A taqueria classic, Carne Asada cooked on the grill takes the humble flank steak to a whole new level of greatness. A bold marinade adds flavor, moisturizes and tenderizes the meat for a recipe that will become one of your Summertime favorites.
Simple Grilled Mexican Steak
Have you ever grilled Mexican-marinated-seasoned beef, alongside whole jalapeno peppers (tops trimmed for serving) and rolled it all up in a warm fresh flour tortilla? If not, you don’t know what you’re missing.
This is a trick I learned from our next door neighbor Miguel. Born in Mexico Miguel knows his grilled Carne Asada. And whenever he was making it, he’d climb up on the privacy fence and offer us a grilled flour tortilla that had been placed on a piece of foil, and topped with a chunk of grilled meat and grilled jalapenos. That’s all – and it was simple and delicious.
When I started making this simple treat in my own yard, the gringo in me sliced open the grilled jalapeno and scraped out the seeds and veins, but other than that, the whole process was Miguel’s, quick and easy and within a few minutes we were standing on or back patio with rolled carne asada tortillas in our hands, just like were were enjoying street food in Mexico.
This is where my Carne Asada addiction sprouted, grew and bloomed into a full time obsession. It’s just so incredible with flavor, and once the marinade has done its job, so incredibly flavorful.
What is Carne Asada?
Carne asada literally means grilled meat. The meat is sliced thin, marinated and used in tacos, burritos, or quesadillas. Carne asada is often served with fresh guacamole, grilled onions, black beans or frijoles charros, and fresh salsa. And actually, When describing an event in Mexico and the American Southwest, the phrase “carne asada” is the equivalent of describing the backyard barbeque. (Thank you Wikipedia.)
Buying Pre-Marinated Carne Asada Meat From Your Local Market
Oh sure, you can purchase pre-marinated steak for Carne Asada to grill at home. As a matter of fact, I’m lucky to have three nearby markets who sell pre-seasoned Carne Asada. Which makes it a super easy thing to pick up for a quick weeknight meal.
One offers flank steak, one skirt steak and the other flap steak. Each of those cuts of meat are perfect for grilled carne asada. Flap steak and skirt steak are thinner cuts of meat that flank steak.
Each of these markets also season the meat a little differently, and it’s all wonderful. In the American markets it’s labeled carne asada, and at our Mexican market it’s labeled carnicerías.
I’ve also discovered a great little bottle of spice mix called, Don Sazon Meat Seasoning. A quick marinade for about 30 minutes with some of this dry spice and orange juice and you’ve got a great seasoned piece of meat to throw on the grill for Carne Asada. Directions are on the bottle.
Recipe For Homemade Carne Asada On The Grill
With all that said, I’m hoping you’re a purist and want a reliable and tasty recipe for Authentic Carne Asada. This recipe I’ve provided below is a result of intensive interrogation sessions with my neighbor Miguel, and some ingredients I’ve added to make it mine.
I find that grilled jalapenos and a good pico de gallo is a must when serving carne asada, but don’t forget the avocados, chopped cilantro and some lime wedges for a squeeze of brightness.
This is even better if you purchase fresh made flour tortillas from your local Mexican Market. Can you spell d-i-v-i-n-e? Or better yet, make your own flour tortillas.
I hope you give this grilled Carne Asada recipe a try, and if you do, please come back and give the recipe a star rating, and leave a comment about your experience with the recipe.
And if you have a favorite carne asada marinade, let me know, I’d love to give it a try.
More Grilled Flank Steak Recipes
- Grilled Flank Steak with Charred Caramelized Sweet Corn
- Tangy Grilled Flank Steak with Horseradish Cream
- Chipotle Glazed Steak Salad
Carne Asada On The Grill
- 1 1/2 pounds flank or skirt steak
- Olive oil
- salt and fresh ground pepper
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 limes juiced (about 2 Tbsp)
- 2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons raw sugar or processed granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 cloves garlic pressed through a garlic press, or fine minced
- 1 teaspoon New Mexico Red Chile Powder or Ancho
- 1 teaspoon Mexican Oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- Serve With
- avocado sliced or chopped
- Lime wedges
- Corn or flour tortillas
- radishes thin sliced
- Pico de gallo salsa
- In a bowl, whisk together olive oil, soy sauce, lime juice, vinegar, sugar, black pepper, and cumin, red chile powder, oregano and coriander. Place the steak in a one gallon sealable plastic bag. Pour in the marinade in, seal well, and turn the bag all direction to evenly distribute the marinade. Marinade overnight and all day the next day.
- Preheat your gas grill by turning the heat up to 550. Turn heat down to 350
- Remove steak from marinade. Pour the marinade into a small bowl and use for basting. Turn the middle burner off and add the flank steak to the hotter part of the grill.
- Add the whole jalapenos to the grill surrounding the flank steak. Keep moving and turning them until grill marks appear and the pepper's skin has softened.
- Grill the steak for 6 minutes, basting with the sauce every 2 minutes. The steak should be well seared before turning.
- Move steak to middle and continue basting and searing. Cook for only about 3 – 4 minutes more. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature to read 120 – 125 degrees.
- Remove the steak from the grill, place on a cutting board and tent with foil. Let rest for 10 minutes.
- Slice the flank steak across the grain and slice it as thin as you can.
- Serve with grilled jalapenos, warmed tortillas, avocados, pico de gallo, chopped cilantro and wedges of lime.
If you want, before adding the steak to the marinade, reserve a couple tablespoons of the marinade to drizzle over the finished carne asada to serve.
Switching gears for a moment, pull up a chair for some short term barking.
I’d like to introduce you to Ruby. Ruby is the first dog to appear in my new feature, Paws on the Ranch…Every Paw…Has a Story. I’ll be posting photos of the pups I run across here in Highlands Ranch. That is, those who agree to pose for a photo. You see, I have this huge soft spot in my heart for our furry friends. I hope you enjoy meeting some of my neighbors.
Meet: Ruby, mixed breed.
What’s my story? My mother was pregnant with us and lived in the 9th Ward. She was saved from the flood waters and evacuated to a Colorado shelter where I was born shortly thereafter. We are Katrina rescues.
Not a bad story for my first encounter. I was a little reluctant to ask a total stranger if I could photograph her dog, but when I explained my plan, all parties, including Ruby were very cooperative. Note to self: strong shadows at 6:30 a.m. Hopefully my canine photography will improve in time just as I hope my food photography has.