Grilling is one of the most favorite ways of cooking in Mexico. Mexican cuisine has an array of delicious grilled foods, among which carne asada is one of the most popular and favorite grilled recipes among the Mexican people. “Carne asada” literarily means “grilled meat” and is normally prepared by grilling thin flank or skirt steak on a very hot grill. The meat is first marinated for 1-8 hours and then it is grilled. The grilled meat is then served by filling tortillas as taco or even with sliced onions. So, if you love grilled foods, then you must try this wonderful recipe.
Difficulty level: Easy
Servings per recipe: 4-6
Preparation time required: 1-8 hours
Cooking time required: 10 minutes
1 mortar and pestle or food processor
1 large bowl
1 plastic zip-lock bag
1 barbecue grill
1 sauté pan
Pair of tongs
2 lbs. of skirt or flank steak
Flour or corn tortillas, for serving
Freshly ground black pepper
Kosher salt, to taste
Pico de Gallo, for serving
Guacamole, for serving
Sour cream, for serving
For the marinade
Juice of two limes
1-2 jalapeño peppers, deseeded and finely chopped
A handful of fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
½ cup of freshly squeezed orange juice
5-6 large cloves of garlic
4 tablespoons of olive oil, separated
½ teaspoons of chili powder
½ cup of beer or water
A pinch of ground clove
2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon of dried Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon of fresh cumin seeds, toasted
Freshly ground black pepper
A pinch of white granulated sugar
Method of preparation:
1. Take your steaks in a bowl and rinse them individually with water. Once done, drain away the water from the bowl and set aside the meat. Next, take a sauté pan and place it on the stove. Light up the flame and set it on medium high. Let the pan heat up completely before toasting the cumin seeds in it. Once the pan starts smoking, put the cumin seeds in the pan and toast them for 1-2 minutes or until they start emitting a wonderful aroma. Keep shaking the pan continuously while toasting the cumin seeds to prevent them from burning.
2. Once the cumin seeds are toasted, turn off the heat and remove the pan from the hob to cool down the toasted seeds. Now prepare your grill by preheating it, so that the grill can become piping hot before it can be used. Next, take a pestle and a mortar and put the toasted cumin seeds, chopped jalapeño peppers, red chili powder, chopped cilantro leaves, granulated sugar, kosher salt, ground clove, cloves of garlic, freshly ground black pepper and the dried Mexican oregano in the mortar. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the dry ingredients and then grind the added ingredients with the pestle until you get a smooth paste.
3. Once you are done grinding the ingredients for the marinade, transfer the paste to a large bowl and add the beer, remaining olive oil, water, lemon juice, orange juice and the red wine vinegar to the marinade. Stir the dry paste with the liquid ingredients to prepare the marinade. Now put the rinsed steaks in a plastic zip-lock bag and pour the marinade over the meat. Lock the bag by forcing out air from it and then shake and tilt the bag to coat the meat nicely with the marinade. Once done, pop the meat into the refrigerator to marinate it for 3-4 hours.
4. Once the marinating time elapses, take out the meat from the refrigerator and then separate out the steaks from the marinade by brushing off the sticking marinade particles. Then grease the grill with some cooking spray and then transfer the marinated steaks to the preheated grill to sear them until they are slightly charred and nicely browned.
5. Once done, pick up the grilled steaks from the grill and set them aside. Next, extinguish the grill and place the tortillas on the warm grill to just warm them up. While the tortillas are warming up, take the steaks and slice them across the grain (opposite direction of muscle arrangement). Then chop those slices thinly and then put them at the middle of each tortilla. Top the meat with the Pico de Gallo, sour cream and guacamole to serve the carne asadas.
1. The trick to cook perfect carne asada is to marinade the steaks for 1-8 hours.
2. You may also microwave or toast the tortillas on a frying pan or griddle. To microwave the tortillas, just wrap them up in aluminum foils before warming them for 2-3 minutes