Kick Off Grilling Season With This Classic Mexican Recipe: Tequila Citrus Carne Asada Recipe

Kick Off Grilling Season With This Classic Mexican Recipe: Tequila Citrus Carne Asada Recipe
Kick Off Grilling Season With This Classic Mexican Recipe: Tequila Citrus Carne Asada Recipe | https://saltandwind.com Carne Asada is a dish that doesn't need any introduction. Anywhere from your local taco joint to when you travel to Mexico, you'll see it pop up. Since Carn...
Skill
Course
Cuisine
Ingredients
15
Hands-On Time
20 minutes
Total Time
1 hour, 40 minutes
Yield
-
Servings
4 to 6
Season
Kick Off Grilling Season With This Classic Mexican Recipe: Tequila Citrus Carne Asada Recipe | https://saltandwind.com
Skill
Beginner
Course
Dinner, Lunch, Main
Cuisine
Mexican
Ingredients
15
Hands-On Time
20 minutes
Total Time
1 hour, 40 minutes
Yield
-
Servings
4 to 6
Diet
Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free
Kick Off Grilling Season With This Classic Mexican Recipe: Tequila Citrus Carne Asada Recipe | https://saltandwind.com

Carne Asada is a dish that doesn't need any introduction. Anywhere from your local taco joint to when you travel to Mexico, you'll see it pop up.

Since Carne Asada literally translates to "grilled meat," it is a term that refers to a range of meat (some marinated others not) that hits a charcoal or wood-fired grill. In fact, the term is so ubiquitious that in some regions of Mexico you use the term "carne asada" to refer to a cookout the same way Americans use the term "BBQ" for both the techinique and the event.

At the most simple, it's grilled meat but a few things separate good Carne Asada from great Carne Asada.  

Where Carne Asada Comes From

Yes, you'll see Carne Asada on menus everywhere as you  travel around Mexico but it originally hails from the North. Just like how Texas has a major cattle culture, so do the Northern regions just south of the border! And while you'll see cattle being raised everywhere from Calexico through Chihuahua, the epicenter fo the Mexican cattle culture is the northern region of Sonora. So, while there isn't a specific moment in time or person who can be tied to Carne Asada, it's widely agreed that it comes from this part of Mexico. 

The Best Cut Of Meat For Carne Asada

Since Carne Asada is grilled meat, you could really use any cut of meat that stands up to the dry, hot heat of a grill. But the most classic cut to use is skirt steak -- it's mix of fat and flavor and quick cooking time make it ideal for this cooking method. If you can't find skirt steak, you can substitute flank steak or hangar steak instead! 

Tips To Cook Carne Asada

  • To Marinate Or Not: Almost every recipe for Carne Asada that you find in English calls for the meat to be marinated but it isn't essential. In fact, a lot of spots in Mexico just season it with oil, garlic, salt, and pepper before grilling it. The advantage to marinating is that it will bring flavor and help slightly tenderize the meat.
  • Keep The Marinade Simple: If you do choose to use a marinade, keep it pretty simple so that you don't overwhelem the flavor of the meat. At the most basic you want a marinade that has some fat, something acidic, and some flavorings, which typically translates to oil, lime juice, and garlic when you're talking Carne Asada. You'll often see people add in a bottle of lager beer to up the flavor and tenderizing aspect.
  • How To Make The Marinade Gluten Free: Our marinade is a gluten free twist on the classic marinade where we use tequila instead of beer and then add in some orange juice and some onions for a little extra flavor. Because there isn't any salt (or salty ingredient like soy sauce) you can let this marinade hang out for anywhere from 1 to 48 hours -- just salt it really well before and after it hits the grill so you get maximum flavor. 
  • Cook The Meat Briefly: If you go to a taco stand, they'll likely cook the meat really well done. We like it cooked to medium rare which is roughly 2 to 3 minutes per side.
  • Let It Rest: Let the meat rest for a minimum of 10 minutes before you slice it!
  • Slice It Across The Grain: Yes, you always want to slice meat against the grain but that's more important than ever with cuts like Flank Steak, Hangar Steak, and Skirt Steak. 

How To Serve Carne Asada

Our favorite way to serve Carne Asada is as you see it pictured here as a sort of deconstructed taco platter with a load of tortillas, salsa, guacamole, and all the fixings. However, there are so many other ways you could serve it  from atop sopes, in a burrito, as a taco filling, as part of a torta, or topping greens for a quick steak salad!

Carne Asada On A PlatterClassic Carne Asada Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds skirt steak

    or flank steak

  • 1/2 cup freshly-squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4 cup avocado oil

    or another neutral high heat oil, plus more for coating the grill and the scallions and chiles (if using)

  • 1/4 cup freshly-squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 cup 100% agave silver tequila
  • 8 garlic cloves

    peeled and halved

  • 1/2 red onion

    in 1-inch thick slices

  • kosher salt and Freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 scallions

    for garnish (optional)

  • fresh cilantro leaves

    for garnish (optional)

  • jalapeño chiles

    or serrano chiles, for garnish (optional)

  • firm-ripe avocado

    or guacamole, for garnish (optional)

  • tomatillo salsa verde

    for garnish (optional)

  • corn tortillas

    for garnish (optional)

  • Lime slices

    for garnish (optional)

Instructions

To Marinate The Carne Asada: Place the meat in a resealable plastic bag or a large nonreactive flat container (stainless steel or metal) and add in the 1/2 cup orange juice, 1/4 cup oil, 1/4 cup lime juice, 1/4 cup tequila, garlic and onion. Turn to coat and, if using a resealable plastic bag, push out all the air then seal. Or, if using a container, cover well with plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour and a maximum of 48 hours. 

Tip

We think this meat is best when marinated between 4 to 8 hours but you can marinate it up to 48 hours if needed!

To Cook The Carne Asada Indoors: Remove the meat from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature at least 15 minutes before grilling. Meanwhile, to cook the carne asada indoors, get out a large grill pan, cast iron pan, or griddle and heat it to high heat. Dip a paper towel in the extra oil then brush the inside of the pan you'll use with it to make sure everything is extra nonstick. 

Remove the meat from the marinade, slice it crosswise into pieces 4-to-8-inches in length (this is so they'll fit into the pan you're using so you may not have to do it). Pat the meat dry then season generously on both sides with salt and freshly ground black pepper. 

Once the pan is hot, place a few pieces of meat in the pan (they shouldn't be touching and need a minimum of 1-inch apart from each other) and cook, undisturbed, for 2 to 3 minutes. Turn all the meat and cook on the other side for 2 to 3 minutes for medium rare. Remove the meat to a cutting board,  and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing. 

Tip

This recipe is for cooking Carne Asada indoors on a cast iron or grill pan; however, it's traditionally cooked on an outdoor grill. The good news is you can follow the same exact directions for an outdoor grill!

To Cook The Scallions And Chiles: While the meat rests, grill the scallions and chiles, as desired. Coat them both with a bit of oil then grill until charred on both sides, about 4 minutes total. Remove them all to a serving platter then sprinkle with salt and a squeeze of lime. 

Tip

Cooking the scallions and chiles is totally optional but we love it!

To Serve The Carne Asada: Once the meat has rested, use a very sharp knife to slice it against the grain into 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch thick pieces. Serve the Carne Asada with the charred scallions, limes, tortillas, avocado (or guacamole, salsa, and cilantro. Or use it to make tacos, sopes, a steak salad or anything else you'd like!

Footnotes

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https://saltandwind.com/recipes/609-classic-carne-asada-recipe

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