Prepare to up your grilling game with this amazing recipe for carne asada! This traditional Mexican recipe, bursting with flavor and a tinge of smokiness, is a carnivore’s paradise. Tender beef slices are marinated to perfection and then grilled to juicy, delectable perfection, creating a savory delight with every bite.
The key is in the well-balanced combination of citrus, spices, and a tiny bit of acidity from vinegar and lime juice. Not only does this marinade give the meat a fantastic flavor, but it also tenderizes it so that every slice is bursting with flavor. This recipe for carne asada is sure to please any crowd, whether you’re having a backyard BBQ or you’re just in the mood for some real Mexican food. Prepare your grill and your stomach for a flavorful fiesta!
What is Carne Asada?
A classic Latin American meal, carne asada (which means “grilled meat” in Spanish) is especially well-liked in Mexican cooking. Usually, it’s finely sliced, flavor-bursting marinated and grilled beef. The type of meat used varies, but because flank steak and skirt steak are soft and great on the grill, like my Grilled Skirt Steak recipe, they are frequently used.
A key component of carne asada is the marinade, which is made up of a number of ingredients including vinegar, garlic, onions, cumin, chili powder, and paprika, as well as citrus juices (such as lime or orange). This marinade helps to tenderize the meat and adds a rich, tangy flavor, making the finished meal moist and tasty.
The beef is marinated and then immediately grilled over high heat, which results in a deliciously charred outside and soft interior. Tacos, burritos, salads, and even as the main course with sides like rice, beans, and grilled veggies may all be made using carne asada, which is a very flexible ingredient. It is a popular choice for both casual dinners and social events due to its flavor and strong profile.
Overview: How to make Carne Asada?
This recipe for carne asada is sure to entice your palate with a rush of real Mexican flavors. This recipe reminds me of another mouthwatering recipe – Wagyu Steak – which is absolutely delicious and a culinary delight in itself.
The first step is to choose the ideal meat cut, such as flank or skirt steak, based on its tenderness and capacity to absorb the marinade. The marinade, which is a symphony of flavors with fresh citrus juices (orange and lime), cumin, chili powder, garlic, and a hint of vinegar for depth, is the centerpiece of this dish. This miraculous mixture not only gives the meat an amazing flavor, but it also tenderizes the beef so that every mouthful is moist and full of flavor.
It’s time to light the grill after marinating the meat for the ideal amount of time to absorb those bright flavors. The secret to excellent carne asada is to sear the marinated meat quickly over a hot grill, which seals in all those succulent fluids and creates a delicious caramelized crust. What was the outcome? Tender, smokey beef slices that are virtually screaming to be piled on fresh salads or wrapped in warm tortillas, accompanied by your preferred toppings and sides. This recipe for carne asada is your pass to an amazing culinary experience, regardless of whether you’re throwing a fiesta or just in the mood for something Mexican to eat.
The Ideal Meat Cut
For carne asada, the ideal meat cuts are those that combine tenderness with a good amount of marbling for flavor. Two popular choices are flank steak and skirt steak:
- Flank Steak: This cut comes from the abdominal area of the cow. It’s lean but with some marbling, and when marinated properly, it becomes tender and flavorful. It’s best when sliced thinly against the grain after cooking.
- Skirt Steak: Found in the diaphragm area, skirt steak is known for its rich, beefy flavor. It has more fat content and tends to be slightly more tender than flank steak. Like flank steak, it benefits from marinating and is excellent for grilling.
Both cuts are fantastic options for carne asada due to their texture, flavor absorption, and suitability for quick cooking methods like grilling. When prepared well and sliced against the grain, they result in tender, juicy, and flavorful meat that perfectly embodies the essence of this classic dish.
If I had to pick just one, I’d go with SKIRT STEAK for carne asada. Its higher fat content lends extra flavor and juiciness to the dish, and when marinated and grilled correctly, it delivers an incredibly delicious and tender result.
Pro Tip: Make sure to cut your meat against the grain while chopping it. In both of these cuts, it is clear to see the grain through the flesh. It appears to be in lines. Always cut perpendicular to these lines rather than parallel to them. The meat’s natural breaking point is provided by the grain. Each piece has a ton of breaking points if you cut against them, which prevents it from becoming chewy.
Grill or Skillet: The Better Option
While both the grill and skillet can produce delicious carne asada, the grill often offers a slight edge for an authentic and flavorful result.
Grilling gives food the opportunity to be directly exposed to high heat or open flames, which results in a charred outside and smokey flavor that gives the meal depth. It also produces those lovely grill marks that improve flavor and presentation.
But if you prefer cooking indoors or if a grill isn’t available, a skillet might be a handy substitute. Although the meat may not have the same smokiness as it would on a grill, a hot skillet can still sear and brown the meat well. It’s critical to make sure the skillet is hot enough to sear the meat evenly and cook it to the proper doneness.
In the end, grilling is frequently regarded as the superior method for preparing carne asada since it adds a smoky flavor and char that significantly improves the dish’s overall flavor profile.
Best Carne Asada Recipe
- Mixing Bowl
- Cutting Board and Knife
- Meat thermometer
- Citrus Juicer
- Garlic Press
- 2 pounds skirt steak
- ½ cup orange juice
- ½ cup lime juice
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- ¼ cup cilantro chopped
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Prepare the Marinade:
- In a mixing bowl, combine orange juice, lime juice, soy sauce, minced garlic, chopped cilantro, cumin, chili powder, paprika, salt, pepper, and olive oil.
- Whisk all ingredients together thoroughly.
Marinate the Steak:
- Place skirt steak in a shallow dish.
- Pour the marinade over the steak, ensuring it’s entirely coated.
- Cover the dish and refrigerate for overnight (8-12 hours) for maximum flavor.
Preheat the Grill:
- Heat your grill to medium-high heat.
Grill the Steak:
- Remove the steak from the marinade and discard excess marinade.
- Grill the steak for about 4-5 minutes per side, or until it reaches your preferred level of doneness.
- Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness if needed (for medium-rare, aim for an internal temperature of 130-135°F or 55-57°C).
Rest and Slice:
- Once grilled, transfer the steak to a cutting board and let it rest for 5-10 minutes.
- Slice the carne asada thinly against the grain for optimal tenderness.
- Arrange the sliced carne asada on a platter.
- Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve with warm tortillas, salsa, guacamole, and your favorite toppings. Enjoy this flavorful dish!
- Marination Magic: Marinate the meat overnight for maximum flavor infusion.
- Hot and Swift: Grill over high heat briefly for a nice sear while keeping it juicy.
- Slice Right: Cut the rested steak against the grain for optimal tenderness.
- Rest for Success: Allow the grilled steak to rest before slicing for juicy results.
NUTRITIONAL FACTS (PER SERVING)
|Amount per Serving
|– Saturated Fat
|– Dietary Fiber
How Long to Marinade Carne Asada?
For optimal flavor absorption, try marinating the carne asada beef for at least two hours. But the best benefits come from marinating in the refrigerator for 8 to 12 hours, or overnight. Because of the longer marinating period, the flavors of the marinade are able to deeply infiltrate the meat, making the carne asada more soft and tasty.
How Long to Grill?
It usually takes about 4–5 minutes on each side to grill skirt steak for carne asada over medium-high heat. The precise amount of time, however, can change based on the desired level of doneness and the thickness of the steak.
Based on the thickness of the steak, below is a general guide:
- For medium-rare, shoot for 3–4 minutes per side for a skirt steak that is about ½ inch thick.
- To get the same level of doneness, thicker pieces might need to cook for an extra minute or two on each side.
To make sure the steak reaches the internal temperature you want, always use a meat thermometer. Strive for 130–135°F (55–57°C) for medium-rare. Skirt steak should never be overcooked since overcooking can make the steak tough.
If skirt steak isn’t available, there are several other cuts that can work well for carne asada:
- Flank Steak: Similar to skirt steak, flank steak is flavorful and benefits from marinating. It’s a great substitute and cooks relatively quickly.
- Sirloin Flap (also known as Bavette or Sirloin Tip): This cut has a similar texture to skirt steak and works excellently for carne asada.
- Tri-Tip: Though it’s a bit thicker, tri-tip can be sliced thinly after grilling and offers great flavor.
- Flat Iron Steak: Tender and well-marbled, flat iron steak is a great alternative, though it might be pricier.
These cuts might have varying textures or thicknesses, so adjust cooking times accordingly. The key is to slice the meat thinly against the grain after grilling to ensure tenderness, regardless of the substitute used.
Here are some serving suggestions for your delicious carne asada:
Storage and Leftovers
How to keep extra carne asada fresh?
Storage: Let the grilled carne asada cool fully before putting it in an airtight container or tightly wrapping it in foil or plastic wrap. After cooking, refrigerate within two hours. It keeps for three to four days in the refrigerator.
Freezing (optional): Cut the carne asada into slices and place it in freezer-safe containers or freezer bags to prolong its shelf life. It is freeze-worthy for two to three months. Prior to reheating, let it defrost in the fridge.
How to reheat carne asada leftovers:
Stovetop: Warm the sliced carne asada again in a pot or a skillet over medium heat with a little oil. Its covering may aid in moisture retention.
Microwave: Arrange the slices on a dish that is safe to use in the microwave. Cover it with a damp paper towel to keep it from drying out and heat it briefly until it reaches the desired temperature.
To preserve the tenderness of the meat, be cautious not to overcook it when reheating. Additionally, think about heating the meat and other ingredients to develop tastes before serving if you intend to utilize the leftovers in tacos or burritos.