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Margarita-Marinated Grilled Skirt Steak with Tomatillo Salsa


Serves 4-6

  • Make the menu:
    A Texas Steak Cookout
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 100

Grilling the tomatillos in this salsa mellows their sharp tanginess, making them a perfect foil for the big, beefy flavor of the grilled steak.

For the steak:
  • 2 limes
  • 1/3 cup tequila
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 Tbs. Cointreau
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 lb. skirt steak
  • Kosher salt
For the salsa:
  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil; more for the grill
  • 1 lb. tomatillos (10 to 15), husked and rinsed
  • 1 medium yellow bell pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 ripe medium avocado, diced
  • 2 Tbs. minced red onion
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Marinate the steak:

Finely grate the zest from 1 lime and put it in a 9x13-inch baking dish. Finely grate 1 tsp. zest from the second lime and set aside for the salsa. Juice the limes. Add 1/4 cup juice to the zest in the baking dish and mix 1 tsp. juice into the zest for the salsa.

To the baking dish, add the tequila, oil, cilantro, Cointreau, garlic, and pepper flakes; whisk to combine. Season the steak all over with 1/2 tsp. salt. Add it to the marinade and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours, turning the steak after 1 hour.

Make the salsa:

Prepare a medium gas or charcoal grill fire. Scrub the grill grate with a wire brush and then wipe clean with a paper towel dipped in oil.

Rub the tomatillos and yellow pepper all over with the 1 Tbs. oil and season with 1/2 tsp. salt. Grill the tomatillos, turning occasionally, until they have good grill marks and are starting to collapse, about 6 minutes. Grill the pepper, turning occasionally, until charred all over, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the tomatillos to a plate and let cool. Put the pepper in a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit until cool enough to handle.

Roughly chop the tomatillos and put them in a medium bowl. Peel the skin from the pepper, remove the seeds, and cut into small dice. Add the pepper to the tomatillos along with the avocado, onion, cilantro, jalapeño, and the reserved lime zest and juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Grill the steak:

Remove the steak from the marinade and pat it dry. Clean and oil the grill grates again. Grill the steak, covered, over medium heat until brown grill marks form on one side, about 5 minutes. Flip and cook until medium rare (130°F on an instant-read thermometer), 4 to 5 minutes more. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. Cut each steak crosswise into 2 or 3 pieces, and then thinly slice across the grain. Serve with the salsa on the side.

Make Ahead Tips

The salsa may be prepared up to 2 hours ahead.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with a Black Bean and Corn Salad and a Fresh Cherry Margarita to drink.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 380, Fat (kcal): 22, Fat Calories (g): 200, Saturated Fat (g): 6, Protein (g): 33, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 12, Carbohydrates (mg): 9, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 2.5, Sodium (g): 290, Cholesterol (g): 85, Fiber (g): 3,

Photo: Scott Phillips

We used skirt steak and the marinade was fine - but the tomatillo salsa was a knock-out! Really made the dish and certainly elevated above average! When I preview this review it isn't showing the five stars I rated it -

I added an ear of fresh corn to the grill that I used in the salsa - rounded it out nicely. Keeper!

I had sirloin tip which is great for quick grilling and great for Mexican & marinade, so used that. It's leaner and more tender than skirt steak, too. I happened to have a jar of green salsa and didn't really have time to go to the Latino grocery for the tomatillos, so used that with tomatos, avocado, cilantro & bell pepper. It was great and quick. I'll try next time with tomatillos and a couple of other chilis, maybe roasted poblanos as well as the other ingredients. Thanks for the idea. Would be great as a taco filling, too.

The tomatillo salsa in this recipe is definitely the best salsa I've ever made at home--very refreshing. By contrast, the elaborate marinade didn't add much flavor to the skirt steak. In the future, I'll be making a double batch of the salsa and just giving the meat a simple salt cure before grilling. I'll also be using sirloin instead of skirt steak.

Outstanding receipe - gets better the second day!

We really enjoyed the salsa but the skirt steak was just ok.

I agree -- definitely a keeper. Instead of cointreau I substituted triple sec (definitely less pricey and I had it on hand.) Can't wait to try the left overs tomorrow in a salad.

Just tried it tonight and it's a keeper. I threw a little diced roasted green chilies in the salsa because I had them around, but it didn't need anything. Most can be done ahead so it's a great meal for entertaining. Thanks again Fine Cooking!

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