When it comes to fajitas, the only true cut to use is the outside skirt steak. The very name “fajita” means “little belt,” referring to the shape of this cut. The vaqueros, or Spanish cowboys, working in Texas received this lesser-known cut as part of their pay. They marinated the beef in lime juice to tenderize it and then grilled it. Sliced and served on flour tortillas, the fajita they invented became a popular dish in Tex-Mex cuisine.
Increasingly hard to find, the outside skirt steak is the diaphragm muscle from below the rib and between the brisket and flank. It has a membrane and some fat that must be removed before cooking. This cut demands a little attention from the cook in the way of trimming, but rewards with its tenderness and depth of flavor.
This cut is plumper than the inside skirt, and is long and narrow, leaving a lot of surface to take on a lovely sear. Marinate it, and cook it hot and fast, leaving it medium rare, or it will get too tough.
Our beef is reared on grassy pastures in the Northwestern United States by an almost two-decades-old cooperative of ranchers committed to strict protocols of humane animal husbandry. The cattle are finished on a 100% vegetarian diet of barley, corn and hay to produce a consistently marbled and flavorful meat. No antibiotics, hormones, steroids or animal by-products of any kind are used, which means the cattle take a little longer to come to market, but that’s fine with us. A stress-free lifestyle produces tasty results.