Saturday, May 28, 2016

Grilled Skirt Steak - Costco RYC Arrachera Steak Review

Skirt steak is not only a summer grilling favorite, but it's also a popular cut for fajitas and Chinese stir fry. I was recently asked if you could substitute flank steak for skirt steak, and you certainly can.

Grilled Skirt Steak
Skirt stake is preferred because it is usually just a bit thicker, but not substantially better than flank. Both come in large flat strips suitable for grilling or frying. Flank steak has a tender, wide-textured grain that makes it great for marinades. Skirt steak has an even looser texture that also absorbs marinades very well. Both have a rich, beefy flavor and are prepared in the same fashion. If you can get the very rare hanger steak, which is similar to skirt and flank, buy it. It is the most tender.

I provided you with my grilled flank recipe previously, so I will just send you there if you are looking for that. But today I wanted to give you a report on a piece of skirt steak I purchased at Costco.

Sold at Costco as a Pre-Marinated Skirt Steak
It's sold in the meat case under the RYC label as an Arrachera Beef Inside Skirt Steak. Arrachera beef is a savory Mexican specialty that is said to have originated with vaqueros driving their herds to south Texas in the 1930s. This RYC beef has been seasoned and marinated, which I thought would be a good thing, as I usually purchase mine at least a day in advance and spend the time marinating it with either a liquid marinade or dry rub. Unfortunately, I was not very pleased with the product.

A huge case of RYC Arrachera Beef Skirt at Costco
When unwrapping it, I found three pieces of meat, which in itself is just fine. The first was the largest piece which I unfolded into the typical rectangular shape. The second was the same but smaller. The third however, appeared to be scrap. This piece was in the center, with the nicer pieces wrapped around it. While it added to the weight to make the package labeling correct, it wasn't suitable for grilling and serving on its own. I will have to cut it up and use it for small pieces of beef in Chinese stir fry.  But this isn't my primary complaint.

The meat in the package is seasoned as noted and said to be marinated so it will be tender. Tender it certainly is. Almost fork tender. Whatever the marinade is, it certainly is absorbed into the meat and tenderizes it beyond recognition. There was no hearty beefy flavor left, just the flavor of the seasoning. It wasn't a bad flavor, just not a beefy flavor. It was rather salty. Worse yet, the marinade seems to have changed the texture completely. One of my guests thought it was ham. It does have a very similar texture, even if the look on the outside is more like beef.

Looks like beef. Texture like ham. An unhappy surprise.
The combination of the strange texture and the non-beefy flavor causes me to not enjoy the product. If you like processed meats, and don't mind your steak feeling like a soft piece of ham, then you might enjoy this. It is certainly tender. But not at all what I want when I'm looking for skirt or flank steak for either grilling or making into fajitas. I'd rather buy a fresh piece of unadulterated skirt steak and season it myself so it actually feels and tastes like beef. While I'm usually a great fan of Costco products, this time I'm giving it pass.


  1. You obviously have never had arracherra in Mexico. This is as close as you can get, and I found out very tasty and tender. The ham texture is exactly as it is intended. Good thing we don't all like the same thing :)

    1. Thanks for your comment. I'm glad you enjoyed the product.

  2. WOW. I guess I have never had Arrancherra in Mexico either, because I don't want my beef to taste like or have the texture of Ham. The Costco Arrancherra was disgusting. SO salty with an unnerving texture. I should have known better than to buy a "pre seasoned" skirt steak..just thought I might save some time. I'm going back to my old school method of home made marinade a day in advance. Wish I could return the remaining uncooked pieces of meat. Will not use the rest.

  3. I cut this product into 3 steaks and froze each in separate Ziplock bags. Having never made skirt steak before I was worried that I'd screw it up. We defrosted and then grilled the first piece last night. Followed the instructions completely and couldnt have been happier with the result. I hope this is a product that Costco keeps because I plan on getting more and serving throughout the summer. Texture, flavor and tenderness of this juicy steak is spot on.

  4. Inside skirt steak is an excellent cut, but all depends how it is prepared, you have to know how to do it, if done wrong it can be very gummy and chew like gum, has to be cut across the grain and grilled high heat and served medium, I would suggest first thing it at a Mexican restaurant.

  5. I'm not sure what your naysayers are eating but I'm certain that you have no idea what good flavor is. I am a chef and I still have to say that whatever marinade they use is amazing in this product. It is tender and flavorful and if it isn't up your alley, I got a suggestion, don't eat it. If you are used to it a certain way it's not worth comparing because it is not the same way you have cooked it. The great thing about flavors is there are so many of them. You cannot compare one to the other especially if the recipe is different. I'm not going to go pick up some kobe beef then go Buy a Fry's brand New York strip and expect them to taste the same because they put the name Kobe on it. It would be like me making you spaghetti and then you making spaghetti and expecting them to be identical. That is the great thing about this product is it's different. On a night that I couldn't throw something because, 1. I am a single father, 2. I work 10 to 11 hour days and three. I go to school full time. My son is used to Gourmet cooking and he is a very picky eater but he loves this recipe and anybody else I've showed it to does as well. It's packed with flavor and extremely tender. If you don't like it that's great because I don't think Costco carries it anymore. I honestly came here for the recipe as I got a very nice cut of skirt steak and was hoping to replicate this flavor since I can't buy it at Costco anymore. Again if you don't like it, I would recommend you don't buy it. But I do recommend is that you learned that nothing is the same and that variation, and different styles of cooking is what is so great about living in this country. So many different cultures and different food choices and flavors to stimulate your palate. you really shouldn't try to stick with one basic idea for how something can taste it and count everything else terrible.