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

Flank Steak (with Horseradish Sauce)

Flank Steak (with Horseradish Sauce)

by Cat, June 2010 (photo, right, from (3))

Includes: 1. Margarita-Marinated & Grilled Skirt Steak, with Tomatillo-Avocado

See also: 1. Flank Steak, Grilled, and Stuffed with Mushrooms and Blue Cheese

Flank steak, skirt steak and hangar steak are fairly interchangeable in recipes because   all come from the belly of the steer. Flank steak is usually more readily available of the three cuts. See (2) for great photos and descriptions of the various belly cuts.



If you are not familiar with tomatillos, they are a cousin of the tomato and look a bit like tomatoes, but with a papery covering. My favorites are the purple tomatillo but green tomatillos as pictured, left (from Wikimedia Commons) can be used.

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

This recipe is adapted from Fine Cooking magazine; the original recipe is by Melissa Pellegrino (1). From the introduction: “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.

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.

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

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.

Ingredients & Equipment:


  • 1 lime
  • 3 Tbsp tequila
  • 2 tsp Cointreau Triple Sec (Orange flavored liqueur), or brandy, in a pinch
  • 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


  • 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


  • 9″ square baking dish
  • small and medium bowls
  • grill
  • wire brush


Marinate steak:

  1. Lime: 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 1/2 tsp juice into the zest for the salsa.
  2. Add booze, oil, garlic and pepper flakes to baking dish; whisk to combine.
  3. Season steak all over with 1/4 tsp salt. Add steak to marinade and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours, turning steak after 1 hour.

Make Salsa:

  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 1/2 Tbsp oil, then season with 1/4 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.

Assembly or Serving ideas


  1. Fine Cooking magazine, original recipe  by Melissa Pellegrino
  2. Fine’s Fresh Cherry Margarita:
  3. (

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