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Skirt Vs Ribeye Steak

Skirt steak is cut from the plate area of a cow which is just under the rib. It’s a tougher cut of steak that’s thinner with a visible grain which makes it great for cutting into strips or chunks. Skirt steak in cheaper and usually not served like a traditional steak as a whole piece. They’re usually cut up and included in a recipe like stir fry or served with a sauce. Ribeye steaks are cut from the rib section of the cow. They’re more tender, fattier and expensive. Ribeye can be more than double the price of skirt. They’re usually served as a whole steak and not cut up. Ribeye is a high end restaurant steak, but some of the most flavorful beef dishes, like fajitas, are cooked with skirt. So Skirt vs Ribeye steak, which is best?

Which is the better cut depends a lot on how you’ll be serving the steak. If you want a traditional single cut of steak for dinner, ribeye is definitely the better choice. Sear it in a cast iron skillet to lock in its juices and then let it slow cook in the oven. But if you’re cooking a beef dish, like steak tacos, skirt is a great choice. It’s tougher than ribeye, but when its tenderized and cut up properly, you can hardly notice because of how its prepared.

Price is a big factor when comparing ribeye vs skirt steak. Ribeye steaks are considered a premium cut. They can cost more than double the price of skirt. But if you’re a steak lover then ribeye is the better choice. However if you’re not a steak lover but like beef dishes, like steak fajitas, save some money and use a skirt steak.

Which Is Better Skirt Or Ribeye Steak?

Which cut of steak is better, ribeye or skirt, depends on the recipe and your budget. Ribeye is served as a whole steak while skirt is sliced and served as part of a dish like steak tacos.

Rib-eye looks like a traditional steak. It has thick areas of fat, a smooth grained center and a short section of bone. It’s tender and typically served whole. But tenderness varies. More tender ribeyes are cut closer to the short loin. Less tender cuts are taken from the thicker chuck end.

When I’m in the mood for a steak, I choose ribeye. They’re tender, flavorful and served like a traditional steak dinner. But when I feel like steak tacos, fajitas or a stir fry, I prefer skirt. It’s a delicious cut that works well when sliced up in beef dishes.

Ribeye steaks can be served bone in or boneless, the latter is called a Delmonico.

  • Usually at least an inch thick.
  • Served in one piece as a whole steak.
  • Cut from the area between the sixth and 12th ribs on the cow.
  • Not as lean or tender as steaks cut from the short loin, but not as tough as cuts from the chuck.
  • More expensive.

Skirt steaks are a long, thin strip of meat cut from the plate area of the cow. They look very similar to a flank steak, but have a grain that runs cross ways rather than long ways. This is how you can tell a skirt and flank steak apart.

  • Skirt is also known as short plate.
  • Has a thin membrane that’s removed before cooking.
  • Tougher than rib-eye.
  • Has a strong, beefy flavor and higher fat content than flank.
  • Cheaper than rib-eye.
  • Thinner than ribeye which makes it great for serving in strips rather than as a whole steak.

skirt vs ribeye steak infographic 7

Which Is Juicier?

If you cook the two steaks in the exact same way, ribeye is juicier than skirt. But generally you don’t cook them the same.

Ribeye steaks are typically served as a traditional whole steak. They’re seared, grilled or cooked in the oven with salt, pepper and other seasoning. Usually ribeyes are eaten with a side of vegetables, potatoes or fries. They have a good amount of fat and marbling which makes them a juicy steak if you cook them properly.

Skirt steaks aren’t typically served as a standalone meal. If they are, they’re flash fried in a really hot pan. They’re a very thin steak that’s dense and lean. Which means they don’t have a lot of natural juices. To compensate for this, skirt is usually cooked as part of a beef dish like steak tacos, fajitas or sit fry. Marinades, oils, fats and sauces are what bring the juice to a skirt steak.

Ribeye steaks are much juicier than skirt. However, because of how skirt steak is prepared, it isn’t dry. In many beef dishes that use a lot of sauces, skirt can actually be juicier than ribeye. But those juices don’t come from the steak.

Flavor

Ribeye and skirt steak both have a great beef flavor. However they usually taste a lot different when cooked because of how they’re prepared.

Skirt steak has less marbling to keep it moist so it benefits a lot from marinade and sauces. It’s not the most tender or juicy cut of beef. But you can compensate for that by adding fats and juices in while you cook or prepare the meat. This is one of the main reasons skirt is usually served in beef dishes rather than as a whole steak.

Rib-eye is a traditional steak with marbling and fat that keeps it juicy. It’s typically served whole with just salt and pepper for flavor. Rib-eye is more tender and juicier than skirt.

For either cut, steak should be room temperature before you start cooking. Skirt usually thaws a lot faster because it’s thinner. I let my skirt steaks marinade in the fridge overnight before I cook them. But I don’t flavor ribeyes with salt and pepper until just before I start grilling.

  • Marinate skirt steak in oil and spices with a little acid.
  • Citrus juice or vinegar will both flavor the meat and tenderize it.
  • Soy sauce provides color and a nice flavor when mixed with garlic. 
  • A salt rub draws out moisture to enhance caramelization in the pan.
  • Asian flavors are fantastic with a skirt steak stir fry. Try ginger, garlic, chili and and a little soy.
  • Ribeyes are great grilled with just a salt and black pepper rub.
  • Seer a ribeye in a hot skillet with butter and garlic.
  • Both cuts of steak go great with a fresh salad and tomatoes.

Cooking Ribeye & Skirt Steak

Cooking skirt steak vs ribeye is a little different because of how they’re prepared. Skirt is thinner and leaner so it benefits from fast cooking or a marinade. Ribeye is thicker, fatter and more tender so it can be seared and then slow cooked in an oven or grill.

Skirt steak

Skirt doesn’t have much fat so it dries out easily. It either needs a short cook on a hot skillet or slow cooking in a liquid or fats. Since skirt doesn’t have fat you need to add the juices. Use a marinade, sauces, oils or butter with seasonings.

  • Fry skirt in a little butter or oil with seasoning for just two or three minutes per side, then let it rest.
  • Skirt is naturally tougher and dryer than ribeye so cooking it rare to medium is usually best. Anything more and the steak will be tough and chewy.
  • Slow-cook skirt in a Dutch oven or pressure cooker until it begins to fall apart. Then shred it with a fork to make a thick stew.
  • Slice skirt and cook it in a pan with oils, butter and seasonings to make a stir fry or steak tacos.

Rib-eye

Ribeye is fantastic when seared in a cast iron skillet and then slow cooked in the oven. The steaks own fat is enough to cook it so you don’t need much additional oil or fat. Be generous with the salt before you cook and add course ground pepper. I also like garlic on my steaks. Remember to sear both sides and the edges. Most rib-eyes are at least an inch thick. Searing locks in a steaks juices and makes it more flavorful and tender.

Once the steak is done cooking, let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes before you serve it. This lets the juices move from the surface back into the meat.

If you’re grilling a rib-eye, make sure to sear it first. This locks in the steaks juices. Grilling a steak without searing lets the fat run off and create flare ups. The result is a dryer steak that’s less tender.

If you don’t have a sear pan, use a 2 zone grill. Make one side of the grill very hot and one side medium. Sear the steak on the hot side and then finish cooking on the cooler side of the grill.

skirt vs ribeye steak infographic 5

Price

In terms of price per pound of beef, skirt steak is a lot cheaper than ribeye. Usually costing around half as much per pound. But there are other things to consider than just the steak.

  • 1 Pound of certified Angus Skirt Steak costs around $24 per pound.
  • Regular cuts of Skirt cost around $10 per pound.

Ribeye is about double the cost of skirt.

  • 1 Pound of Certified Angus Ribeye steak costs me around $45 per pound.
  • Regular cuts of ribeye cost around $20 per pound.

In addition to the cost of the beef, you have to consider how you’re going to cook it too.

Skirt steak is usually cooked with sauces or a marinade as part of a larger beef dish. So you’ll have to factor in the price of those other foods. If you’re cooking steak tacos you’ll need foods like tortillas, rice, beans, onions, peppers, sauce, cheese, beans, etc. All these extra ingredients can easily add $10 – $15 to the meal. A pound of skirt turned into a meal can usually feed a family or four.

Ribeye is usually served whole with a vegetable or salad. All you need to cook it is some salt and pepper and maybe a little butter. It goes great with broccoli, potatoes, carrots or fries. You don’t need as much extra food with a ribeye because it’s the main dinner but you still need about another $5 – $10 for a side. A pound of ribeye is usually just for a single person.

Because of serving sizes and how the steaks are prepared, ribeye is actually a lot more expensive than skirt.

Meal Ideas

Rib-eye makes a great traditional steak dinner when served with just salt and pepper and a vegetable or a side of fries. However, I love ribeyes with some butter and garlic, a simple oil marinade or a sauce.

Skirt is a fantastic steak for marinading or beef dishes. Steak tacos, fajitas and stir fry are a few great meals you can make with skirt. Make sure to cook skirt with added juices or fats because it dries out easily. Or flash-fry it in a super hot pan. 2-3 Minutes per side max.

Calories

Ribeye steak has more calories that skirt because it has more fat. But skirt has more protein. If you’re looking for a juicier more tender steak, ribeye is the better choice. But if you want less calories and more protein, go with skirt.

per 3.5 ounces Ribeye steak Skirt steak
Calories 290 220
Fat 21.81 g 12.05 g
Protein 23.69 g 26.13 g
Water 54.49 g 60.34 g
Calcium 11 mg 11 mg
Iron 2.24 mg 2.77 mg
Magnessium 22 mg 24 mg
Potassium 260 mg 289 mg
Sodium 54 mg 75 mg
Vitaminium B1 (Thiamine) 0.071 mg 0.09 mg
Vitaminium B2 (riboflavin) 0.287 mg 0.191 mg
Vitaminium B3 (Niacin) 4.908 mg 3.745 mg
Vitaminium B6 0.477 mg 0.321 mg
Vitaminium B9 (Folic acid) 0.006 mg 0.007 mg
Vitaminium E 0.1 mg 0.1 mg

Summary: Skirt Vs Ribeye Steak

Skirt steak is cut from the plate area of a cow which is just under the rib. It’s a tougher cut of steak that’s thinner with a visible grain which makes it great for cutting into strips or chunks. Skirt steak in cheaper and usually not served like a traditional steak as a whole piece. They’re usually cut up and included in a recipe like stir fry or served with a sauce. Ribeye steaks are cut from the rib section of the cow. They’re more tender, fattier and expensive. Ribeye can be more than double the price of skirt. They’re usually served as a whole steak and not cut up. Ribeye is a high end restaurant steak, but some of the most flavorful beef dishes, like fajitas, are cooked with skirt. So Skirt vs Ribeye steak, which is best?

Which is the better cut depends a lot on how you’ll be serving the steak. If you want a traditional single cut of steak for dinner, ribeye is definitely the better choice. Sear it in a cast iron skillet to lock in its juices and then let it slow cook in the oven. But if you’re cooking a beef dish, like steak tacos, skirt is a great choice. It’s tougher than ribeye, but when its tenderized and cut up properly, you can hardly notice because of how its prepared.

Price is a big factor when comparing steak. Ribeye steaks are considered a premium cut. They can cost more than double the price of skirt. But if you’re a steak lover then ribeye is the better choice. However if you’re not a steak lover but like beef dishes, like steak fajitas, save some money and use a skirt steak.

If you have any questions or comments about steak, email any time.

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