I swore I was going to eat a little less meat. I guess I shouldn’t swear. A spontaneous invitation to visit friends in the Tetons threw a wrench into my plans. As they say, carpe diem — or seize the day, pack your bags and buy some nice wine to bring as a hostess gift. And make that red wine, because in that mountainous neck of the woods, you will be eating cowboy-sized portions of red meat.
I am convinced that the Rockies’ high altitude, dry air and vast landscape will make anyone (who is predisposed) into a ravenous carnivore. Bison, buffalo, elk and beef have a place on all menus. But if you are not a meat-eater, no worries. This is the land where the Snake River does its snaking, as it winds and loops its way along the border of Wyoming and Idaho, stocked full of bass and trout.
But this post is about the meat.
Since I cook, I took on the meal preps for this trip, and for one dinner I prepared this skirt steak recipe. Skirt steak is one of the easiest (and tastiest) cuts of beef to grill. It’s a thin, long cut that requires mere minutes on the grill. It also loves a good marinade, which is an easy do-ahead prep. Soak the meat in the marinade in the morning, and let the flavors infuse and tenderize the meat all day while you go about your business (or in our case, have some outdoor fun).
For this meal I made a simple blend of soy, brown sugar, lime juice and Sriracha — a magical combo of salt, sweet, sour and heat. After a day of marinating, the steak was ready for the grill, accompanied by a fresh green chimichurri sauce, easily blitzed in a food processor. It was a perfect ending to a day of activity, with lots of exercise, a few sore muscles and plenty of fresh air. The only remaining tasks required were to shower and pour a glass of some of that gifted wine.
SKIRT STEAK WITH CHIMICHURRI SAUCE
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons sriracha
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 pound skirt steak
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups packed fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
1 cup packed fresh Italian parsley leaves and tender stems
1/4 cup packed fresh oregano leaves
1 small jalapeño pepper, coarsely chopped (seeds optional)
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Whisk the marinade ingredients in a bowl.
Cut the steaks against the grain into 4-to-5-inch pieces. Place in a baking dish, add salt and pepper, and pour the marinade over. Turn to coat. Cover the dish and refrigerate the steak for at least 4 hours or overnight, occasionally turning the meat.
Prepare the chimichurri sauce: Combine all the sauce ingredients, except the oil, in the bowl of a food processor. Process to chop. With the motor running, add the oil in a steady stream to blend. Taste for seasoning. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until use.
Prepare your grill for direct cooking over high heat. Remove the steak from the marinade and discard the marinade. Grill the steak over high heat until well-marked and cooked to your desired doneness — 6 to 8 minutes for medium-rare, depending on the thickness of the meat — turning the steak once or twice.
Remove the steak from the grill and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Serve as is or slice the pieces, against the grain, into strips. Serve with the chimichurri.
Lynda Balslev is a San Francisco Bay Area cookbook author, food and travel writer and recipe developer.