Why Is Skirt Steak So Expensive? [+ Cheaper Alternatives]

As a long time vegetarian, I am clueless when it comes to buying meat. My husband doesn’t eat meat often, but he always enjoys a nice cut of beef if the occasion calls for it.

I do the majority of the grocery shopping, and I was surprised to see just how expensive skirt steak is. 

If we’re cooking fajitas or stir-fry, my husband loves a nice skirt steak. Recently I came home with a slice of skirt steak and he was shocked at the price under $17!

Not knowing any better, I thought this was a normal price for what he asked for, but he assured me that it was rather high. Needless to say, he savored every bite of that steak! 

Skirt steak was once considered a scrap cut of beef, but it has gained popularity in recent years once people realized just how delicious it is. You can find skirt steak from $15 – $65, now making it one of the more expensive cuts of beef. 

Skirt steak has gained popularity in recent years because of its versatility and how quick it is to cook. Naturally, skirt steak has a delicious flavor that doesn’t need much added to it. The rich, bold taste makes it the perfect addition to tacos, fajitas, or stir-fry. 

Why Is It Expensive?

Simply put, the price of all cuts of beef has gone up in the last few years with the pandemic.

It costs farmers a lot of money to feed their cattle and keep them healthy. Plus, the price factories pay to break down the beef to be sold has gone up as well. 

One of the big reasons skirt steak has increased in price is because people have realized just how delicious it actually is.

The supply has to keep up with the demand for this particular cut of beef, which will naturally cause the cost to increase. 

Each cow produces only two skirt steaks, which means you need a lot of cows to keep up with the demand.  

Skirt Steak

Because it’s increased popularity, it may be more difficult to find at your local grocery store.

Your best chance to find it may be at your local butcher shop, which will come with it’s own high price tag.

The Cost Of Skirt Steak

With any beef product, the price will vary depending on where you shop. Skirt steak is no different and is available at most grocery stores, butcher shops, and even Target. 

The average cost of skirt steak is $8 per pound, but you can find it for as low as $9.99  up to $65.42 per package.

The cost variation will depend on the volume you’re getting, along with the overall quality. 

Stores like Target aren’t known for selling the highest quality meats, which is why they have a much lower price.

Smaller, gourmet butcher shops can sell beef at a higher price because it’s a better quality. 

The price of beef will continue to rise and fall depending on the agricultural production, especially during a pandemic.

Even smaller cuts like skirt steak will be affected by these fluctuations. 

Why Is Skirt Steak Unique?

Skirt steak is a long, thin cut of meat from the diaphragm area of the cow, just under the rib section. 

It is moderately meaty with a relatively high fat content, which gives it its strong flavor. 

There are actually two cuts of skirt steak, the outside skirt and the inside skirt, and it’s important to know the difference between the two. 

The outside skirt is more common because it is tender and less coarse than the inside skirt. It will be three to four inches wide and about 1-inch thick.

The outside skirt is perfect for those looking for a quick-cooking steak that will take on a lot of flavor. 

The inside skirt is much wider than the outside skirt, but it is half as thick. It has a chewy texture and is often tenderized before cooking to ensure it’s more palatable. 

If you’re unsure of whether you’re buying an outside or an inside cut, it’s best to ask your local butcher. 

Skirt steak can be found in cuisine all across the world. It also goes by the names Romanian tenderloin, Philadelphia steak, or Arrachera in Mexico. 

Skirt Steak

Top 5 Skirt Steak Alternatives

With any cut of beef it’s important to take a look at all of the options available. Beef has many cuts that are similar to skirt steak that will yield a similar result.

Below you’ll find some of the most popular cuts of beef available today.

1.Hanger Steak

Hanger steak is another flat cut of beef with great flavor, similar to skirt steak. It has a decent amount of marbling, which means the fat will provide rich flavor and make the steak juicy.

It yields much more tender meat than skirt steak, although it can become tough if cooked for too long.

2.Flap Steak

Flap steak is generally more affordable than skirt steak and is a much thinner cut of beef.

Because of its texture, it is one of the best alternatives to skirt steak that you can find, although it tends to be on the chewier side.

3.Flank Steak


Flank steak comes from the abdominal region right next to the short plate. It has a less intense beefy flavor when compared to skirt steak, and it is noticeably thicker.

A good visual cue is that skirt steak has the grain running across the width of the meat, whereas the flank runs lengthwise.

4.Flat Iron Steak

Flat iron steak comes from the shoulder of the animal. It is much thicker and more marbled than skirt steak, which gives it a meatier taste.

Flat iron steak is best when given a quick sear and then cooked on a lower temperature.

5.Eye Of Round Steak

Eye of round is a lean cut of beef, but much thicker than others on our list.

It’s most often slow-cooked and used in beef stew, stir fry, or even thinly cut and added to tacos or sandwiches.

Skirt Steak$14.99/lb
Hanger Steak$13.99/lb
Flap Steak$12.99/lb
Flank Steak$12.59/lb
Flat Iron Steak$11.99/lb
Eye of Round Steak$10.99/lb

How Does It Taste?

Skirt steak has an unbelievably intense, rich, beefy flavor, but it’s also a tougher cut of beef.

If you’re looking for a steak that easily highlights the natural flavors, skirt steak may be the best choice for you.

When cooked correctly, you will find a perfectly tender, flavorful cut of beef that doesn’t take too long to cook.

The best temperature to enjoy skirt steak is a medium-rare to medium temp to ensure it isn’t overcooked. 

What Makes It Unique

Skirt steak has a unique accordion-like structure of coarse muscle fibers that provide an increased surface area. This means that more flavor can naturally come out and that the steak is good on it’s own.  

Cooking it fast and with a high heat will ensure you get the best result. Because there isn’t much connective tissue in skirt steak, you won’t have to worry about cooking it low and slow.

Fattier cuts of meat work better when cooked low and slow to help break down connective tissue, but you won’t have to worry about that with skirt steak.

Although it’s a higher price, it is a relatively easy cut of beef to cook for even the most inexperienced chefs!

How To Enjoy It

Any purist will tell you that skirt steak is best enjoyed cooked medium-rare with just salt and pepper. There are so many ways to enjoy this delicious cut of beef!

Skirt steak is most popular in dishes like fajitas, tacos, or stir-fry. You can also cook it on high heat in a cast iron skillet or broiled 

You can even make it the main focus of the dish and serve it with roasted potatoes and vegetables.

Since skirt steak was once considered to be a scrap piece of beef, it is easy to forget that it has a delicious flavor on its own. 

Due to its size and fat content, skirt steak absorbs marinades very quickly. Most recipes suggest you only marinate it for about 30 minutes before cooking, making it an easy week-night dish to enjoy.  

You will find the best texture for skirt steak comes with just a few moments of contact on a preheated pan. Cooking it past medium-rare or medium will result in an extremely dry and chewy steak. 

Once you’ve cooked your steak to medium-rare perfection, it’s best to cut it across the grain in thin pieces.

Cutting the steak at a 45-degree angle will create a bias cut, ensuring additional tenderness and retention of the juices.

Approachability Of Skirt Steak

One of the best parts about skirt steak is how approachable it is. You don’t need a fancy grill or skillet to cook it, or worry about a time consuming marinade. 

All you really need to cook it and do it justice is olive oil, salt, and pepper. All of the other things mentioned above are just additional things you can do to enhance the flavor of your skirt steak. 

If you’re new to cooking, or just cooking beef, skirt steak is a great place to start!

Is It Worth The Price?

Although skirt steak was once considered to be a scrap cut of beef, it has taken on a new life as people have realized how delicious it is. Once you understand how to cook it to perfection, it is completely worth adding to your meal planning. 

There are many factors that make skirt steak a great option for whatever dish you’re cooking.

If you find in your budget that you can splurge on a skirt steak every once in a while, it’s totally worth it. 

We hope that after reading this article you see for yourself why skirt steak is a little more expensive than other cuts of beef and that there are many ways to enjoy it! 

Leave a Comment