Margarita-Marinated Grilled Skirt Steak, with Tomatillo-Avocado Salsa

US Beef Cuts

US Beef Cuts

By Cat, June 2010 (Image, right, from Wikmedia Commons)

Skirt steak is a cut from the ‘plate’ or belly of the steer, just behind the brisket. Other belly cuts such as hangar and flank steak can be substituted in this recipe.

I received a very nice Weber propane grill as a retirement gift from the phone company, but it is still in the box because I don’t t have a deck or a place to set it up. In the mean time, I’m collecting recipes and using my Mom’s old round charcoal grill, which is a bit of a hassle.

I love the idea of marinating the steak in a freshly-made-from-scratch margarita, but I’ve not yet tested this recipe.

Margarita-Marinated & Grilled Skirt Steak, with Tomatillo-Avocado Salsa

This recipe is adapted from Fine Cooking magazine (1); “Grilling the tomatillos in this salsa mellows their sharp tanginess, making them a perfect foil for the big beefy flavor of the grilled steak.” The original serves 4 – 6; I’ve converted the recipe to serve 2 – 3.

Skirt steak is from the belly of the animal; if you cannot get skirt steak, hangar or flank steak would be a good substitute.

Of course, you could use a margarita mix for the marinade rather than making your own as in this recipe. But these mixes often have undesirable (unhealthful) ingredients, so I recommend making your own as per the recipe.

My Mom always told me not to salt beef until after searing (unless I want it to be tough), so I’m not sure it’s a good idea to add salt to the marinade. This is something I’ll need to test.

The original recipe calls for canola oil, but I much prefer to use olive oil, since most commercial canola oil is GMO, and even if not GMO, contains toxic substances from its genetic parent, the rape seed.

The salsa can be made up to 2 hours ahead.

Marinate the Steak with Margarita Marinade:

  • 1 lime
  • 3 Tbsp tequila
  • 2 tsp Cointreau
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 – 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/16 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 lb skirt steak
  • Unrefined sea salt or Kosher salt
  • 9″ square baking dish
  1. Margarita marinade: Grate zest of the lime. Put half the zest into baking dish; set the remainder aside for the salsa. Juice the lime; add 2 Tbsp juice to the zest in the baking dish (and mix ½ tsp juice into the zest for the salsa). Add booze, oil, garlic and pepper flakes to baking dish; whisk to combine.
  2. Season steak all over with ¼ tsp sea salt (or a bit more if using Kosher salt). Add steak to marinade and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours, turning steak after 1 hour.

Prepare Salsa:

  • ½ Tbsp olive oil; more for the grill
  • ½ pound (5 – 7) tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • ½ medium yellow bell pepper
  • Unrefined sea salt
  • ¼ ripe medium avocado, diced
  • 1 Tbsp minced red onion
  • ½ Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • ½ jalapeño, seeded and minced
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • plate
  • medium bowl
  • grill
  • wire brush
  1. Prepare grill with a medium gas or charcoal fire. Scrub grill grate with wire brush then wipe clean with a paper towel dipped in oil.
  2. Rub tomatillos and yellow pepper all over with ½ Tbsp oil, then season with ¼ tsp salt. Grill tomatillos and yellow pepper, turning occasionally, until tomatillos have good grill marks and are starting to collapse, about 6 minutes, and until pepper is charred all over, 8 – 10 minutes.
  3. Transfer tomatillos to plate to cool, then chop into medium bowl. Transfer pepper to small covered bowl until cool enough to handle. Then peel the skin and chop pepper into a small dice and add to tomatillos. Add remaining ingredients including lime zest/juice, and season with salt & pepper to taste.

Grill Steak:

  1. Remove steak from marinade and pat dry. Clean and oil grill grates again. Grill steak, covered, over medium heat, until brown grill marks form on one side, about 5 minutes. Flip and cook until medium rare, 4 – 5 minutes more.
  2. Transfer to cutting board and let rest 5 minutes. Slice each steak crosswise into 2- 3 pieces, then thinly slice across the grain.
  3. Serve with salsa on the side.

Serving ideas


  1. Fine Cooking Magazine recipe by Melissa Pellegrino
  2. Fine’s Fresh Cherry Margarita:

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