• Yield: Serves 4

Although we don't often marinate, the unique striated texture of the skirt steak makes it a good candidate for this technique. The lime juice actually works its way into the fibers of the meat, giving it some citrus flavor. But don't let the meat sit in the juice for more than an hour, or the acid may start to make the surface of the meat unpleasantly mushy.

Chilean influences figure heavily in this dish, with its green olives, cumin, chiles, and lime juice.


  • 2 pounds skirt steak

  • 1 cup fresh lime juice (about 8 limes)

For the Rub:

  • 3 tablespoons cumin seeds (or 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin)

  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic

  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro

  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

For the Relish:

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pitted green olives

  • 1 teaspoon chopped dried red chile peppers of your choice, or to taste

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons freshly cracked black pepper


Place the steak in a shallow dish and pour the lime juice over it. Cover the dish and let it sit in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour, turning occasionally.

Light a fire in your grill.

In a small bowl, combine all the rub ingredients and mix well. Remove the steak from the marinade, pat dry with paper towels, and rub it all over with the spice rub, pressing gently to be sure it adheres.

When the fire has died down and the coals are hot (you can hold your hand 5 inches from the grill surface for 1 to 2 seconds), place the steak on the grill and cook until well-seared on one side, about 4 minutes. Turn and continue to cook to the desired doneness, about 4 minutes more for rare. To check for doneness, nick, peek, and cheat: Make a 1/4-inch cut in the thickest part of the meat and take a peek; it should be slightly less done than you like it. Remove the steak from the heat, cover it loosely with foil, and allow it to rest for 5 minutes while you make the relish.

In a medium bowl, combine all the relish ingredients and mix well.

Slice the steak as thin as possible against the grain and serve with the relish.

Other Cuts You Can Use: Flank steak is great here and hanger steak would also be fine. Any of the top round steaks or the chuck blade steak are also good options. If you use the check blade, though, remember to remove the line of gristle that runs down the center.

From How to Cook Meat, by Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby.

John Willoughby served as executive editor at Gourmet, senior editor at Cook's Illustrated and has co-authored eight cookbooks, including James Beard award-winner The Thrill of the Grill. He writes for publications such as The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Metropolitan Home and Saveur.
Christopher Schlesinger is a chef (he was the winner of the 1996 James Beard award for Best Chef of the Northeast), restaurateur, writer, cooking teacher and a founding member of the national organization Chefs 2000. With John Willoughby he co-authored five cookbooks, including the James Beard Cookbook award-winner The Thrill of the Grill. They also have a monthly feature in The New York Times, and have written articles for magazines such as GQ and Food & Wine. He serves as a contributing editor for Saveur magazine.