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Pat LaFrieda Cast Iron Pinwheels on MAK 2 Star Pellet Grill

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What would be your last steak meal?

Outside Skirt Steak Pinwheels

Pat LaFrieda, Celebrity Butcher

While traveling on a plane to Mexico I read an article titled “The Coal Truth” from one of the magazines you find in the seat back in front of you. The writer interviewed celebrity butcher Pat LaFrieda to get some tips on how to cook different cuts of meat. One of the questions they asked him was: “What would your last steak meal be?”.

Now if you know anything about Pat LaFrieda, he has access to some of the best meat in the world. He also has a world-class dry-aged meat locker that he uses to supply some of the finest meats to restaurants. Pat’s answer to the question was pinwheels. Actually, it was: “Outside skirt steak pinwheels with fresh parsley, grated Romano cheese and fresh lemon zest, roll it up and tie it, cut 1” pinwheels out of it and grill them”.

Of course, me being the curious fellow that I am, I had to write this down, so I could try it out later. Well, a few months went by and Christmas was around the corner. I asked for Pat’s books for Christmas and sure enough, Santa came through. Pat LaFrieda has a book titled Meat: Everything You Need To Know. It is an amazing resource for anyone who loves meat, and it has his pinwheel recipe in the book. So, here we are… making pinwheels.

Cook Details

  • (2) Wagyu Outside Skirt Steaks about 1 pound each
  • Lemons, Parsley, and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • Fajita Seasoning, S&P, or any All Purpose Seasoning
  • Butchers twine
  • MAK 2 Star pellet grill @ 350F
  • FlameZone covers off
  • Cast iron skillet
  • Butter, olive oil, or tallow
  • About 4-6 minutes per side depending on thickness of pinwheel
  • Instant read thermometer
  • Pellet flavor doesn’t matter much as we are cooking in a cast iron skillet

Prepare and Season Outside Skirt Steak

Wagyu outside skirt steak trimmed up and ready for seasoning.
Wagyu outside skirt steak trimmed up and ready for seasoning.

This preparation for the beef pinwheels was popular in the 1940s and 1950s with retail butchers in New York City. Angelo Bonsangue, a butcher who worked with Pat LaFrieda on Leroy Street is the one who taught him this technique. The Skirt Steak Pinwheels recipe in Pat’s book doesn’t use Wagyu beef. That’s what we happened to find at our local grocer.

You can choose to season the meat with salt and pepper only like Pat does, or you can spice it up with anything you want. I would go easy on the seasoning as you want the cheese and lemon flavors to come through with the beef. We chose to use a light coating of fajita seasoning, but that’s because we are located in Central Texas, and we have a large Mexican food culture in our area. Fantastic food culture!

Build Pat LaFrieda Beef Pinwheels

Outside skirt steak with parsley, lemon zest, and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Outside skirt steak with parsley, lemon zest, and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

When choosing outside skirt steak, try to find the widest cuts as this will make it easier to roll them up and slice into pinwheels. After trimming up the meat, lay the skirt steak flat and start adding your layers of parsley, lemon zest, and cheese. It’s really a pretty simple cook. A thin layer of each one will suffice as you are going to roll this steak up and tie it with twine.

Cutting Skirt Steak Pinwheels

Here is what a pinwheel looks like after rolling it up and tying it with twine.
Here is what a pinwheel looks like after rolling it up and tying it with twine.

You can cut your pinwheels about 1-2 inches wide depending on how thick you want them. The skirt steak we found wasn’t real wide, so we cut ours in half and that did the trick.

Pinwheels in Cast Iron Skillet

Pat LaFrieda skirt steak pinwheels in cast iron skillet on MAK 2 Star pellet grill.
Pat LaFrieda skirt steak pinwheels in cast iron skillet on MAK 2 Star pellet grill.

Before I put the pinwheels into the cast iron skillet, I seasoned it with some tallow. When seasoning a skillet, try to stick with real products like butter, olive oil, or tallow. This will give you a better flavor, and you won’t be introducing any industrialized chemicals like what are found in vegetable oils and cooking sprays.

We cooked our pinwheels in a cast iron skillet on our MAK 2 Star pellet grill running at about 350F. You can use any barbecue grill you own to do this cook because all you need is heat. I chose 350F because I knew the cast iron skillet would be about 450F or so and that was plenty hot for me. Plus, I was cooking pinwheels with cheese, so I wasn’t sure how it was going to play out.

Pinwheels Browning in Cast Iron Skillet

Pinwheels are starting to brown up nice in the skillet and building a crust on the ends.
Pinwheels are starting to brown up nice in the skillet and building a crust on the ends.

Your pinwheels should take about 4-6 minutes per side depending on how thick you cut them. You can use a good instant read thermometer to check the internal temperature, so you don’t overcook the beef. If you’re looking for a medium doneness you can shoot for around 140F and if you’re looking for a well done you can take them to around 160F internal.

The beauty of using a cast iron skillet is everything renders down into the pan including the cheese. When you’re finished with your cook, scrape the burnt cheese out of the pan and use it to garnish your plate. The flavor is amazing if you like this kind of thing and ours had flavors from the wagyu fat which made for a special treat.

Final Skirt Steak Pinwheel

Final skirt steak pinwheels with a good sear on the outside and a melted cheese center.
Final skirt steak pinwheels with a good sear on the outside and a melted cheese center.

We love beef skirt steak and wagyu beef skirt steak is even better. Sometimes I prefer if to ribeye. I don’t have a final photo of the skirt steak on the inside because we ate these so fast I almost swallowed the butchers twine. Please make sure you remove the twine before eating. The texture and chew is much better without seasoned butchers twine. 😂

This is a really great cook anyone can do with any type of equipment you own. The flavor was amazing and the preparation time was minimal. This is a great recipe for all the beef lovers out there looking for something new to try. Enjoy!

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