Carne asada is a grilled and sliced steak that has been marinated and perhaps seared before being grilled. This is a popular dish in Latin America, especially northern Mexico.
Carne asada is served both as a main dish or as an ingredient in other dishes—such as tacos and burritos.
The perfect carne asada is perfectly juicy and perfectly tender….and perfectly grilled to perfection….regardless of whether you choose to eat the meat plain,… on a taco, burrito, or anything else you can think of.
The perfect carne asada is the perfect proof that “simple is often better.”
The perfect carne asada is simple, fast, and easy to make…making it perfect for your next event—regardless if it is a small get together or a large gathering.
2# flank or skirt steak
Flank steak or skirt steak can both be used to make carne asada….but I typically make carne asada using flank steak, for several reasons…
- well marbled with fat
- more flavorful and tender than skirt steak
- leaner option
- typically thicker cut than skirt steak
The most important part of carne asada is actually the marinade.
The marinade is what gives carne asada its delicious flavor in the first place.
Marinades for carne asada can include many different ingredients—including cilantro, olive oil, soy sauce, orange juice, lime juice, garlic, white wine vinegar, chili powder, cumin, oregano, jalapeno, salt, pepper, and cumin.
The ingredients used in the marinate vary greatly from region to region in Latin America.
This mean that there is no official rules as to what goes into your marinade and what doesn’t…so it all boils down to personal preference.
This is what I have found works best for me.
- 1/3C olive oil
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2Tbsp lime juice
- 2Tbsp white wine vinegar
- 2Tbsp sugar
- 1tsp pepper
- 1tsp cumin
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
- 1/2C cilantro
- 1/4C orange juice
- 2tsp chili powder
- 1tsp salt
- 1tsp oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Marinating the steak is important because this will make the meat tender while the oil will make your meat flavorful, juicy and give it a better texture.
Pour the marinade into the bag also.
Squeeze the marinade around to mix the ingredients together even better.
Now put the steak into a large baking dish, bowl or gallon size zip-top bag.
Turn the steak a few times until it’s completely coated with the marinade,
Seal the bag tightly.
Refrigerate anywhere from three eight hours, turning the bag occasionally.
Do not soak the meat any longer than this because the meat will start to get mushy.
Preheat the Grill
Preheat your grill to high heat…somewhere around 500 degrees.
The grill is hot enough when you can hold your hand above the grill grates for no more than one second.
Remove the steak from the marinade.
Drizzle both sides of the steaks with a little bit of olive oil. This will keep the steak from sticking to the grill.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Grill steaks with the lid closed for four to eight minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the steak.
Test the steaks with a meat thermometer before taking them off the grill.
As far as temperature, grill at 115°F to 120°F for rare…125°F medium rare…and 140°F for medium. The FDA recommends that steak be cooked to an internal temperature of 145˚F
Slicing the Steak
Once the steaks have reached the desired temperature, remove them from the grill.
Place the steak on a cutting board.
Tent with foil.
Give the steaks about ten minutes before slicing them.
Now you will want to cut the steak into very thin slices. When you are cutting your steak, make sure that you are slicing the meat “against the grain.”
This means to cut in the opposite direction than the fine lines that you see in the steak. This will ensure that you get the melt-in-your-mouth tender goodness that Carne Asada is known for.