We just found one more reason to adore tacos. Skirt steak takes a quick marinade before taking a quick turn on the grill and then being tucked inside warm tortillas. Heaps of pickled red onions, jalapeño, and cilantro don’t hurt anything. No need to wait until Tuesday.

david caricature

Why Our Testers Loved This

Deborah Wallace calls these grilled steak tacos “a terrific recipe that delivers great flavor and is easy to prepare,” and Kristen Kennedy has dinner guests requesting these easy tacos on repeat. Kinda makes you want to try them, doesn’t it?

What You’ll Need to Make This

Ingredients for grilled skirt steak tacos -- steak, tortillas, sugar, chipotles, jalapeno, spices, cilantro, and pickled onions.
  • Pureed chipotle chiles–Blending canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce makes for a splendid marinade. Instructions on how to do this can be found in the FAQs below.
  • Skirt steak–This is a long, flat cut of beef that comes from the plate area (middle chest) of a steer. If you can’t find skirt steak, flank steak will also work here.
  • Pickled onions–Use your favorite store-bought or homemade pickled onions. If you’re short on time, these quick pickled onions are a great choice.

How to Make This Recipe

Marinade ingredients mixed in a small bowl and a couple pieces of skirt steak marinating in a resealable bag.
  1. Mix the puréed chipotle, brown sugar, coriander, cumin, salt, and lime juice in a small bowl.
  2. Rub the marinade over the steak. Stash the steak in a resealable bag and chill for 1 to 2 hours. Massage the steak every once and a while.
A piece of grilled skirt steak on a grill.
  1. Preheat a grill to high. Grill the steak over direct heat until the desired doneness. If you want your tortillas slightly charred, toss them onto the grill for the final minute of cooking.
  2. Let the meat rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving with tortillas, cilantro, pickled wonions, jalapeño, and lime wedges.

Common Questions

how do i make pureed chipotles?

To make puréed chipotles, blend the entire contents of a 12-ounce (340 g) can of chipotles in adobo sauce in a blender. It’ll make much more than you need, but that’s a good thing! 

Stash the extra in a jar in the fridge for up to 3 weeks or in the freezer until the next time you’re craving these smoky grilled tacos or any other recipe that calls for chipotle en adobo, such as smoked pork tenderloinvegetarian chili, or a dipping sauce for carrot fries.

how can i find the grain of the meat to cut across it?

Look closely at the surface of the meat. You should see lines traveling in one direction. This is the grain of the meat. To cut across the grain, slice the meat perpendicular (at a 90° angle) to these lines.

what is the internal temperature of cooked skirt steak?

For these grilled steak tacos, I recommend you grill the steak to medium-rare, with an internal temperature of 130°F to 140°F. This will ensure juicy meat with a pink center.

If you prefer your meat more well done, cook it to 160°F, but be mindful not to overcook it as the steak can become dry and tough. And nobody wants that.

Helpful Tips

  • For the most tender meat, slice the steak very thinly, and always slice against the grain.
  • Leftover skirt steak can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • This skirt steak taco recipe is suitable for gluten-free and dairy-free diets.
Three skirt steak tacos filled with sliced steak, jalapeño, pickled onion, lime, and cilantro.

More Amazing Skirt Steak Recipes

Write a Review

If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David

BEST RECIPE! HANDS DOWN! I’ve never had a marinade give meat so much flavor. This is a must try recipe!

jessica
Sliced skirt steak on a wooden board with tortillas, lime wedges, cilantro, jalapeno, and pickled red onion.

Grilled Skirt Steak Tacos

5 / 10 votes
Skirt steak is one of the most flavorful cuts on the entire steer, and when grilled and sliced properly, it’s one of the best values at the butcher shop. I like my tacos on the spicy side, so I load them up with plenty of sliced jalapeño and garnish with a squeeze of fresh lime, cilantro, and pickled red onions.
David Leite
CourseMains
CuisineTex Mex
Servings6 servings
Calories397 kcal
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time2 hours 30 minutes

Equipment

  • 1-quart mason jar

Ingredients 

For the grilled skirt steak

  • 1 tablespoon puréed chipotle in adobo sauce
  • 1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 2 pounds skirt steak, trimmed of silver skin
  • 1 package corn tortillas

To serve

  • Pickled red onions
  • 1 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, thinly sliced into rounds
  • 2 limes, sliced into wedges

Instructions 

Make the skirt steak

  • In a small bowl, mix the chipotle purée, brown sugar, coriander, cumin, salt, and lime juice until combined.
  • Pat the skirt steak dry with paper towels, place it in a resealable plastic bag, add the chipotle marinade, and toss the meat inside the bag to coat. Seal the bag and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours. Remove the meat from the bag and discard the marinade.
  • Preheat a charcoal or gas grill to high.
  • Grill the skirt steak over direct heat until cooked to the desired doneness, 3 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare, depending on the thickness of the steak. While you’re grilling, feel free to toss the tortillas on the side of the grill over indirect heat to get them warm and taco ready.
  • Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let it rest for 5 minutes. Thinly slice the meat against the grain and serve with warm or lightly charred tortillas, cilantro, jalapeño, pickled onions, and lime wedges.

Notes

  1. Slice against the grain–For the most tender meat, slice the steak very thinly, and always slice against the grain.
  2. Storage–Leftover skirt steak can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  3. Dietary–This skirt steak taco recipe is suitable for gluten-free and dairy-free diets.

Michael Symon's Playing With Fire Cookbook

Adapted From

Playing With Fire

Buy On Amazon

Nutrition

Serving: 1 portionCalories: 397 kcalCarbohydrates: 36 gProtein: 37 gFat: 13 gSaturated Fat: 5 gMonounsaturated Fat: 6 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 95 mgSodium: 917 mgFiber: 7 gSugar: 6 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2018 Michael Symon. Photos © 2023 Angie Zoobkoff. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This is an easy and flavorful recipe for skirt steak tacos. My Texas-born boys didn’t say much, but they leaned back in their chairs and closed their eyes. They were back home for a minute, and you can’t ask for more than that.

It was nice to grill the tortillas alongside the skirt steak and have everything ready at once. The pickled onions are so bona fide I felt like I was home in Texas. Along with the cilantro, jalapeño, and lime, this is a perfect group of toppings.

A keeper. This is a terrific recipe that delivers great flavor and is easy to prepare. The marinade works perfectly with the meat, leaving a whisper of sweetness after grilling that isn’t overbearing.

I marinated the steak for about 90 minutes and grilled it over charcoal for about 5 minutes per side. Since skirt steak tends to be uneven, I kept the thinner portion away from the most intense heat. I ended up with slices that were nicely charred on the outside and ranged from rare to medium-rare, which suited everyone.

The big surprise was the pickled red onions and how well they worked with the steak and the cilantro in the tacos. I was able to get almost all the sliced onions into the jar. I used a cup of liquid overall and then let them sit in the refrigerator overnight. The onions were still somewhat crisp but had lost their sharpness and become milder.

We thought the jalapeño added a little too much heat for our palates, but the combination, spritzed with a bit of lime, was great on the warm tortillas. I thought I’d miss a little cheese or crema, but I loved the balance of the ingredients, particularly the bright, slightly vinegary onions against the steak.

The next night we had leftover steak, which I served with the onions and cilantro but no tortillas, for another delicious meal.

The marinade is fabulous, and one I’m planning to try on chicken sometime soon.

I was going to divide this recipe in half, not wanting to have two pounds of steak for the two of us. However, I may make the whole recipe every time I make this in the future, considering how many delicious dinners and lunches we got out of that 2-pound piece of beef.

I marinated my skirt steak for two hours, and the meat was infused with great flavor. I cut my steak into three pieces. I was concerned that the whole piece wouldn’t fit into the bag so the marinade could be distributed evenly on everything. Even with smaller pieces, getting the marinade to coat all the meat was difficult. So be mindful.

Besides enjoying the onions with the steak tacos, we’ve been eating them with quesadillas. Very, very yummy!

I have made this recipe a handful of times since initially testing it a few months ago. Every time I have company, this meal is requested. It’s just that good—and since it’s super easy, I’m happy to oblige!

I purée an entire 12-ounce can of chipotles in adobo and then portion out 1-tbsp cubes in a silicone ice cube tray for future use.

I’ve also found you can mix the marinade right in the bag you’ll use to marinate the skirt steak; just squish it all around the bottom with your hands until mixed. Once you add the skirt steak, you’ll want to make sure the marinade is evenly distributed over the meat. There isn’t an overabundance of liquid, so seal the bag and go ahead and push the meat around in the marinade until it’s coated.

I typically leave this on the counter to marinate for 2 hours so the steak is room temperature when grilled. I pull the steak from the marinade and slap it dripping right onto the grill.

The cooking time of 3 to 5 minutes per side is perfect. Feel free to let the steak rest for up to 30 minutes before carving.

As with all roasted and grilled meats, I’ve found longer is better when it comes to resting time (within reason!). Don’t skimp on the pickled onions. I’ve started making a double batch every time I cook this since the steak is requested so often and the onions taste great with any grilled meat.

I also add the sliced jalapeños to the onions when pickling—it takes a bit of the heat off of them so my self-proclaimed spice-hating friends can actually enjoy them!




About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.


Hungry For More?

Seared Skirt Steak with Salsa

Hungry for something flavorful and good-for-you? This seared skirt steak is jam-packed with everything you need.

50 mins

Homemade Corned Beef

Homemade corned beef is crazy easy to make. And it’s not just for St. Patrick’s Day. Although the holiday simply isn’t the same without it.

5 d 3 hrs

Steak au Poivre (Julia Child’s Recipe)

Julia Child updated the French classic with mixed peppercorns and allspice to lend a little intrigue. A surprisingly quick yet altogether swoon-worthy weeknight dinner.

25 mins


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




10 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    These tacos are absolutely AAAAHHHHmazing. These tacos are full of flavor and the process seemed pretty easy (I was a bystander to all the cooking stuffs Kristen was doing). I’ve already asked when we’re having next taco night. 10/10. Would overeat again!

    1. It can be good to be a bystander, yes, Emily?! Laughs. Love that you are being well cared for by this recipe. We’re quite fond of it, too. And now you’ve got us thinking perhaps we need to find someone to make it for us…?! Looking forward to hearing which recipe on the site you swoon to next!

  2. 5 stars
    This recipe is so easy and so $%&# delicious it’s scandalous! I made it on a whim a few months ago and since then, it’s become the most requested meal at my house. If friends are coming over on the weekend, they ask if I’m making this. If I’m having an impromptu weeknight wine or beer tasting, my friends ask if I’m making this. They have the audacity to request it almost every party. It’s THAT good. The fact it’s super quick and simple is just the icing on the cake—or topping on the taco, as it were. The only things I’ve dared add are some sliced jalapeños when pickling the onions, and Cotija alongside the pickled veggies, cilantro, and lime wedges. And now you’ll have to excuse me because the grill is ready.

    1. Laughs. Where are the fireworks and hearts emojis?! Enthralled that you and everyone you know adore this recipe so, Kristen. Equally enthralled that you took the time to let us know. Many, many kind thanks.

    2. 5 stars
      I didn’t make the recipe but I eat it all the time when Kristen makes it. She’s right, it’s so simple to make and so delicious that we have banned her from making sad excuses about why there is no time to make them. Keep these recipes coming…..they keep me fat and happy!

      1. Laughs! Andre, I don’t know you, but I’m already crushing on you. Keep Kristen in line and we’ll keep the recipes coming!

    3. 5 stars
      BEST RECIPE! HANDS DOWN! I’ve never had a marinade give meat so much flavor! This is a must try recipe! The pickled onions get better with time too!

      1. Thanks so much, Jessica! We’re delighted that you enjoyed them so much. Thanks for taking the time to let us know.

  3. I don’t understand your need (talking about all American people) to add sugar to all the recipes. At least in Mexican food it is very, very rare to add sugar directly to the principal dish or the sauces. For a more Mexican feel, try to avoid the sugar. Plus sugar is very bad for the health.

    PS: Thanks anyway for your page, it is very good.

    1. Cesar, thank you for sharing your thoughts and for the kind compliment. We readily confess that this isn’t traditional Mexican cooking. It’s more Tex Mex. No question. And you’re right, Americans do tend to add copious amounts of sugar to everything, which trains the palate to expect sweetness everywhere. Like you, I regard this tendency with frustration and try to resist it. As a yoga teacher who’s taken nutrition coursework, I’m incredibly moderate in my intake of sugar. Although as a home cook and someone who’s career has been spent learning about food, I respectfully would like to say that sometimes a small amount of sugar (1 tablespoon divvied among all the servings in this recipe) serves to underscore the other flavors and sorta smooth them all together. And when it comes to sugar and steak, I once wrote a feature for The Washington Post regarding the complex interplay of sweet and savory and how even one of the most noted chefs in America concurred that something magical happens when the two seemingly incongruous ingredients come together. Just a pinch is all it takes to facilitate a very complex reaction that brings about an almost umami-like taste.

      So in theory, yes, I completely agree with you. In practice, though, I sneak in a little moderation in all things, including moderation. I hope you try some of our other sugar-free recipes! We do have them in abundance! And again, thank you for calling us out on something that troubles you. We always welcome differing opinions!