Carne Asada, which literally translates to “grilled meat”, typically refers to a marinaded and grilled flank or skirt steak and is an absolute staple here in Texas. While flank steak works great, I prefer using skirt steak not only because of it’s deliciously beefy flavor, but because it’s relatively inexpensive when compared to other cuts.
This recipe can totally be eaten on its own with some chimichurri and grilled corn, but I find it especially delectable on a taco, topped with white onion, fresh cilantro, a slice of avocado, a squeeze of lime and your favorite hot sauce. Ideally start marinading around 4-6 hours before grilling but you can do it for 30 minutes in a pinch. It’s a truly quick and delicious weeknight meal that is sure to satisfy your hungry crew!
- 2-3 pounds skirt steak
For the marinade:
- ¼th cup orange juice
- 1/4th cup olive oil
- 2 TBSP soy sauce
- 2 TBSP jalapeno jelly, (I used Preserve International, link below)
- The juice of 1 lime
- 3 cloves of garlic, sliced
- 2 TBSP chopped, fresh cilantro
- ½ tsp cumin seeds, slightly crushed with the flat edge of a knife
- ½ tsp onion powder
- 1/4th tsp cinnamon
- Healthy pinch of salt and fresh cracked black pepper
For the tacos:
Taco toppings are all about personal preference so please feel free to go traditional (ie: lime, onions and cilantro) or add ingredients to your hearts content. I personally like a mix of several different topping on these tacos that I feel compliment the rich, beefy flavors of the skirt steak while adding texture and freshness.
- 8-10 corn tortillas
- Finely diced white onion
- Chopped fresh cilantro
- Shredded purple cabbage
- Fresh sliced avocado
- Fresh limes
- Queso fresco or cojita cheese (leave out for dairy free)
- Your favorite hot sauce
- Combine all marinade ingredients in a bowl and whisk to fully combine.
- Take your skirt steak out of the package and lay out on a cutting board, using a meat mallet to tenderize both sides a few times to get a consistent thickness. (be careful not to overdo it or break up the meat).
- Place the skirt steak in a plastic freezer bag and pour marinade on top.
- Marinade for 4-6 hours or overnight in the fridge. *Note* In a pinch you can marinade for 30 minutes before grilling but just know it may not have the same depth of flavor.
- Pull the steak out of the fridge about 30 minutes before grilling to let the meat come to room temperature.
- Preheat your grill over high heat. You want it smoking hot before adding the skirt steak to ensure a good char.
- For medium rare, grill skirt steak with the lid closed for 2-3 minutes.
- Flip the steak and grill for an additional 3 minutes on the other side.
- Immediately remove the steak to a foil lined baking pan let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
- Be sure you slice the steak AGAINST the grain. This ensure that you break up the fibers running through the meat for a more tender, succulent bite.
- Cut into strips and then into bite size pieces.
To warm the tortillas:
There are several ways to do this and if you prefer to warm your tortillas with damp paper towels in the microwave or in foil in the oven that is perfectly fine. My preferred way is on a nonstick skillet on the stove.
- Preheat a skillet over high heat on the stove. Dunk or sprinkle your corn tortilla with a little bit of water and add to the pan.
- Warm over medium high-high heat for approximately 10-15 seconds per side, until the tortilla is soft and pliable.
- Transfer to foil and cover.
- Repeat with additional tortillas, piling one on top of the other wrapped in foil until done.
Assemble the tacos:
- Take a warmed tortilla and add a couple slices of avocado and a pinch of shredded red cabbage.
- Add a generous portion of carne asada.
- Top with finely diced white onions, chopped fresh cilantro, a squeeze of lime, a sprinkle of crumbled cojita or queso fresco cheese and a few drops of your favorite hot sauce. *NOTE* If you really want to amp up this taco try my recipe for a homemade fermented serrano pepper hot sauce.
- Enjoy and happy Taco Tuesday!
To make the marinade Paleo, Whole30 and Keto compliant simple replace the jalapeño jelly with fresh chopped jalapeños and the soy sauce with coconut aminos.
To make the tacos Paleo, Keto and Whole30 compliant replace the corn tortillas with butter lettuce leaves and leave out the cheese (keep the cheese with Keto).