The skirt steaks on smaller big game like whitetail deer and pronghorn aren’t very substantial cuts, but that doesn’t mean you should discard or ignore them. They’re a bit thin to cook whole and have too much silverskin to grind, but our friend Jesse Griffiths, owner of the renowned restaurant Dai Due in Austin, Texas, gave us a hot tip. Chunk up your venison skirts to make a silky, smooth, delicious stew.
By braising for a long time at a low temperature, all that fat and connective tissue liquefies or becomes gelatinous, adding flavor and rich texture to the stew. The meat itself becomes very tender and tasty. It’s a truly great solution for an often-overlooked muscle.
The skirt steak is very easy to find and remove. It hangs loosely from the last rib back to the hindquarter, covering the paunch. You cut through it when gutting an animal. When processing, trace the back of the ribcage with your knife blade, then along the short ribs, and finally cut it free from the ham. It should come out in a roughly triangular shape.
To prepare the skirt for stew, first cut away any large pieces of fat or dry edges. Don’t remove all the silverskin though, because that’s what gives your stew its great texture (and it won’t leave you with much meat). Once it’s cleaned up, slice cleanly across the muscle in half-inch-wide strips with a very sharp butchering knife. Then cut back across your strips to turn the skirt into half-inch squares. That will ensure you get a couple pieces of meat in every spoonful of stew.
I used to discard or grind the skirt steak but wouldn’t dream of it now. Make sure to check out more wild game butchering, processing, and cooking content on the MeatEater website.