steak, that became so popular worldwide.


That’s all about the difference between Flank steak vs. Skirt steak for today! So, overall – is Skirt steak the same as Flank steak? Nope! Skirt steak has a lot higher fat content, but it’s also a lot more “beefy” and rich flavor due to that fat content. Meanwhile, Flank steak has a lot less fat and it’s a lot larger. Plus, it’s a lot more tender.

Thus if you prefer a more intense flavor and juicier meat, you might want to try the Skirt, but if too much fat doesn’t sound so appealing to you, then Flank steak would be a great choice! It’s all up to you!

So have you ever cooked or even tried Skirt steak vs Flank steak? What are your impressions? 

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