Grilled Carne Asada, a mouthwatering Mexican dish bursting with bold flavors and tender meat, has become a beloved staple at gatherings and taco joints alike. This traditional dish showcases the art of grilling marinated steak to perfection, infusing it with zesty citrus juices, fragrant spices, and aromatic herbs. Whether served as tacos, burritos, or on its own with a side of beans and rice, Carne Asada offers an irresistible combination of smoky charred goodness and tantalizing seasonings that transport your taste buds south of the border.
In this article, we delve into the origins of Grilled Carne Asada, explore its various regional variations, and provide tips for achieving restaurant-quality results right in your own backyard. Get ready to fire up the grill and embark on a flavorful culinary journey through the world of Grilled Carne Asada!
What Is Authentic Carne Asada
Grilled carne asada is a delicious and flavorful dish that originates from Mexican cuisine. The term “carne asada” translates to “grilled meat” in English, which perfectly describes this mouthwatering preparation.
At its core, carne asada consists of thinly sliced beef marinated in a blend of spices and seasonings before being grilled or seared to perfection. The cut of meat typically used for carne asada is skirt steak or flank steak, although if you are looking for a truly authentic cut of meat for your grilled carne asada, flap steak is what you want. These cuts are known for their rich flavor and tenderness, making them ideal for this dish.
The marinade is the key element that infuses the meat with incredible taste. Traditional marinades often include ingredients such as lime juice, orange juice, garlic, soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce, cumin, chili powder, oregano, and cilantro. This combination creates a zesty and aromatic profile that enhances the natural flavors of the beef.
Once marinated for at least a few hours (or ideally overnight), the beef is then grilled over high heat to achieve a charred exterior while maintaining juiciness inside. The cooking time depends on personal preference regarding doneness; some prefer medium rare while others may enjoy it more well-done.
Carne asada can be served in various ways depending on regional preferences or personal tastes. It is commonly enjoyed in tacos where the grilled meat gets nestled into corn or flour tortillas alongside toppings like diced onions, fresh cilantro leaves, guacamole or sliced avocado, salsa verde or pico de gallo. This combination provides an explosion of flavors and textures that delight your taste buds.
Apart from tacos, carne asada can also be featured in burritos, quesadillas, nachos or even enjoyed on its own with sides like rice and beans. Its versatility allows it to be incorporated into several dishes without losing its unique essence.
Whether you’re enjoying carne asada at a street food stall in Mexico or grilling it up in your backyard, this dish never fails to satisfy. Its bold flavors, tender meat, and endless serving possibilities make carne asada a true crowd-pleaser. So why not give it a try and experience the mouthwatering delight of this classic Mexican cuisine staple?
What Is Flap Steak?
Flap steak is a delicious and tender cut of beef that has gained popularity in recent years. While it may not be as well-known as other cuts like ribeye or filet mignon, flap steak offers a unique flavor profile and versatility that make it worth exploring.
Originating from the bottom sirloin butt of the cow, flap steak is a thin and long piece of meat with a coarse texture. It is often confused with skirt steak due to their similar appearance, but they are different cuts from distinct parts of the animal. Flap steak is typically larger than skirt steak and has more muscle fibers and marbling, which enhances its tenderness and flavor.
One of the reasons why flap steak has become increasingly popular among chefs and home cooks alike is its affordability compared to other premium cuts. Despite being reasonably priced, this cut doesn’t compromise on taste or quality. When prepared correctly, flap steak can rival even the most expensive steaks in terms of tenderness and flavor.
Cooking methods for flap steak vary depending on personal preference. It can be grilled over high heat for a short period to achieve medium rare doneness while maintaining its juiciness. Pan-searing, in a cast iron skillet, is another popular method that gives the meat a nice crust while keeping the inside moist and tender. Some people also enjoy slow-cooking flap steak to break down its connective tissues further, resulting in extremely tender meat perfect for dishes like stews or fajitas.
The versatility of flap steak extends beyond traditional cooking methods. Due to its natural tenderness and rich beefy taste, it pairs well with various flavors and cuisines. Marinating flap steak before cooking helps infuse additional flavors into the meat while also enhancing tenderness. Popular marinade options include soy sauce-based blends for Asian-inspired dishes or tangy citrus combinations for Latin American cuisine.
Grilled Carne Asada Marinade
As I mentioned above, carne asada, is a traditional Mexican dish consisting of marinated and then grilled beef. The key to achieving authentic flavors lies in the marinade. Typically made with simple ingredients that are easily accessible, this marinade packs a punch with its combination of tangy citrus juices, aromatic spices, and fresh herbs.
To create this tantalizing marinade for your carne asada, start by gathering the following ingredients:
- lime juice
- orange juice
- minced garlic
- ground black pepper
Once you have everything ready, in a bowl or large resealable bag, combine the orange juice, lime juice, minced garlic and salt and pepper. Whisk everything to make sure it is well combined. After that you will simple add the steak to the container or bag, seal and refrigerate overnight. This marinade combined with a flavorful cut of steak will make your mouth water for this grilled carne asada recipe.
Grilling Carne Asada
This may be the quickest part of the recipe, the grilling. I used my Weber Kettle for this recipe and cooked the steak over direct heat. Get yourself going with a full chimney of charcoal, that will be spread over about 2/3’s of the Kettle. The flap steaks are not thick but are a decent size and so depending on how big your kettle or grill is, it could take up a decent amount of your grate space.
Before you get the steak on, we are going to get some onions and jalapenos on the grill, for some indirect heat. Cut the onions in half and leave the jalapenos whole. Two maybe three onions should be all you need. For the jalapenos that might be a little more subjective. In our house we tend to cut the top off the jalapeno and put the entire pepper in the taco. If you are up for the heat, you can estimate how many you need, otherwise, determine if you are doing halves, or quarters.
After the grill is up and running, at an approximate temperature of 350°, you can place the onions and jalapenos on, indirect heat for about 30 minutes. At the tail end of that 30 minutes, we can get ready to place the steak on.
Remove the steak from the marinade, pat dry with a paper towel and place on the grill. The flap steak will only need 2-3 minutes on each side of direct heat. This recipe is calling for flap steak times, which is a slightly thinner cut of steak. If using flank steak or skirt steak (both of which are just a little thicker but granted not that much thicker), you will have to adjust the times, but only slightly. Add maybe 2 minutes per side for those slight thicker cuts of steak.
If you want to check IT on the meat, while difficult, an instant read thermometer will be your best bet. Try the ThermoPro TP19H if you are in the market for one.
After the flap steak is completed you can remove it and let it rest for about 10 minutes. While the steak is resting, take the onions and jalapenos and get them over the direct heat until you get a little bit of char on them. After a few minutes of direct heat and the char to your liking, you can remove and prepare to serve with the grilled carne asada.
Grilled Carne Asada Tacos
After pulling everything off the grill, the simplicity and mouthwatering deliciousness of this grilled carne asada recipe will start to come together.
You will serve carne asada by cutting it against the grain and cut it into longer slices. You are also going to slice the onions and cut the tops off the jalapeno peppers. I used flour tortillas, but corn tortillas work as well. If using corn tortillas, warm them up first, otherwise they will fall apart. Add the steak, onions and jalapenos. if you want to add some salsa or hot sauce, garnish how you would like. A Pico de Gallo, works great as well on this recipe.
Wrapping Up, Grilled Carne Asada
Grilled carne asada is a delicious and versatile dish that offers a tantalizing blend of flavors and textures. Whether enjoyed on its own or used as a filling for tacos or burritos, this marinated and charred meat is sure to satisfy any carnivorous cravings. The simplicity of the ingredients allows for easy preparation at home, while the complex flavors make it an impressive choice for entertaining guests. So fire up the grill, marinate your beef in zesty citrus juices and spices, and get ready to savor every tender bite of this mouthwatering Mexican classic.
Thanks for being here and checking out this grilled carne asada recipe. I hope you enjoy it! We always appreciate comments, 5 star recipe rating and social media shares. As always, keep that smoke rolling!
Need some other recipes for tacos or done on the grill, here are a few suggestions:
- Authentic Grilled Mexican Green Onions
- Smoked Pork Tacos
- Cast Iron Chicken Tacos
- Smoked Barbacoa Tacos
- Grilled Honey BBQ Salmon
- Easy Grilled Beer Brats
This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something I may earn a commission.
- 2 lb's flap steak (substitute with flank or skirt steak if you cannot get flap steak)
- 2 white onions
- 2-3 jalapenos
- flour or corn tortillas
Carne Asada Marinade
- 1/4 cup of lime juice
- 1/2 cup of orange juice
- 1 tbsp. of minced garlic
- 1/2 tsp. of salt
- 1/2 tsp. of black pepper
- Gather your marinade ingredients together, mix well add to a container or sealed bag. Add the meat, place in the refrigerator and marinade overnight.
- Start your grill for direct heat. If using a Kettle a full chimney worth will be enough, as this is a quick grill
- While the charcoal is getting ready, slice your onions in half and prepare to place them on the grill with some indirect heat.
- The onions and jalapenos need to go on about 30 minutes before the steak
- With the grill at a temperature of about 350, place the steak on and grill on each side for about 3 minutes
- After 3 minutes on each side, remove and let rest for about 10 minutes, covered in foil
- After having removed the steak, move the onions and jalapenos over to direct heat for about ten minutes or until you get a nice char on the onions and peppers.
- Slice the onions, the steak against the grain and the jalapenos, slice off the top and you can leave whole for the tacos
- Make the tacos with flour or corn tortillas, onions, jalapenos and grilled carne asada. Garnish with some hot sauce, salsa or Pico de Gallo.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 516Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 103mgSodium: 307mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 48g