Grilled Skirt Steak Quesadillas
Fire up the grill! This Grilled Skirt Steak Quesadillas recipe is a tasty way to enjoy summer grilling season!
It turns out that chicken and steak are indeed different. That seems obvious enough, right? Chicken is chicken, and steak is…well…steak. However, when Laura and I were much younger, we lumped chicken and steak into the same category. Let’s roll the clock back, oh, 15 years or so. We were back in Atlanta, and I was first learning my way around the grill. Sure, we could grill hamburgers, hotdogs and chicken breasts, but we were starting to play around with the next level – grilled fajitas.
This Copycat Chili’s Chicken Fajitas recipe has been in our recipe book for years now. In that recipe, we use a cast iron skillet to cook the chicken, but we’ve also grilled the chicken for an extra layer of flavor. The key to that recipe? The marinade. (And the “sauce” that goes onto the sautéed veggies…don’t omit that!) This marinade gets made the day before, and the meat marinates overnight. And that was the problem with the steak.
In fact, in that post, I noted that we used to make ½-chicken and ½-steak quesadillas, but we preferred the chicken over the steak. The steak always seemed to come out tough. And that’s where I learned one of the basic rules of marinating – there is such a thing as marinating meat too long. Chicken is great in an overnight marinade. Flank steak? Not so much.
Flank steak is a lean cut of steak, and it’s not terribly expensive (although the price has been rising in recent years due to it’s popularity). However, there are a couple of tricks with flank steak.
First, marinade. Flank steak really needs a marinade. It can be a tough piece cut of meat, but the acid in the marinade (in this case, the lime juice) helps tenderize the steak. However, that marinade only goes so far – if you marinate flank steak for more than 2 hours, then it can actually have the reverse affect and cause the steak to be tough. (The science behind this is the acid breaks down the proteins in the meat, but if those proteins break down too much, then they release too much water – causing the steak to be tough.)
The second critical tip for flank steak is to slice it against the grain. This simple trick can literally make the difference between a chewy steak and a succulent, tender steak. I’m sure I broke this rule back in the day when I was first learning my way around the kitchen! I also broke the marinade rule as we would marinate both the chicken and steak overnight. The chicken always turned out juicy and flavorful. The steak? Well, not so much. And now I know why!
Grilled Skirt Steak Quesadillas
I saw a beautiful flank steak at the store the other day, and it took about 2.3 seconds before it landed in my cart. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it – but it just looked too good to pass up! Back home, I decided to try my hand at grilling that flank steak for quesadillas. However, this time the steak only marinated for an hour. The result? A juicy, delicious steak – so good that I had to keep myself from eating all of it before it went back into these Grilled Skirt Steak Quesadillas.
Quesadillas are a staple in our house. Like tacos, ‘dillas are a great way to use up leftover bits of meat and other ingredients. And if we have a random night where the fridge is a bit bare? A good cheese quesadilla is always an option! (We always keep our fridge stocked with various Cabot cheeses – my favorite combination for cheese quesadillas is Monterey Jack or Pepperjack and sharp cheddar. Yum!)
These Grilled Skirt Steak Quesadillas turned out great! As I noted, the steak was juicy and flavorful, and then grilling the quesadillas added an extra layer of flavor in there. I highly recommend putting these on the menu sometime soon. They’re a tasty way to enjoy the grilled flavors of summer! Happy grilling!
Did you make these Grilled Skirt Steak Quesadillas at home? Leave a comment, or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog). I’d love to see your version!
Grilled Skirt Steak Quesadillas
For the Marinade
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 Tbsp lime juice
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- ½ cup fresh cilantro
- ¼ cup chopped white onion
- 1 jalapeno stemmed (see note)
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
For the Skirt Steak Quesadillas
- 1-1½ lbs skirt steak
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 large red onion cut into ½” slices
- 4 burrito-sized flour tortillas
- 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- salsa for dipping
- sour cream for dipping
For the Marinade
- Using a food processor or blender, add all of the marinade ingredients; pulse until smooth.
For the Skirt Steak Quesadillas
- Place skirt steak in a large re-sealable bag. Add marinade, turning several times to coat. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
- Remove skirt steak from bag; discard any leftover marinade.
- Brush olive oil on both sides of the sliced onions.
- Place steak and onions on grill. Grill for 3-5 minutes per side, or until steak is done to taste.
- Reduce grill temperature to medium heat.
- Transfer skirt steak and onions to a large cutting board and let it rest for 5 minutes. Slice skirt steak against the grain into strips. Slice onions into strips.
- Lay tortillas out and split shredded cheese, sliced onions and steak evenly between tortillas. Fold each tortilla in half.
- Grill quesadillas for 2-3 minutes per side, or until cheese has fully melted. Cut quesadillas into wedges and serve with salsa and sour cream.
Looking for more fun quesadilla recipes? Check out these other favorites, too:
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will be making this soon can i use vegan cheese and mushrooms as am a vegan will use my wraps in the fridge i never had quesadillas before sorry i didnt see the tweet will check the tweet later perfect for my after office meals will dm you if i make this and let you know how it goes Thanks Ramya
I think you could totally use mushrooms and cheese in a wrap form, Ramya. It’ll be a little different, but it will still be tasty…especially if you grill (or air fry) up the wraps once you make them!
Never mind i saw your tweet little late today
Looks good, I shared with “the Boss” and she said “OK, you can make that tonight” My evil plan backfired 🙁
Haha! My apologies in advance, Jay. We’ll have to schedule the grilling posts on days when there aren’t too many meetings. 🙂
Those photos seriously just made my stomach growl. We’re big fajita fans here, but for me I think it’s all the other stuff, like the guacamole, veggies, salsa, etc… I just made some a couple weeks ago with out of town visitors, but I used my sous vide for the flank steak, cause it’s like night and day. I don’t mind chewing, but when it’s like buttah… well…. It’s hard to beat. Plus you still have all of the flavors.
Yes! Sous vide flank steak is amazing – in fact, sous vide everything is impressive. I like to pretend I’m a wizard when I pull out the sous vide wand as I can transform tough, cheap cuts of steak into tender, juicy steak that tastes like filet! Either way, I recommend this flank steak – just don’t marinate it too long!!
Lol, they are indeed different. 😉 Oh man, I love quesadillas and these look so good. Wish I had some for lunch, actually. And maybe supper because why not?? They’re a staple in our home, too, and I know we’d love these! Have a wonderful week, my friend!
Ah, quesadillas are a thing of beauty, aren’t they? They can be as simple as just plain cheese (I had one of those the other night) or as complex as grilled steak inside of a grilled ‘dilla. This version is flavor-packed, and it’s a fun one for summer when the grill is on!
Love skirt steak! These quesadillas look so incredibly flavourful with the cilantro, lime and onion. I’d devour them in no time!
Skirt steak is amazing…as long as you don’t make the mistake that I used to make and marinate it too long. I love skirt steak by itself, but turn around and put it in grilled quesadillas? Yum!! Thanks, Michelle!
We always use skirt steak for grilling, but haven’t used it in quesadillas. We’ve been missing out because these look amazing, David! Thanks for the helpful info and tips on grilling too!
Ah, next time you pull out a skirt steak, use it to put into quesadillas – and make sure to grill the ‘dillas, too. Grilled quesadillas are one of our favorite summer meals, and this version is quite tasty. Thanks, Marissa!
I’m loving all these grilling recipes and it’s just what I need for these hot hot days of summer! The filling looks delicious!
Oh, we’ve been grilling non-stop lately! You know how it is, though – we have to pack in the grilling recipes up here in the north. The cold weather is coming, and it’s a lot harder to grill when there’s 10″ of snow on top of the grill! 🙂 Either way, I recommend putting grilled quesadillas on the list, Kathy!
These quesadillas look and sound splendid David! I love this veggie marinade. Indeed, onions and garlic, besides their aroma, are also great tenderizers! And I didn’t know that marinating meat too long could make it tougher, that’s a good tip!
This marinade is fantastic, Ben! I’ve long said that a good marinade can make or break a recipe – and this one is quite tasty. Put it on the list to try!
i’ve never cooked steak and i only eat it about once a year but these look delicious david. Quesadillas are becoming more popular here lately but i’ve only had them a few times. i must give these a try.
Yes, I remember you saying you’re not a huge fan of steak. You could also make these grilled quesadillas with chicken – and if you do chicken, you could marinate the chicken breasts longer. I highly recommend playing around with quesadillas – the sky is the limit in terms of flavors. Just make sure to use enough cheese as that’s the “glue” that holds it all together!
Great tips, David. Skirt steak can be a fine cut if you treat it right. If not… Sounds like a delicious summertime meal. Hope you’re keeping well.
Hey Frank! I hope you are doing well, too, my friend. We’ve been grilling a ton and just enjoying the warm weather. Gotta soak it in while we can, right??
Wow, David! I never knew marinading for just a short time could make flank steak tougher. I guess that’s why… never mind, I’ll just be doing the overnight marinade from now on. (My flank steaks have recently been a little too chewy.) I do have some favorite marinades and they all are overnight – there’s obviously a lesson there. Anyway, I’m all in for these quesadillas! I’ll have mine with the pepperjack cheese please! Love this recipe!
Hey Laura! I think we might have that one backwards – flank steaks benefit from a short marinating time. An overnight marinade will make that flank steak tough as shoe leather! Either way, I highly recommend grilling up some quesadillas soon – and I 100% support your idea of pepperjack. The creamy, slightly spicy combination is perfect in quesadillas!
I never touched skirt steak as well before becuase I knew they were tough, but I saw a TV food show where they showcased this underrated cut and show how it is properly done. Since then I was a fan, I cooked it the same way everytime, just seasoned with salt, pepper and any citrus and with a red hot real charcoal, place the meat into the hot embers and cook for 1 minute on each side. Remove the ashes that got stuck in the meat, rest for 10 minutes, thinly slice then serve.
Yes! A good flank steak is amazing…as long as you cook it correctly and cut it correctly, too. (Always slice it against the grain!) I’ve never cooked flank steak directly in the embers of hot charcoal, though. I do love trying new cooking techniques, so I need to try that idea out! Thanks for sharing!
We love fajita’s David but I only ever seem to make Chicken Fajitas so these Grilled Skirt Steak Quesadillas will make a welcome and delicious change. Thanks!
To be fair, we often make chicken fajitas here, too, Neil. Our steak version would always turn out super tough – then I realized it was because I was marinating the steak too long! Now we enjoy making a combination of chicken and steak fajitas. I say make extra steak and then turn it into these grilled quesadillas the next night!