Steak is king of the grill during summer and our Grilled Marinated Skirt Steak with Mustard Greens Pesto does not disappoint.  No siree, Bob.   A peppery, bright colored mustard greens pesto, with toasted pine nuts and garlic, is an excellent tasting sauce to accompany the beefy flavors of grilled skirt steak.

Grilled Skirt Steak with Mustard Greens Pesto |

Skirt steak is a thin cut of beef that likes being cooked on a very hot grill.  This is not a low and slow grilling situation.  We want to get a nice crust seared on the outside without overdoing it on the inside.

Loaded with beefy flavor, skirt steak tastes best when cooked rare to medium-rare.  Aim for an internal temperature of about 125°F to 135°F.

Me personally, I prefer my steaks rare.  Or as I like to say, just past the vet saving it.

Grilled Skirt Steak with Mustard Greens Pesto |

The Flat Steak Sisters: Skirt, Flank and Hangar

Attention grill people: summer isn’t over yet.  Despite all the back to school commercials on TV.

So, let’s head on over to the butcher.  We’ll find skirt steak on display either folded in half or rolled up in neat little packages.  Now, buy one.  Just a pound or two will do.

Skirt, like her sisters flank and hanger, has a flat oblong shape, and we see them displayed up front and center at our butcher throughout the summer.

Of the three, our favorite is skirt for its flavor, affordability and availability.  Each has intense beefy flavor, but skirt steak takes home the prize.

Hangar steak is also a great grilling steak but it’s sometimes difficult to find and when skirt is in short supply, flank is a capable stand-in.

Skirt Steak |

Grill each side of your skirt steak for about 5 minutes.  If you’re grilling indoors like we are, the marinade can kick up quite a bit of smoke when the steak hits the hot grill pan.

Regarding the often discussed issue of which oil to use, check out this article by Dan McGee regarding the taste of oils used in high-temperature cooking methods.  Essentially, his advice is to use the oil you prefer and can afford, but learn how to detect if that oil has gone off or turned rancid in the first place.

For marinating meats prior to grilling, we always prefer to use extra virgin olive oil for its flavor.  Regardless of any smoke point controversy or dubious health issue.

Grilled Skirt Steak with Mustard Greens Pesto |

After resting the steak for 5 minutes, it is important that we slice our skirt steak against the grain in thin strips.  The meat fibers will be shorter when cut this way as opposed to cutting parallel to the grain, where the fibers will be long and tougher to chew.

What exactly is the grain when talking about steaks?

With flat steaks, it’s fairly easy to determine the grain of the meat.  There are striations or lines made up of meat fibers all running in the same direction which create a pattern that could be compared to wood grain.  Always make perpendicular cuts across those lines.  Also, hold you knife at a 45-degree slant for each slice.  Cutting on the bias like this produces the best skirt steak slice.

Grilled Skirt Steak with Mustard Greens Pesto |
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Grilled Marinated Skirt Steak with Mustard Greens Pesto
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Grilled skirt steak screams summertime and takes only about 10 minutes on the grill. As is the case with most pesto sauces, a food processor makes quick work of emulsifying the olive oil and mustard greens into the perfect sauce for meat.
Serves: 4
  • 1 lb skirt steak
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil or canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worsheshire sauce
  • 2 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 2 cups mustard greens
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed
  • ¼ cup pine or pistachio nuts, toasted
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 handful of Italian parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Make the marindade: In a large glass bowl combine olive oil, soy sauce, Worshesire sauce, sliced garlic, onion powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Whisk to combine.
  2. Remove skirt steak from packaging, and lay flat in a shallow bottomed glass dish. You might have to fold the shirt steak in half. Pour marinade over steak, cover with plastic wrap and allow to marinate as long as you have time for.
  3. Alternatively, you can marinate your skirt steak in a large 1-gallon resealable freezer bag.
  4. Make the pesto: For the pesto you'll need a food processor or a high-speed blender to break down the mustard greens and emulsify the olive oil.
  5. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add to that one tablespoon of canola oil. Sauté smashed garlic for 1 minute. This enhances the garlic and removes the raw taste which can be overpowering for some palates.
  6. Add mustard greens, trimmed of their stems, to your food processor fitted with the large blade attachment. Add in toasted nuts and grated parmesan cheese and sauteed garlic.
  7. Pulse several times until greens being to break down. Pour in a thin stream of olive oil from the top and continuing pulsing. Add enough olive oil so that the pesto develops and pourable consistency.
  8. Preheat a large cast iron skillet or grill pan and brush with canola oil. Grill each side of the steak for about 5 minutes. Remove and let sit for 5 minutes before slicing.
  9. Slice steaks thinly across the grain. Pour pesto over slices and serve.
Add an anchovy fillet to your pesto for extra depth of flavour. Folks love to hate on anchovies but all that squeamishness it's unwarranted. The anchovy addition will be undetectable with absolutely zero fishiness but will boost the flavor profile of your sauce.
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